Dedicated people: Martin Zhao, Workshop Manager, Bakker Marine Electric, China

Martin Zhao is Workshop Manager at Bakker Marine Electric, Xiamen, China. This is where electrical control systems are being manufactured for the maritime sector, particularly for ships operating in the dredging and offshore industries.

China has a sizeable maritime industry with both domestic and foreign players competing for business. That offers opportunities. The closer you are to the fire, the better your chances. Martin: “Our work is highly specialized and captains and crews that navigate those vessels must be able to rely blindly on the systems produced here. That’s why the quality standards are exceptionally high.


We count many western companies among our customers and we’re also increasingly being approached by Chinese shipyards. For this reason, we’re currently recruiting new staff. We train new people ourselves. That takes a fair amount of time: it takes at least three months before a new employee can get to work independently. And when we have specific projects, the training may take up to a year. For our team spirit this is very beneficial. When we have a new project, everyone provides input on how to best approach it. We’re very ambitious, we share a strong commitment to the business and we enjoy sharing ideas.

When it comes to the atmosphere on the work floor, I can say that it’s quite different here than in many other Chinese companies. Often these are large groups with a strict hierarchy and managers are seldom seen outside their offices. That’s not a way of working I relate to very much. I like technology and hold a master’s degree in that field, but I also enjoy being involved in the production process. When the pressure is on, I often help out on the work floor myself.”

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“This is specialist work. That’s why we train our staff ourselves”