Bradley Kaegi
21 January 2019
Michael Eppelmann

"Exciting times"

Bradley Kaegi is a true globetrotter: The marketing manager from Southern Illinois, USA, has been working in companion pet marketing and sales for more than 15 years. While he would call Atlanta his home, he also has ties to Europe: his wife is Estonian and the family has lived in France and Germany. In December 2017, he changed continents again, and is now working as Head of Pet Business for Boehringer Ingelheim China in Shanghai.


A guest feature.

Mr. Kaegi, what made you pack your bags and come to China?

I had two main reasons. The first was the growth opportunity for pet products in China. I had never worked in an emerging market and I think it requires a completely different skillset. In the US, around 50 percent of the population owns pets, in China only about 5 percent. However, pet ownership is increasing, alongside to the rise in the middle class. I wanted to find out how to fuel that growth and now that I'm here, I'm beginning to understand how it works.


And the second reason?

In China, digital and mobile is everywhere: people here buy three times more online than the rest of the world. And they use social media platforms for all aspects of daily life, like making payments for everything: restaurants, groceries, and utilities are all linked to your phone app. You don't even need a wallet or credit card anymore.


To what extent is that interesting for the pet business?

We are currently working on the best way to reach our customers. We want to make the most of the different platforms like WeChat – a Chinese messaging, social media and mobile payment app – and the search engine Baidu. We're also trying to better interconnect our offers on these platforms in order to make our service more consistent and convenient. This is highly complex – and also very exciting.


What else do you think you'll learn from being an expat in China?

It's good to work with the people here, to experience the diversity and see their perspective. I think it will take me forward in my development as a leader.


You and your family have been living in China for about a year now. How would you describe this experience?

It is one of the best experiences we've had. You need to come and see China to really grasp it. The diverse geography and the rich culture are fascinating. We have travelled to different provinces all over China and they all have their own food, histories and traditions. And there is the immense growth – it blows my mind every day.


Can you give an example?

We have a huge road construction site in front of our house. In Europe or the US, it would probably take three years to finish it. Here, they started when we came and now they are finished – in less than a year. Amazing.


How is daily life for you and your family?

It's easy and convenient. If you are out of milk on a Sunday morning, you just go to the store or even better order it online and have it delivered. We really enjoy living here. My wife is quite active in different organizations; we have expat and Chinese friends. And the schools are very good. It's great for parents if they don't have to worry about their kids' education. We have two daughters, aged five and seven. They are learning their fourth language now and have a multicultural experience at school with kids from Europe, China and other Asian countries. It was easy for them to adjust and they like it here very much.


Did Boehringer Ingelheim help you to settle down?

Yes, a colleague from re-location gave us a lot of advice about where to look for somewhere to live. She also suggested seven different schools. They were all great and diverse.


You live in Shanghai. What's special about this city?

Over 24 million people live here, but it's not as chaotic as you might think. It's incredibly well ordered. It's a city that really has everything to offer. The Boehringer Ingelheim headquarters is located in the Jing'an district, which is next to the part of town that was the Former French concession. That's why many buildings remind me of Lyon or Paris. It's also busy and urban. Right now, I'm looking out of my office window and I see this great metropolis…


Can you describe the view out of your window?

From my office in the 28th floor, I look down on the Jing'an temple – a historical temple with a golden roof surrounded by modern skyscrapers. During festivals in late fall and winter, the roof is lit up at night, which makes it a really great view.


How long do you plan to stay in Shanghai?

The initial plan is to work here for three years. But, honestly, these are such exciting times in China with so many opportunities – it makes you want to stay.

"These are such exciting times in China with so many opportunities, says Bradley Kaegi. "
Michael Eppelmann

0 comment(s) for '"Exciting times"'

Add new comment

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Relevant Crosslinks

"We hear quite often the expression “think out of the box”, but what we need before, is to be in the box for a while to able to think out of it, says Mike Kleemann. "
Jacqueline Berlin, Talent Acquisition Specialist
"ENGAGE Women’s Leadership program isn’t individual but collective which increased its power multiple folds, says Meenal Gauri. "
Jacqueline Berlin, Talent Acquisition Specialist
"In school I was punished because I could not read and write – nobody knew about my strong myopia because of my albinism, says Jane Waithera. "
Jacqueline Berlin, Talent Acquisition Specialist
"Intellect is not everything; the heart is important, too. The brain alone does not bring us closer to one another, Ernst Boehringer believed.   "
Jacqueline Berlin, Talent Acquisition Specialist
"The variety of professional and personal perspectives inspires me every day!, says Anne-Madeleine Kleinwächter. "
Sarah Pfeffer
Find 500+ open Positions at Boehringer Ingelheim Jobs