Hydro International (Hydro) is a publicly-held wastewater treatment and stormwater equipment company headquartered in the UK. The international business development team led the company to stellar growth in recent years, and when Hydro met Mandarin Environment, they had just turned their attention to the China market. Mandarin Environment was hired to advise on the feasibility of entering the China market, specifically to answer two questions: Is now the right time to enter the China market, and if so what is a strategy that will work for Hydro? 

Mandarin Environment's recommendations challenged the traditional thinking and took a geographically targeted approach that would lead with specific Hydro products geared towards a targeted subsector of the water treatment industry. With regulatory and political tailwinds, plus biddable projects in sight, Hydro proceeded to the next phase.

Hydro’s Board of Directors required an estimate of the resources needed to access sales and meet top-line goals for the China market. Mandarin Environment was asked for a Market Evaluation, including an outline of a strategy to build a sales pipeline that would meet the Board’s expectations. Mandarin Environment arranged introductions to strategic partners, pilot project opportunities, and a presented a strategic and financial business plan for China market entry. 

With a commitment from Hydro’s Board to move forward with the China market, Mandarin Environment recommended market entry strategy and roadmap was put into action. At this point, Mandarin Environment's role became more tactical than advisory.  Advancing pilot projects, securing initial purchase orders, and seeking talent to build a Hydro team in China, Mandarin Environment met project deadlines and expectations and Hydro is well positioned for continued success in China.

Project Summary:

  • Two completed pilot projects

  • China Sales pipeline shot up from $0 to US$3.3M in just 1.5 years.

  • Agreements with strategic sales and engineering partners

  • Onboarding Chinese General Manager

  • Marketing campaign establishing Hydro’s brand


North American water treatment company, Aquion Water Treatment Products Inc. (Aquion), was facing flat revenues out of the China territory when Mandarin Environment was first engaged.  Owned by a Private Equity firm, the company's previous executive leadership had set up an exclusive distribution agreement with a sales partner in China, but sales had been under-performing.  The company's CEO questioned the information coming from the sales partner who claimed pricing issues, heavy competition, and a number of other problems as reasons for unmet sales expectations.

Mandarin Environment was hired by Aquion to support a ‘reboot’ of their sales organization in the China territory. The first order of business was to verify the claims of the sales partner, and collect objective market intelligence. Mandarin Environment presented recommendations that confirmed the market for Aquion’s technology was growing, and while competition was intense, international brands were able to sustain premium pricing in the marketplace. The sales partner was unable to recognize the premium pricing opportunity and had become complacent in his marketing efforts. Per Mandarin Environment's research and analysis, the recommended strategy was to commence efforts to identify a new sales partner for the China market.

The first step in identifying a new partner was to plan for a larger presence in a subsequent trade-show, where a long list of pre-vetted, potential China sales partners could be evaluated. In the following months Mandarin Environment supported the negotiation of an agreement the best-fit candidate. A key element to the negotiations was territory management. Mandarin Environment seconded the lead consultant for the project to Aquion. A native of China, the consultant was subsequently hired by Aquion as territory manager with great success.

In the first year following the agreement with the new sales partner and placement of a territory manager, sales rose sharply from the flat US$500K per year to $1.2M.  With a clear China strategy in place yielding immediate results, Aquion was better positioned for a sale, which was consummated at the end of 2013.

Project Summary:

  • Rationalized underperforming sales partners

  • Signed new partnership agreements

  • Realized sales over 2X previous years and growing

  •  Increased value of company for PE investors

  • Onboarded China Field Manager

Investment Fund

Confidential investment fund hired Mandarin Environment to undertake an in-depth study of the China biosolids market for their portfolio development. The fund was looking at strategic plays in the global biosolids industry, but more visibility into opportunities and risks in the China's biosolids market was needed to complete due diligence and formulate a roadmap.   

Mandarin Environment's scope of work included market intelligence gathering, regulatory analysis, comparative technology assessments, and a range of efforts designed to bring definition to the market, and identify strategic opportunities for the fund. 

The deliverable report armed the fund with the hard numbers, analysis, and professional recommendations they needed to complete their decision-making.  

Project Summary:

  • Market analysis

  • Partner identification

  • Operational roadmap

  • Strategic recommendations