Louise Chen, materials engineer

Louise swaps Shanghai for Swedish seaside town

After nine years working for Höganäs in the Chinese megacity of Shanghai, Louise Chen packed her bags and moved more than 8,000 km, to continue her career at the company’s Swedish HQ. Today her job is to help drive the global growth of Höganäs’ surface coating business.

Swapping a megacity with a population of some 24 million people for a small Swedish municipality of just 25,000 is quite an upheaval. But Louise Chen seems to be thriving in her new environment when we meet on a warm August day at her office.

“I like doing new things,” she says. “Moving means that you get to see yourself and your homeland from another perspective. I have some great colleagues, I appreciate the peace and quiet and I like going for walks along the coast. I have more time to think here – and I shop considerably less than I did in Shanghai!” she adds with a laugh.

Louise was 24 years old and had just got her degree in material science in her home province of Hunan when she was headhunted to work at Höganäs’ tech centre in Shanghai. Soon she took charge of the metallography lab, and then later became the manager for the whole facility, which serves customers on the Asian market.

For five years she was on the management team for Höganäs Asia, a subsidiary that has grown strongly in stride with the Asian auto industry, which is one of the biggest markets for Höganäs’ metal powder.

“Being on the management team means a good platform to influence, improve things and ensure that good ideas become reality,” says Louise.

Between 2015 and 2017 Louise was Manager Marketing and Development Surface Coating, and she is now Manager Market Development at Höganäs HQ, which means she has contact with colleagues globally in the surface coating business area. The role involves carrying out market investigations, including monitoring competitors and trends among end users.

“My job is to coordinate and to facilitate the business growth of surface coating globally within Höganäs,” she says. “I really enjoy working here. The culture here allows you to grow and develop and constantly learn new things, and that really suits me.”