CTCI at 40: Story of Extraordinary Achievement

From a modest start, the company has become the most reliable global engineering services provider.

Founded in 1979, CTCI in 1993 became the first engineering services company to be listed in Taiwan. For the past 40 years, it has adhered to a corporate culture spirit of “professionalism, integrity, teamwork, and innovation” and has built a reputation domestically and internationally as a highly trusted partner. The company is active in the engineering fields of refinery, petrochemical, power, environmental, transportation, general industry, and so on. With a professional engineering team of over 7,000 personnel, it operates in 15 countries in Asia, the Middle East, and the Americas.

The past: establishing a corporate structure for international business

One of the keys to CTCI’s becoming the number-one engineering service company in Taiwan – and one of the top 100 in the world – was its transformation from a non-profit organization into a corporation. CTCI’s precursor was China Technical Consultants. CTCI Group Chairman John T. Yu recalls representing China Technical Consultants in bidding on a US$20 million project in Saudi Arabia. The project owner heard that the company had funds at that time of only NT$450,000, equivalent to about US$10,000, and naturally was unwilling to entrust the firm with the project. In 1979, to break through the bottleneck of international business development, China Technical Consultants raised investment funds to establish CTCI. At the time, the number of employees was only about 800, but it was the turning point for the development of the entire group.

In the early days, CTCI’s main business was the design and construction of oil refineries and petrochemical plants. But Taiwan’s petrochemical industry was then in flux, and the domestic market was too small to support the company’s growth. CTCI therefore sought to expand its reach to international markets such as the Middle East and Southeast Asia, starting as a subcontractor for large international firms.

In the 1990s, the Japanese introduced the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) turnkey model to the market. The awarding of a bid thus determined the entire budget. As the project owner only needs to hire one big contractor, the turnkey model has become very popular in the market. Especially in the Middle East with its highly competitive environment, CTCI actively made inroads and successively obtained job opportunities of small-scale EPC turnkey projects. Starting from small projects, CTCI step by step accumulated experience in implementing international projects.

“We gradually transformed – starting from working with small contractors and then raising the threshold higher and higher,” says John Yu. “Now we have fewer competitors, which means better profits.” Yu notes that although many companies in China and India are trying to catch up, CTCI always maintains a healthy lead.

Since the late 1980s CTCI has established overseas subsidiaries to support the work of the parent company and to secure local large-scale engineering opportunities. It now has more than 40 affiliated companies around the world. These “small CTCIs” and the group’s approximately 2,000 overseas engineers integrate the group resources and enable CTCI to expand its scope of operations.

Since the refinery and petrochemical business was insufficient to support CTCI’s more than 7,000 engineers, the company gradually became involved in other industry sectors, including steel mill and MRT projects. Whenever a new business model enters Taiwan, CTCI can quickly master the process and, learning to grow by following the lead of big international companies, it soon finds itself ahead of the competition.

The present: rebranding and sustainable competitiveness

To set down deeper roots in the global international market and enhance its corporate reputation and competitiveness, CTCI launched a brand revolution plan in 2016, presenting a brand image to the international market of being the “Most Reliable.”  CTCI proceeded to carry out the largest restructuring in its history, reorganizing the Group under one central decision-making unit, The Executive Committee, with the three major business divisions at home and abroad of Group Engineering Business (GEB), Group Intelligent Solutions Business (GISB), and Group Resource Cycling Business (GRCB), plus Group Shared Services (GSS) to provide the group with overall logistics management and services.

GEB mainly carries out EPC turnkey projects, with the goal of becoming a technology-oriented company. GRCB has entered the fields of energy-from-waste, solar photovoltaics, and the circular economy, and for many years has earned profits worth more than one share capital. GISB is responsible for smart plants and mechanical and electrical management systems. It is moving into the fields of smart homes and smart shopping malls, and in the words of John Yu is expected to be the company’s “star of tomorrow.”

In addition to engineering innovation, CTCI also fulfills its corporate social responsibility and strives to promote sustainable development with engineering professionalism. Yu emphasizes that for CTCI, CSR is not just donating money for public welfare. Rather, the goal is to build CSR into the corporate DNA as part of the company’s core competitiveness. In promoting CSR to all employees, CTCI takes the four core industrial sectors of Intelligent EPC (iEPC), Smart Plant, Circular Economy, and Green Engineering as the main axis of execution. It aims to help employees develop a sustainable CSR spirit in their daily work and life.

CTCI’s efforts and performance in CSR have been recognized by many domestic and foreign organizations, including the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for four consecutive years.

The future: bright prospects based on a combination of soft and hard power

In 2018, the value of CTCI’s new contracts exceeded NT$100 billion, a record high. The near-term target is 2020 revenues of NT$100 billion, with the hope of gaining more than US$1 billion from the Middle East, Asia, and the United States. The long-term goal is to achieve a group size of US$5 billion, about the same level as the Japanese international engineering companies Chiyoda and JGC.

John Yu makes it clear that to achieve CTCI’s growth targets, a combination of both “hard power” and “soft power” will be needed. Plans for strengthening the hard power include the launch in 2020 of the 1.0 version of the iEPC, which will connect the separate engineering design, procurement, construction, and commissioning systems for turnkey project to optimize engineering efficiency. In recent years, CTCI has accelerated the development and training of key talents. In this way, the speed of talent cultivation can keep pace with the internationalization of the Group.

In terms of soft power, it is necessary to let the world see that CTCI equals “Most Reliable” so that customers will entrust their business to CTCI.

In line with the company’s expanding internationalization, John Yu believes that with the efforts of soft and hard power, and with the spirit of “I am CTCI. I am Reliable,” all colleagues will work together to achieve the goal of solidarity. The “Most Reliable” service quality has gained global recognition, paving the way for another outstanding 40 years ahead.