Our history

Anniversary DKSH

Our history

Our story is, in many ways, the history of globalization and charts the rise of Asia from its initial opening to where we are today, the Asian century.

Milestones in our history

  • Three Swiss entrepreneurs embark on a journey to Asia (1865-1871)

    The DKSH journey began in 1865. Asia’s vast, untapped opportunities encouraged three adventurous Swiss entrepreneurs to journey into the unknown. Caspar Brennwald, Wilhelm Heinrich Diethelm and Eduard Anton Keller followed the prevailing advice of the day to: “go east, young man.” Independently, they sailed the oceans and endured many setbacks to reach new territories in Asia.

  • Establishing flourishing trading houses (1871-1890)

    In 1865, Siber & Brennwald was founded in Yokohama, Japan. In the Philippines in 1868, Eduard Anton Keller joined C. Lutz & Co. in Manila, which he acquired in 1887 and renamed Ed. A. Keller & Co. And in Singapore, Wilhelm Heinrich Diethelm joined Hooglandt & Co. in 1871, which he took over in 1887 and renamed Diethelm & Co. Ltd.

  • Creating local industries and the beginning of globalization (1890-1900)

    By the turn of the 20th century, Siber & Brennwald was a leading player in the silk export industry in Japan. In the Philippines, garment trading was the soul of Ed. A. Keller & Co., and in Singapore, Diethelm & Co. Ltd. focused on importing consumer goods. Their business achievements saw the entrepreneurs assume diplomatic responsibilities to help build Switzerland’s commercial interests. Caspar Brennwald became the first Swiss representative in Japan and Eduard Anton Keller was appointed Consul in Manila.

  • 20th century opportunities and challenges (1900-1940)

    The three founding fathers had created strong legacies for the next generation, but the 20th century presented formidable challenges with two world wars, the Great Depression, social unrest, natural disasters plus unprecedented economic prosperity. In 1923, Japan’s Great Kanto Earthquake and the onset of the Great Depression destabilized SiberHegner & Co. It was transformed into a public limited company headquartered in Zurich, and Willy M. Keller came onboard as shareholder and Vice Chairman in 1932. Meanwhile, Diethelm & Co. had expanded its South East Asian footprint, opening offices in Penang (Malaysia), Saigon (Vietnam) and Bangkok (Thailand), and recorded strong growth, particularly in the travel industry.

  • Shanghai Tiger Economies

    Tiger Economies, Asian crisis and death of trading houses prophesized (1980-2000)

    The final quarter of the 20th century rejuvenated Asia’s economic landscape, with China starting to open up and the Tiger Economies delivering impressive growth. The three companies prospered, but in 1997 the Asian Financial Crisis was a costly wake-up call. Ties between the Diethelm and Keller dynasties dated back to the early 20th century, so when the fourth generation of the two families collaborated to chart their companies’ future, they did so with a strong sense of tradition. The founding of Diethelm Keller Holding Ltd. on June 16, 2000, was a testament to changing times. Around the same time, SiberHegner was successfully restructured and posted a record profit in 2001.

  • New chapter in DKSH success story (2002-2015)

    On June 19, 2002, the merger between Diethelm Keller and SiberHegner was completed, forming the DKSH Group. By reinventing the conventional trading company and creating a distinctive new category: Market Expansion Services (MES), DKSH has achieved strong annual growth each year since 2002 and created 13,500 jobs. In addition, in 2012, DKSH went public on the SIX Swiss exchange. The MES model has navigated a new path along the irreversible road to globalization. Our services take outsourcing to a new level, adding value for our clients and helping them to achieve unprecedented success in Asia.

  • DKSH Anniversary 150 Years of Market Expansion Services

    New chapter in DKSH success story (2002-2015)

    In 2015, we celebrated 150 years of helping companies expand into new and existing markets. We can be proud of what we have achieved and of our unique DKSH culture and identity.