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20 JUL 2023, 09:56

Over the past decade, Jason Dong has played a key role in developing Mycronic’s pattern generator business in China. Having worked within Swedish companies in China for more than twenty years, he decided to relocate with his family to Stockholm in the fall of 2022 for a two-year position at Mycronic headquarters. “As someone who meets with customers every day, our dialogue and communication with headquarters is really the foundation for everything,” says Jason. “I can already tell that the next couple of years will be a huge benefit for me, our customers and our future product development.”

Born and raised in Shanghai, Jason began his professional career twenty years ago as a service engineer for ABB, with a focus on the pulp and paper industry. In 2013 he decided to join Mycronic, where he took charge of sales and service for the company’s pattern generator business in China. 

In the course of Jason’s ten-year career at Mycronic, the pattern generator business in China has expanded dramatically. “When I joined our presence was very small in China,” he reflects, “with maybe four or five systems installed. Now China has become the most important market in the world and will be the largest installed base for pattern generators by 2024.” 

Patience is a virtue

This success, of course, didn’t come overnight. “To work in this type of market, where you’re developing and servicing multimillion-dollar machines like pattern generators, you need to be extremely patient,” Jason explains. “It was frustrating at times, but the market just wasn’t ready in the beginning. So, I really had to be prepared, gather as much knowledge as possible and always make myself available for customers. It takes real commitment and a clear strategy to stay convinced that when the industry is ready, the orders will come.”

Building ties after the pandemic

For the past three months, Jason has been based at Mycronic in Täby, where he continues to serve as Director of Business Area Pattern Generator System Sales China. Although he had long considered living and working in Sweden, the travel restrictions of the past several years finally convinced him that time had come for more intensive collaboration. 

“I’ve always been a member of the pattern generator management team,” he explains, “which involved a lot of travel between China and Sweden, and a lot of close contact with top management. But, as you probably know, we were totally locked down for a few years during the pandemic. And virtual meetings just aren’t the same thing. So, this time in Sweden is really important for working more closely with other parts of the organization, like product management and product development, to really speed up our communication.”

Jason Dong, Director Business Area Pattern Generator System Sales China

I really appreciate the transparency and equality… You can put your energy into the work, not into office politics.

Jason Dong, Director Business Area Pattern Generator System Sales China

A culture worth building on

The working culture in Sweden, Jason says, will also offer valuable lessons worth conveying to the rest of the global organization. “I’ve learned a lot about Swedish culture,” he says. “I really appreciate the transparency and equality. You know, Swedish people can be very deliberative, with quite a few meetings and a lot of consensus-building, but then you don’t have to redo everything later. You can put your energy into the work, not into office politics. As a manager in China, I try to bring some of this influence into the work culture over there.”

“In China,” he continues, “things are a bit different. Business moves fast. Action plans are aggressive. And you always feel pressure to speed up. Even the workforce is different, since I would guess something like 95% of engineers in China are male. And I have to say I’m really impressed by the gender equality here, so we’ve already started hiring more female engineers locally in China.”

Finding balance in work and life

Outside of work, Jason has found it relatively easy to settle in, given his years of intensive travels between China and Sweden. Now, however, he looks forward to sharing these experiences with his family. “I had probably traveled to Sweden a hundred times before I moved here,” he says, “but living here with your family is a very different thing. We go skiing and skating, and we don’t have any of this in Shanghai! My wife is enjoying learning Swedish. And my son is meeting lots of kids from different countries at an international school. It’s an experience not everyone can have, and I know he will benefit a lot from it later in life.”

Although Jason will continue to travel regularly to China, he hopes that his new life in Sweden will offer more time to explore the country with his wife and son. “You really need to leave some energy for your family,” he says, “not just work 110%, all the time. This is part of Swedish culture, and Mycronic really respects this balance while still giving you some amazing opportunities.”

There are a lot of things to consider when joining a new company. You have to look at your products, your managers and the whole work culture.

Keeping the passion alive

This opportunity to work abroad is, according to Jason, just one in a series of adventures that have contributed to a long and rewarding career. Looking back on what brought him here to Stockholm today, his concludes with one piece of advice to young engineers embarking on a new career:

“There are a lot of things to consider when joining a new company,” he says. “You have to look at your products, your managers and the whole work culture. You shouldn’t just be happy one day a month – on payday – but every day! And for me, when think about Mycronic I see a great technology base, a great finance base and a great mix of cultures. It’s a company you want to work at for ten years, at least.”