“Never give up”

The media facade of the Zhuhai Grand Theatre: a major order with great prestige that OSRAM was not supposed to be able to land. “We’ll see about that,” Charles Han, Director Projects & Solutions in North Asia, said to himself. This is his success story.

The “36 Stratagems” present a concise summary of ways to outwit an opponent dating back more than 1,500 years − and they continue to inspire Chinese business people during tricky negotiations to this day. But when it came to landing one of the biggest and most prestigious orders in China for OSRAM, Charles Han, who is Director of Projects & Solutions in North Asia, used a technique known worldwide: never give up. Through passion and having the courage to take risks, he and his colleagues from OSRAM China succeeded in providing the newly built Grand Theatre in the city of Zhuhai in southern China with a spectacular media facade.

A building of national importance is a real coup; however, only Chinese installers were allowed to take part in the bidding process. In a bit of bad luck for OSRAM, none of the installers that use OSRAM technology and lighting solutions came under consideration, but rather a bidder using the products of one of our largest international competitors. OSRAM was out of the running.

“Persistent ­attention to details leads to great ­success.” Charles Han, Director Projects & Solutions in North Asia

“We’ll see about that,” Charles Han thought to himself. Convinced that OSRAM offered the better products and lighting solutions, he established contact with the chosen installation company in Beijing. He was in luck: the technical director in charge knew and highly regarded OSRAM’s products, and he was prepared to listen to what Chares Han had to say. In the following weeks and months, Charles Han was rarely in his office in Shanghai. Beijing – Zhuhai – Shanghai: he flew some 20 times to meetings where he talked not only to the technical director, but also to the specifier and the developers of the state-owned Zhuhai City Invest Company. “The key to business success is mutual trust,” Charles Han says. “And mutual trust is established through personal contact.”

Charles Han’s proposals won them over. OSRAM had a foot in the door once more and faced the task – like its major international competitor – of delivering two product samples within a short ­period of time. Charles Han decided on Dot XL – a kind of string with several LED Dots specifically for media and facade solutions. Since the customer would have needed 18 samples in total for a complete model of the Grand Theatre’s media facade, Charles Han and his ­colleagues decided to provide all of them at once in order to present the complete solution. One problem: the 500 Dots Charles Han and his team needed were not in stock in China, and production of the samples would normally have taken two to three months. But with the help of colleagues in Hong Kong and Germany, it was possible to track down the products at one of our dealers in Germany, which were then flown to China and quickly assembled. The 18 LED strings were ready in just two weeks.

OSRAM benefited from the result, which not only looked impressive, but also proved to be superior in terms of quality. “But the price matters in the end,” Charles Han says. The negotiations became a game of poker, but in the end the contract went to OSRAM.

Carrying out the order in close cooperation with the contractor and specifier was another challenge. It took six months to install the media facade on the shell-shaped steel structure of the Zhuhai Grand Theatre. Since the grand opening, ­animation and lighting effects have thrilled many thousands of visitors. The one-and-a-half years of hard work have paid off. In November, the lighting project received the Global SSL Showcase Top 100 Award. “We have now landed a ­similarly important project in Shenzhen. We will be illuminating the Pingan Inter­national Finance Center, a skyscraper that stands over 600 meters tall,” Charles Han says. In addition, he knows that he and his colleagues will successfully complete this project too with their proven strategy: never give up.


Meaning “Pearl Sea,” Zhuhai in southern China is considered one of China’s most livable cities. With its “shells” stretching up 90 and 60 meters, the Grand Theatre is a city landmark and highlight for tourists − which is also thanks to the media facade from OSRAM. Thousands of individually controllable, colorful Dots with 51,000 pixels in total are installed on the four facades. Through the lighting controls, they display animation and lighting effects that create the illusion of a single, large screen and a scroll of delicate paintings for a fascinating light show.