Our roots

In the 1890s, Jacob Jebsen and Heinrich Jessen left their hometown of Aabenraa in the Duchy of Schleswig (now part of the Kingdom of Denmark) and began their journey east to set up a trading business in Hong Kong. The two families shared a history of trade and seafaring.

Heinrich Jessen
(1865 – 1931)

Jacob Jebsen
(1870 – 1941)

Officially founded on March 1st 1895, Jebsen & Co began as agents for the shipping company owned by Jacob Jebsen’s father. This was a substantial enterprise, operating 14 steamers in China’s coastal trade.

The new associates quickly proved themselves capable, passionate and committed entrepreneurs. Bridging manifestly different cultures, a bond was formed that has strengthened through the triumphs and challenges.

Since Jebsen & Co’s beginnings, the guiding principle has been to work together for a common goal. As the Chinese philosopher Mencius explains, “Within the four seas, all men are brothers.”

In January 1909, the two partners set up Jebsen & Jessen Hamburg in Germany to coordinate trading activities and maintain relations between their firms in China and their European principals.

Later, in 1963, a trading interest was established in Singapore and Malaysia. Over the years, this has evolved into a diversified regional business group operating as Jebsen & Jessen South East Asia.

An unbroken chain of three generations’ dedication and care

An unbroken chain of three generations’ dedication and care has ensured that the Jebsen & Jessen Family Enterprise has continued to grow for more than 120 years, from its beginnings as a single trading company to the global enterprise it is today.

In the Family Enterprise today, all the member companies succeed on the basis of the enduring principles that drove the original partners: build a sustainable business and keep an entrepreneurial spirit.

Documenting and sharing our history

So much social and family history is connected to the Jebsen & Jessen Family Enterprise that it seemed fitting to create a commemorative book. The Three Mackerels is a collection of tales from the archives, bringing history from Asia and Northern Europe to life.

Click on the image to browse through our publication.