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Herbert Höller, who leads the aluminium precision tubing plant in Suzhou, says this particular case reflects courage and cooperation – two of Hydro's values – and employee mobility. Refslund says he is just happy with the way things have developed.

"My job is to keep the equipment running and in good shape, but I get a lot of support from my colleagues here and in Denmark," he says. "We learn fast here in Suzhou, but without the Danish, I think we would not be where we are today with our production."

Refslund, who originally joined Hydro in Tønder, serves the Suzhou plant as technical support. He moved from the drawing department to multiport-extrusion cutting, and he has supported start-up on the MPE coating line as one of the experts on the shopfloor.

"The first year I was traveling almost every month between Denmark and China, and didn't know how long it would continue, so I asked Herbert to make me a contract for two years," he says. "We have worked well together for six years now."

Höller agrees. "We are ambitious and skilled in operations," he says, "but we always like to go back to Tønder to see what they are doing. In this case, Jacob is the main guy when it comes to getting the information from Tønder. He is our joker – our wild card.

"Jacob has a good future. The way this has turned out was something no one planned in advance."