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Fast Talk: UPS's Setup Man

Peter Tan

Marketing Director, UPS Beijing 2008 Olympics Project
Beijing, China

Peter Tan, 44, must help UPS raise its profile in China, where the company previously operated through a joint venture. As the official express-delivery sponsor of the 2008 Games, UPS has to get every piece of lumber and luggage where it needs to go.

"Our job is not simply moving things from point A to point B. We have to plot the entire city of Beijing—every point, every hill, every traffic light—to determine route times. Everything has to be synchronized down to the second. That's our job.

People tend not to notice the success of this kind of behind-the-scenes work. So, to bring our sponsorship to life, we decided to support specific sports assets. We surveyed our Chinese staff about which team they wanted to be associated with the most, and employees chose the Chinese women's national volleyball team, which is the reigning Olympic champion. This gives us a way to galvanize our young workforce in China.

Our Olympic involvement is a big expense, but China is UPS's most important market. We were looking for a platform to showcase our abilities. The Olympics is the biggest platform on earth. The sponsorship of the Games is just the price of entry."

A version of this article appeared in the September 2007 issue of Fast Company magazine.