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This Kedger has won the 2020 French Entrepreneur Trophy in Hong Kong with his company Baseline!

For the 1st edition of the Trophée des Français de Hong Kong, Boris Duhamel, Kedger and CEO of Baseline Lighting Design Studio, was awarded the 2020 Trophy in the French Entrepreneur category in Hong Kong.

Founded by Boris Duhamel in Hong Kong, Baseline Lighting Design studio was created to provide lighting design to architects, interior designers, property developers, and distributors. It won the 2020 French Entrepreneur category, and has received the honour of being chosen as an ambassador representing the exceptionalism, reliability, know-how, and dynamism of the French community in Asia!


  1. Tell us about your educational background. What did you study?

After I passed my secondary exams with a focus in sciences (previously a bac C, now a bac S), I earned a technology degree in Mechanical and Production Engineering in Bordeaux. After that, I went to KEDGE in Toulon and graduated in 1994. While there, I took a semester of international business at HES Amsterdam School of Business and then got a Master in Product Management at the European Institute of Design. I was Stanford University’s Executive Program for Growing Companies in 2011.


  1. Tell us what you did after your studies were finished. What positions have you held? What did you learn in those positions? 

As soon as I finished my studies, I started a CSNE (a previous version of a VIE) in Belgium at a French corporation ( that groups the Smoby, Berchet, Clairbois, Favre, Charton, and Lardy toy brands. The Belgian subsidiary was a small company that restructured while I was there, so I was able to play an important role in the group’s commercial strategy. 

At the end of the CSNE, I was repatriated to Smoby’s head office in France and hired as an Export Area Manager (Mediterranean Basin & Asia). After two years, sales in Asia exploded so, in 1997, I was the one to move to Hong Kong to set up a sales subsidiary there. Then, from 1998 to 2001, I set up the subsidiary of the Capital Safety group in Asia, which was bought by 3M Protection (  

In 2001, I took over as Managing Director (Asia-Pacific) at UNIROSS, a spin-off from Alcatel that manufactures rechargeable batteries, and which had a turnover of 18 million euros. In 2004, I set up a battery development, testing, and assembly plant in Zhongshan, China. We saw exponential growth that reached 120 million euros in 2006. In 2011, I joined the Bergner Group (250 million euros) as CEO ( for its restructuring to open new markets in Europe, Asia, and South America, as well as to strengthen its supply structure in China. 

In 2012, I created my own company, BASELINE, which specialises in design and lighting solutions for retail chains and luxury hotels. For each of these jobs (with the exception Bergner), I started from a blank slate and had to set up structures and teams. Over the years I’ve learned to plan ahead and be bold so I could advance. I’ve made mistakes along the way and learned the resilience needed to always bounce back. I’ve learned the value of individuals in an organisation and the strength of unity to excel in a team. I’ve also learned to deal with cultures located on opposite sides of the world to develop a corporate culture. And, finally, I’ve learned to live with the loneliness and isolation of being the leader by turning it into a strength. After all these years, I still remember some of the outstanding courses I had at KEDGE, particularly on systemic analysis, which I still use regularly.



  1. What is your current / situation project?

Since its creation, BASELINE Lighting Design Studio has acquired a certain reputation in Asia in the luxury retail sector.

Today we have professional and multicultural teams based in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Having a foot in China is an important asset. Baseline is now listed as a partner and lighting expert with prestigious groups such as LVMH, Richement, Pernod Ricard, Louboutin, Lacoste, Décathlon, and others.

  1. What gave you the idea and the desire to do what you’re doing today?

After 10 years of working in electronics and rechargeable batteries, I discovered the world of lighting by chance. While speaking with some friends who work in cosmetics, I realised that luxury brands had difficulty with the lighting in their shops in Asia. New locations were opening quickly, and the project managers had limited knowledge of lighting since the technology was evolving so quickly. They needed an export partner to guarantee the performance and consistency of the lighting in their shops. I went to France to train as a lighting designer at the L'Agence France Entrepreneur (AFE)… and that's how Baseline began. Working with light is magical! We create attractive atmospheres that are like perfume for the eyes, which generates positive emotions.

I've been fascinated with light since I moved to Hong Kong in 1997. After all, it's the City of Lights. Thanks to today's digital technology, we can control it, manoeuvre it, and make it dynamic.

Hong Kong is the epicentre of concepts that are used throughout Asia. Many architectural firms in Hong Kong are developing projects in China or elsewhere in Asia. So Hong Kong is the ideal base for Baseline to be close to clients and influencers. For an international capital, Hong Kong offers an incredible quality of life. We’re surrounded by the sea, and there are a lot of natural parks so we can spend a lot of precious time in contact with nature.

  1. What are your development objectives?

Initially, our objective is to expand in China. We’ve established a good base there and plan to focus our attention there in 2021. We’re taking the first step towards expanding internationally - first in Europe and then in the USA.

At the same time, we need to strengthen and perfect our skills in our various roles (architectural lighting, manufacture and design of bespoke lighting, design of control systems, project management, maintenance, etc.) by training our teams and recruiting talent.

On a personal level, and outside of work, I’m a kitesurfing and other waterboard sports enthusiast. I recently started Wing Foil. I’m appalled at the amount of plastic polluting the oceans and I’m endeavouring to establish rules at my company to eliminate the use of disposable plastics. I hope that I’ll be able to make an ever-increasing contribution towards saving seawater, and additionally to train my employees to adhere to this value.

  1. If you were to give advice to any KEDGE graduate who wants to do something similar, what would it be?

In general, you must have a goal in order to be an entrepreneur. This often starts with an innovative idea or a problem to be addressed. Entrepreneurship is a complex and chaotic adventure. An entrepreneur can quickly find himself or herself isolated and hit a brick wall. My first piece of advice is to make sure that you surround yourself with the right people at the very beginning. Choose your employees for their skills and commitment. Set up a non-executive board made up of experts, advocates, who will be pleased to share their experience with you if they like your project. In Hong Kong, in particular, don’t hesitate to turn to the Kedge Alumni network or French entrepreneurs to go over your plan. There are also organisations, such as the Chamber of Commerce and French Founders, that provide targeted networking and exchanges of best practices. Think big! Aim for the stars and you will reach the moon. It's won’t always easy. Sometimes you’ll take the wrong road, sometimes you’ll fall. It’s when you get up that you’ll grow and become more creative. Nelson Mandela was right when he said, "It always seems impossible until it is done”.



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