31 May 2005
A Home Run(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 06,2005)
Demonstrating that consistent quality pays big dividends, home-appliance maker Homemax (HK) Ltd is confident that sales of its new generation of products will increase substantially in the US and Canada. At the same time, the company fully expects to retain its strong position across Europe.
"We have a strong toe-hold in North America," says sales and marketing director Elden Cheung, "and the new items we're developing should all prove winners, which is why we are aiming to more than double our sales there."
The present sales breakdown is about 60% in Europe, and 20% each to North America and Asia - "with some sales to emerging new customers in the Middle East".
According to Cheung, the prime mover in the Homemax success story is its CEO, Yeung Kui Wong. "He is very business-like and dedicated and, since he is very much a hands-on boss, he works at least 12 hours a day. He spends much of his time troubleshooting at the factory, and keeps a close eye on our R&D section - even helping to perfect new projects."
Cheung recalls how the CEO purchased land in Dongguan on the Chinese mainland in the early 1990s and then launched Housely Industrial Ltd, a small operation making fans.
"As the orders flowed, he was soon able to increase the workforce from 10 to 40, and to diversify into various new lines like household appliances and heaters for the home and office."
Homemax (HK) Ltd commenced business in 2002, and was especially set up to handle the sales of kitchen appliances. It was ISO 9002-certified in 1997, and in 2000 was named a "Grade A Quality Supplier" by SGS Hong Kong Ltd, the international verification, testing and certification company. Homemax became ISO 9001-certified in 2002.
With business on the right track, the CEO finally formed Warderly Int'l Holdings Ltd as an umbrella company. Warderly was listed on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong in 2002, and Homemax is listed as one of the group's major subsidiaries.
Homemax, says Cheung, takes pride in being one of Hong Kong's leading manufacturers of home appliances. "Apart from the kitchen, our product range also includes air cleaners, electric fans, fan heaters, oil-filled radiators and convection heaters."
There is a workforce of some 2,000 people at two large factory buildings on the original site, while a third is under construction.
The firm also boasts a 40-strong R&D team dedicated to finding that extra little improvement that will make each item still more attractive to end users. "All the designing takes place at our laboratory and workshops where we also operate our own tooling and mould-making departments," says Cheung.
With numerous products meeting such well-known standards as UL and GS, authorities on the Chinese mainland saw fit to award Homemax a "Star of Green Products" certificate for its air-to-air heat-recovery ventilator.
Product safety is also top priority, along with a general approach to consistently high standards of quality. "Our products must be simple to use and super-safe for housewives, who are in most cases the ultimate end users," says Cheung.
Typically, aware of how irritating it can be using a hand-held electrical appliance for a small job like whipping cream and the power cord somehow gets snarled up in the bowl, Homemax has found an answer with its latest hand-held mixer.
"We have fitted an auto-rewind power cord that, at the touch of a button, neatly disappears into the body of the machine," explains Cheung. "Canadian housewives gave an enthusiastic response to our first shipment there, and next we'll market it in Europe - where we expect it to be just as popular."
Other smart new products include upgraded food processors, coffee makers, blenders, juice extractors, food steamers, mini-ovens, deep fryers and a machine that compresses and toasts sandwiches.
In conclusion, Cheung says Homemax's ongoing vision is to continue to develop first-class household electrical appliances, while its mission statement is to care for the environment and human health.
"Homemax is synonymous with quality and innovation," he asserts. "Using customers' own labels or our Regent brand, we deliver to OEMs and private importers around the world, and our message is as constant as we are reliable."
WRITTEN BY GEOFFREY SOMERS
Homemax (HK) Ltd