2 April 2009
The world may be facing a sustained economic downturn, but MICRODIA CEO Louis Leung is confident that his company's flash memory cards, USB drives and card readers will enjoy still greater international sales this year.
He has set his heart on turning the dream of many Hong Kong manufacturers to reality by cracking the mainly untapped markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China.
"The fast-growing markets of Brazil and India are simply there for the taking," Mr Leung claims. "Russia's a hard nut to crack, but just look at the potential there."
Finally, there is China, which, he believes, is awash with cash and looking for the latest hi-tech products. "China will become the biggest market in the world, and we will get our share of it, and more, provided we can meet Chinese requirements and expectations," Mr Leung insists.
What makes him doubly bullish is MICRODIA's bulging war chest. "We don't owe anybody one cent," Mr Leung insists. "We're already the world's second-largest manufacturer of Flash Memory Cards (FMCs) and we firmly intend to increase output since we're already getting approaches from our rivals' former customers."
Nonetheless, he doesn't intend to scoop them all up without due diligence, suspecting some will go back to their original suppliers in a few years. "We rate loyalty number 1 at MICRODIA," Mr. Leung maintains. "It's a two-way street - we give the customer 100% loyalty and we expect the same in return."
He founded the company in 1991, starting with floppy disks manufactured in Hunan Province and upgrading a few years later to optical disks, CD-Rs and DVD-Rs following the opening of a second factory in Taiwan.
MICRODIA later switched to manufacturing in Dongguan on the Chinese mainland, and Kaohsiung in Taiwan, all the while building an international reputation for its high-speed, high-capacity data storage products like XTRA Flash Memory cards.
The company now has regional sales offices in Dubai; Berlin; San Jose, California; Bedford, the UK; and Beijing; with Moscow, New Delhi, Tokyo, Barcelona, Sao Paulo and Shanghai opening soon.
MICRODIA's fully automated SMT and wafer fabrication lines are located in Dongguan, China, and Taipei and Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
"I founded the company with one partner and HK$1m, and after some initial teething problems we've won a stack of awards and returned a good profit for the past decade or more," Mr Leung recalls. "Turnover last year was our best ever at US$1.2 BN, and now we're aiming even higher."
Mr Leung is, therefore, the living embodiment of the get-up-and-go spirit projected by MICRODIA's slogan - "Possibilities Beyond Imagination". "I was determined to succeed when I launched this company, and I am equally determined to brush aside the so-called global financial tsunami and have our best year yet," he asserts. "Where many see gloom, I genuinely see boom."
The secret of MICRODIA's success is its super-smart R&D team in Silicon Valley, California, where the company was founded in 1991; a group which Mr Leung is aiming to duplicate in Beijing's Silicon Valley - Zhong Guan Cun.
"China was a late starter in the hi-tech race but now it has caught up and this hi-tech centre on the outskirts of the capital is simply oozing cutting-edge talent," he observes. "That's where we're going next to look for the cream of the new-generation R&D smart set."
Mr. Leung is MICRODIA's dynamic super-salesman, having visited 135 countries across the globe ranging from Albania and Austria to Vietnam and Yemen. "I live on planes and out of suitcases," he admits. "I'll travel anywhere to make a sale or help a loyal customer."
He always has a trusted staff interpreter with him to smooth out language difficulties, thanks to a number of executive assistants including a Japanese businessman-interpreter and others who speak Russian and Spanish.
The company's factories only employ a total of 250 workers because "we're not labour-intensive - machines do the work and we airfreight our products everywhere from the US and Europe to Dubai and other parts of the Middle East, plus Asia."
MICRODIA's drive to crack Brazil, Russia, India and China in the coming months will include three new products - a hi-tech 480GB SSD (solid state drive) that has taken two years to perfect, and its latest 32GB micro SDHC and 64GB SDXC memory cards. "These products will ensure we stay right at the cutting edge with the most technologically advanced and super-fast memory cards in the world," Mr Leung concludes.