6 July 2004
Fully Switched On(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 07,2004)
Hong Kong Brands
Fully Switched On
Tungda Electrical & Lighting Ltd
Tungda Electrical & Lighting Ltd makes innovative lighting products that are brighter, last longer, energy-efficient and cheaper
Tungda Electrical & Lighting Ltd is aptly named because it specialises in breakthrough lighting products that are brighter, last longer, save lots of energy and are cheaper in the long run, claims chairman Chu Chien Tung.
"In Chinese characters," advises Chu, "Tung means east and Da means big, and so Tungda symbolises 'big in the east'. Now we are big in the east and the west, and hopefully getting bigger all the time."
Tungda was founded 20 years ago as a small, ambitious trading company headed by the present chairman and his father. Although they had only a handful of employees, the firm possessed the drive and determination to consolidate and think big, Chu recalls.
Trade prospered, and the business in lighting products showed such potential that by 1993 Tungda had started trading almost exclusively in them, while simultaneously building distribution networks in Europe.
With the lighting market dominated by foreign players, one year later the Tungda brand of lighting products was introduced. Three years later, following several energy crises, Tungda opened its first factory in Shenzhen on the Chinese mainland, and directed its R&D effort into energy-saving lighting products.
By 1998, the team was working on a revolutionary development that would soon turn the industry on its ear: the Duralite induction lamp.
"This product looks like a conventional light bulb but actually employs a kind of new technology by using an induction coil without electrodes, which produces a low-pressure gas discharge that provides lighting solutions," explains Chu.
"Powered by a small, high frequency generator, the discharged energy interacts with the electron-ion plasma and inert gas inside the bulb, converting it into ultraviolet radiation - which then becomes the visible light source by interacting with the phosphor coating on the bulb's inner surface," he adds.
"The most competitive advantage of this induction lamp over the conventional lamp is its ultra-long lifetime and consistently stable lumen performance," he claims.
"For example, one 85W Duralite bulb is as powerful as five conventional 100W incandescent bulbs, both producing 6,000 lumen.
"However, the Duralite version provides 80,000-hour-usage, or 80 times that of the conventional lights."
Such lights are ideal for outdoors and high bay usage, particularly those areas involving high maintenance costs that are also difficult to access.
Tungda also produces smaller models of these miracle lights, in 15W, 23W and 35W versions. These smaller models, which have their own built-in generators, are suitable for indoor use in homes, shopping arcades, stores and supermarkets and give buyers alternatives even better than the current energy-saving lamps without changing existing fixtures.
At the other end of the scale, Tungda manufactures a 1,000W electrode-less microwave sulphur lamp producing the equivalent of 100,000 lumen - which is strong enough to replace each of the present multi-clusters of overhead lamps used to illuminate night-time sports like football. "This product has a lifetime of 60,000 hours," claims Chu.
Tungda's operations are ISO 9001-certified, consolidating its reputation for reliable, high quality products.
In 2002, following expanded sales across Europe and the US, the company was listed on the Growth Enterprise Market of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong. In 2003, the firm opened a second factory in Fujian Province on the mainland.
Chu, who is widely recognised on the mainland for his lighting expertise, is a part-time professor at Shanghai's Fudan University, lecturing there a couple of times a year. In turn, the university contributes to the company's R&D effort.
Executive director Fiona Chow explains how the company has always nurtured its brand, particularly in recent years with its emergence as a major player in a market dominated until then by the likes of Philips, GE and Osram/Sylvania.
"We are regular exhibitors at trade fairs in Hong Kong and overseas, and are quick to capitalise on any opportunities on TV or in the print media to publicise our breakthroughs," she says. "Recently, for example, we had a two-month publicity drive on Hong Kong's Mass Transit Railway, advertising both inside and outside the carriages."
When Tungda brought off a huge coup in March 2004 by being appointed by GE as exclusive distributor for its fixtures in Hong Kong and Macau, it boldly took the front page of the popular Chinese daily Sing Tao for a full-colour advertisement.
"Quality is always first, combined with reliability and competitive pricing," she assures.
Tungda is clearly a bright light on the horizon.
WRITTEN BY GEOFFREY SOMERS
Tungda Electrical & Lighting Ltd