1 Dec 2002
Innovation Lights The Way(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 12,2002)
Vol 12, 2002
The Right Mix
Innovation Lights The Way
R&D Success Factor
Neon King Ltd
|Neon King Ltd not only produces these dazzling Christmas lights to international standards but also holds numerous international patents|
A Hong Kong company has helped transform London's shopping mecca, Oxford Street, into one of the world's most dazzling displays of decorative Christmas lights. Neon King Ltd, among the largest decorative lighting companies in Hong Kong, adds colour and sparkle to indoor and outdoor lighting.
Starting out in 1977, with just 30 people manufacturing and exporting rope lighting to Europe, the company has grown into one of the acknowledged leaders in the business. Today, some 8,000 workers produce around five million bulbs daily on 28 product lines. The plant is a modern 500,000-square-foot facility in Zhuhai on the Chinese mainland.
"Each bulb is quality controlled and we have a zero defective bulb rate," says marketing manager Rebecca Tong. "We also guarantee our products for two years."
The growth spur came in the early 1990s, when the company became the first in Hong Kong to adapt the sub-miniature or pilot lamp for decorative lighting, she says. "This opened up numerous design possibilities and today we have 36 patents worldwide," adds Tong.
The company initially focused on supplying outdoor decorative lighting. "However, during the last five years, we have developed our retail/homemaker market and this segment now accounts for some 60% of our business," Tong explains.
Innovation is critical to Neon King's success. "Our 25-strong R&D team produces 40 innovations monthly, from which we select new items," says Tong.
The company's ingenuity has adapted three main types of lighting - rope, string and heavy-duty belt lights - into a range of more than 500 colourful decorative products.
"The light string is our most popular item because its effects are almost limitless. For example, our new Star 'n Garland product recreates a Milky Way effect of intense light by combining 576 lights in three-metre lengths," says Tong.
Another innovation is the Spark Light Tree, a collapsible three-section Christmas tree available up to six metres in height. The metal tree unfolds to display numerous 3x8.5mm lights ready mounted on branches.
"One of our latest patented products, new to the industry, is the Rainbow Rope Light which offers multiple light colours on one PVC strip, which can be bent into any shape," she says.
The trend nowadays is for very colourful lighting, Tong believes. Customers also want fancier designs on frames that are easy to erect and store for reuse. She estimates that made-to-order accounts for more than 80% of Neon King's business.
"We have a strong reputation for innovation, service, quality and safety, while energy saving is also important," says Tong. She adds that Neon King gained ISO 9002 certification in 1997.
"Europe and North America are our main markets, accounting for between 70-75% of our business," explains Tong. "Our other key markets include Southeast Asia and Japan, and we are also looking at potential new business in Eastern Europe and South Africa."
Tong says the business outlook for decorative lighting remains bright. "Orders are up more than 18% in 2002, and we anticipate strong growth in 2003, particularly from France, Italy and Switzerland."
WRITTEN BY SANDRA JENNER
Neon King Ltd
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