8 Feb 2005
King's Mfg Co Ltd(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 02,2005)
A Long-Term Lesson
The business strategy adopted by King's Mfg Co Ltd could easily serve as a blueprint for any company hoping to establish itself in overseas markets. As outlined by director Peter Chow, King's adopts a fourfold formula comprising: "Experienced management and staff, expertise via in-house designers and engineers, rigid quality control by branch office staff on the Chinese mainland and aggressive marketing."
While the plan may not appear particularly spectacular, Chow says King's is nonetheless an innovative firm regularly designing new products. "This has helped us to build a good reputation over the years - 38 years to be precise," he points out.
"Because of that reputation, we have also garnered an international customer base in Europe and the US," he adds. "Our clients know we are established innovators always looking to bring out something new that will quickly become a hot seller."
Founded in 1967 with 10 employees, King's original business interests involved trading in electronic goods and sundry products, including bags. The firm today employs 50 people at its headquarters in Hong Kong, while about 500 staff work at each of its two factories on the Chinese mainland (Dongguan, close to Hong Kong, and Xiamen, the former Treaty Port of Amoy, now a busy manufacturing centre on the coast of Fujian).
King's today focuses on two main product lines: outdoor and travel items such as foldable chairs, travel blankets, picnic sets, hammocks, backpacks and travel bags; and electronic products such as radios and alarm clocks. "The products from these two streams are aimed at both the retail and the premiums and promotions sectors," says Chow.
Typical of the innovations introduced by King's is a radio-controlled clock with weather forecast data shown on an LCD display. Other interesting items include a captain's chair with cup holders on both arms, an acrylic picnic mat with PVC foil backing, a cotton-canvas hammock, a polyester polar-fleece travel blanket that folds into a nylon pouch and a nylon backpack with reflective bands for safety purposes.
According to Chow, traders and manufacturers on the Chinese mainland form the toughest competition. "The bottom line in business is always the lowest price," he says. "And no matter where you are trying to sell, the buyer is always looking for the best deal, which usually boils down to the lowest price."
Conceding that mainland firms can and often do offer highly competitive prices, he claims that Hong Kong has superior quality, faster delivery times and better after-sale service.
"Just like the old saying - penny wise, pound foolish - there is many an international buyer today who has learnt that lesson the hard way," he smiles. "Whereas our regular customers know we are reliable manufacturers who ship quality goods on time every time and, thanks to our stringent QC, our product life is longer."
Chow says he is cautiously optimistic about the future: "Yes, I am generally upbeat, why not? Despite the competition from all directions we must keep the ball rolling, and the only way to do that is to get more orders and work on more projects and come up with more bright ideas."
Another important plus in King's armoury, says Chow, is consistent after-sale service. "If a shipment problem arises we make the maximum effort to rectify the situation with the minimum of inconvenience to the customer."
King's strong design and production capabilities (the company won a design award at a HKTDC Gifts & Premiums Fair) should appeal to clients looking for a partner to develop products from conception to production.
"We can effectively handle textiles and sundry items as well as electronic gadgets for both the retail and promotional markets," Chow asserts.
Meanwhile, King's is also looking to extend its markets to Eastern Europe. "We aim to develop opportunities there now that these countries are entering the EU," says Chow. "Again, we will try to establish ourselves by leveraging on our long-time track record combined with aggressive marketing."
Clearly, innovation and dedication are strong keys to success when it comes to electronic items and gifts and premiums.
WRITTEN BY GEOFFREY SOMERS
King's Mfg Co Ltd
Rms 1002-5, Peninsula Square,