1 Dec 2002
R&D Success Factor(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 12,2002)
Vol 12, 2002
The Right Mix
Innovation Lights The Way
R&D Success Factor
Sun Fat (Holding) Co Ltd
|In order to stay ahead of competition, Sun Fat (Holding) Co Ltd invests in R&D and believes an expanded range of products is also a good hedge|
Research and development is the most important factor in the success of Sun Fat (Holding) Co Ltd. The company strives to stay several steps ahead of the competition by continuously generating new products geared carefully to specific markets.
Sun Fat, founded in Hong Kong in 1988, began by manufacturing videotape-rewinding machines in a factory on the Chinese mainland that employed about 400 people. Today, the company has a workforce of 3,200 and a 150,000-square-foot factory with eight production lines, 90 sets of injection machines and computer modelling and testing facilities.
The plant, located conveniently close to Shenzhen airport in Guangdong Province, is ISO 9002 certified.
The company soon began to develop other products, according to KP Wong, marketing director, including rechargeable lanterns targeted at the Middle East and later at markets in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Egypt.
Following this development came a move into European and North American markets with similar, but more up-to-date and advanced designs.
Sun Fat has steadily increased its product range ever since, and now includes multi-functional rechargeable fans, uninterruptible power supply systems, exit signs including those for use in an emergency, energy-saving AC fluorescent lamps, torches and spotlights, battery chargers, mosquito repellers, language-learning machines, table lamps and downlight fixtures.
The proliferation of products is a response to competition from mainland-based companies producing similar items.
Sun Fat, with its 30-person engineering and R&D department, strives to develop sophisticated products incorporating new technology and enhanced features. According to Wong, about 20 new products are currently under development.
In 2000, the company added cooler/warmer boxes and bags to its range, and now produces about 40,000 pieces per month, aimed mainly at Japan, Europe and North America. Among the highlights of this range are four thermoelectric models.
Especially designed for use in the car are the 4- and 45-litre cooler/warmer boxes. There is also a cooler specifically for cosmetics, and a cooler/warmer model designed especially for wine bottles.
Another new product that has been successful in India and the Middle East is a rechargeable sealed lead acid battery, of which there are more than 20 different models. However, Wong points out that rechargeable products are now growing in popularity also in the US and Japan. "There is demand there, although prices have to be very competitive to sell in the US," he says.
Around 20% of total output is OEM, while the rest comes under the company's Sunca brand name. Sun Fat finds magazine advertising and its own website to be the most useful marketing tools, along with attendance at trade shows. So far, the company has exhibited only in Hong Kong. "But for the future, we are looking to attend important shows in Germany and the US," says Wong.
WRITTEN BY ANN WILLIAMS
Sun Fat (Holding) Co Ltd
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