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Burning Brightly(HKTDC Gifts, Premium & Stationery, Vol 04,2006)

Tung Fong Int'l Promotion Co Ltd

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Tung Fong Int'l Promotion Co Ltd aims to enhance lighter functions by incorporating LEDs, torches, calculators, laser lights and compasses

A cornucopia of classic, classy and clever lighters has helped Tung Fong Int'l Promotion Co Ltd boost annual sales turnover to more than US$13m in recent years.

The cigarette accessories manufacturer has been in the business since 1978 says director Alice Chan, who recalls that the company originally traded and manufactured electronic products before swiftly changing its focus to windproof lighters.

"The windproof lighter was a new technology spearheaded by Germany," she continues, "and our management team believed that it had great scope for further development."

It was a wise decision as Tung Fong has thrived on providing an extensive and ever-increasing range of OEM and ODM services for nearly two decades. "To a certain extent a lighter is like a mobile phone," Chan maintains. "Styles have to be updated regularly to stimulate the market."

As a result, Tung Fong currently boasts more than 10,000 different lighter designs and the firm keeps working closely with outside designers for new ideas to add to those ignited by its own R&D team.

"Lighters often borrow ideas and take their inspiration from other lifestyle products in terms of shapes, colours and materials," Chan notes. "They are also greatly influenced by popular international sports events such as the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup."

Among the kaleidoscope of lighters on display in Tung Fong's showroom are a desktop lighter in the shape of a football boot kicking a soccer ball, a playful barbecue lighter that resembles a freshly-struck match, and classic styles in the silhouettes of different musical instruments. "One of our major aims is to enhance lighter functions, which is why lighters that incorporate LEDs, torches, calculators, laser lights and compasses are very popular with our customers," Chan enthuses.

The success of these value-added items has seen Tung Fong's markets expand from Japan and the US to embrace Europe and various Asian countries, including the Chinese mainland, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Korea.

Chan believes this expansion can be attributed to the company's ongoing commitment to service and quality, exemplified by its 130,000-square-metre, 1,150-worker factory in Wenzhou on the mainland.

She also takes pride in revealing that 60% of Tung Fong's products are shipped to tobacco companies, liquor brands and automobile manufacturers as promotional items, while others fill the shelves of retail stores worldwide.

"Department store buyers usually have very stringent production requirements regarding facilities, production management systems and working conditions, and our ISO 9000-certified factory easily passes their audits," Chan insists.

Quality is also guaranteed through the utilisation of zinc alloy and copper from Australia and the mainland and stringent quality control from incoming material inspection to final prototype packaging. "All lighters comply with international safety standards and requirements - including CE and RoHS," Chan adds.

This commitment to quality has seen Tung Fong retain many customers for more than 10 years, but the firm's Hong Kong-based sales and marketing team also makes ongoing efforts to develop more business by advertising in trade magazines and participating in trade fairs.

Their efforts are aided by Tung Fong's extensive production capacity, which enables the company to produce 2-3 million pieces a month that are normally delivered 15-35 days after order confirmation.

Tung Fong also keeps its minimum order quantity requirements as low as 3,000 pieces to attract new buyers, which has undoubtedly helped boost its market share.

However, Chan is not content to let Tung Fong's flame waver and is currently eyeing prospective new markets such as South America and Russia.

"South America used to buy through the US, but buyers there are now sourcing direct from overseas manufacturers, as are the Russians who used to source through Germany," she explains.

Chan stresses that constant product and technology innovation will continue to be Tung Fong's motto and driving force. "We totally understand the importance of freshness and originality - they are key to leading the market and maintaining profit in a competitive business arena," she concludes.

WRITTEN BY WINNIE HUI

Tung Fong Int'l Promotion Co Ltd

Unit C9, 21/F,
Wah Lok Ind Centre,
31-41 Shan Mei St, Fo Tan,
New Territories, Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2609-2128
Fax: 852-2602-2536
Email:
tf@tungfong.com.hk
Web: www.tungfong.com.hk