1 Oct 2003
Hong Kong Gifts, Premiums and Stationery - Company Profile
In The Family
All Gain, No Pain
Ten Gun Elastic Tape Mfr
Ten Gun Elastic Tape Mfr has evolved into a leading supplier of woven tape, lanyards, suspenders, belts and leatherwear
Ten Gun Elastic Tape Mfr is an intriguing name for a company that doesn't actually produce guns. The name in fact derives from the Chinese characters forming the name of Tianjin, the port city serving Beijing. It was at Tianjin Technical College, in the mid-1960s, that company founder Mao Lim Kong met his wife.
Mao was a very bright student, and soon acquired the technical skills that were to make his Hong Kong company a leading exporter of woven tapes, lanyards, men's and children's suspenders plus a wide range of belts and leatherwear for both sexes.
However, Mao first had to serve a most unusual "apprenticeship", leaving the mainland with his family for Indonesia, where he helped his father set up a factory in Medan, Sumatra, to produce tapes and belts.
Mao arrived in Hong Kong in 1973, and opened his first factory in Tsuen Wan. Although a very small affair with only five workers, the design of his tapes, belts and other small-line products attracted overseas buyers and business grew quickly.
Today, Mao is semi-retired, and only son Ronald is now the go-getting managing director. It takes only seconds for Ronald to recount Ten Gun's lows and highs. "In the mid-1990s, Ten Gun won an HK$8m order for about three million pairs of kids' Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse suspenders and, not surprisingly, the order took six months to fill," he says.
"Then, about five years ago, sales of belts and suspenders began falling drastically. As we had just moved into lanyards, we switched over to full production of them. That saved us. It was exciting, it was dangerous ... and I don't want to go through it again."
Born in Beijing, educated on the mainland, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Australia, Ronald's management and hi-tech skills have helped guide the company to production rates that are simply eye-popping - thanks to automation.
Depending on orders from buyers in Europe, the US and Asia, monthly output can be 1.5 million lanyards, a million keyholders, half a million suspenders or 400,000 belts. "All the credit for our success belongs to my father with his imaginative brain and skilful hands," says Ronald sincerely.
Ten Gun's first venture on the mainland was a factory in Shenzhen, with 100 manual workers. "Everything was very slow," recalls Ronald. Fortunately, Mao senior envisioned an electronically controlled weaving machine. He went to Switzerland and worked with designers and engineers at the Muller Factory to perfect his idea.
As a result, production and quality consistency shot up and the company soon opened new factories in Huizhou and Guangdong with a combined skilled workforce of 250.
"My father then returned to Switzerland with another revolutionary idea - computer-controlled weaving machines - and again worked with Muller's experts to perfect the design," recounts Ronald. "These were the industry's first electronically controlled and computer-controlled weaving machines - and that's why I believe Dad's a genius."
Ten Gun's record seems to prove the point about keeping it all in the family.
WRITTEN BY GEOFFREY SOMERS
Ten Gun Elastic Tape Mfr
|Hong Kong Buyers Request Form||Overseas Buyers Request Form||More Publications|