29 Nov 2006
Motivated To Innovate(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 12,2006)
Emori Development Ltd
|Emori Development Ltd will launch its own original designs in 2007 and unveil them at an upcoming trade fair|
"Obviously, identifying a prospective, well-received promotional premium is good for the corporate image as well as business," he states.
He believes the core "secret" is to make items practical, affordable and novel. "It sounds easy," Leung says, "but arriving at the right decision to turn ordinary instant-heat packs and screen cleaners into creative gifts and premiums is quite a feat."
Nevertheless, Leung claims that his actions led to the writing of a new page in the history of Emori, which he established in 1998. "Initially, Emori acted as a small trading firm that sourced all sorts of consumer products required by its Japanese customers," he recalls.
"However, in 2001, while visiting my buyer in Japan, I came across some instant-heat packs in the health products section at a department store. The idea of turning that item into an attractive premium just sprang to my mind," he smiles.
"At about the same time, I was able to apply my idea to a screen cleaner that the same buyer wanted as a general consumer product."
So how was the transformation executed? "We fill the instant-heat packs with non-toxic, food-grade ingredients that are activated by flexing a small, stainless steel disc inside.
"Once activated, the liquid-form ingredients start to crystallize, releasing heat that rises to 55?C," he claims.
"The temperature can be maintained for 30-120 minutes depending on the size of the pad, how it is used and how well it is insulated," he adds. "The pad can be reused by boiling it in water until the contents return to their previous liquid form."
With his ideas firmly in mind, Leung says he took immediate action to look for a factory to produce them while he focused on marketing. "My instant hand-warmer, a small version of the heat pack, and the multipurpose screen cleaner were picked up by importers and premiums buyers in both Japan and Europe within 12 months," he states.
Fuelled by these new initiatives, 2003 marked another milestone for Emori with the opening of an office in Shenzhen on the Chinese mainland and a joint venture arrangement with a factory in Guangdong Province.
"On top of the 120-worker, 30,000-square-foot joint venture plant, we also have two reliable sub-contracting affiliates that support our monthly production of 1.5 million instant-heat packs and six million screen cleaners, " Leung notes.
"These products continue to be popular," he claims. "Also, in the past few years, the concept of the heat pack has transformed into a baby-bottle warmer, an instant can-cooler, and eye and face masks."
He says that one of the firm's most prominent deals was an order for two million hand-warmers from Pokka Lemon Tea of Japan. "All the Pokka Lemon Tea hotlines were jammed by enquiries from curious Japanese consumers wanting to know how the hand-warmers worked," he laughs.
Leung, who remains constantly alert for ways to rejuvenate existing products, also incorporated advanced offset printing technology into a microfibre cleaning cloth in 2006.
"That also became another winning item," he says. "The microfibre fabric, in fact, was already in use on one side of the screen cleaner."
The microfibre cloth is suitable for cleaning delicate items such as digital cameras, computer screens, PDAs, eyeglasses, photographic and optical lenses, CDs and even precious stones.
"Most important of all," says Leung, "the ample surface area of the cloth also offers an ideal space for an advertisement, logo or photo image using offset printing techniques."
Emori set up an additional 10,000-square-foot operation in Guangdong for inspection and logistics purposes in July 2006. "The new site allows us to perform detailed final inspections to guarantee reliable quality," says Leung. "We have also centralised our offset printing, simple assembling, and packaging actions there under one roof."
Expansive as ever, Emori's biggest markets today are Japan and Europe, followed by the US and other Asian countries.
Leung says he always has an eye on the future, and believes Emori is set for another breakthrough. "We used to work solely on OEM orders, but will launch our own original designs in 2007 and unveil them at our groundbreaking participation in a coming trade fair," he promises.
Where Emori is concerned, things clearly tend to happen fast.
WRITTEN BY WINNIE HUI
Emori Development Ltd