29 April 2005
Safe & Secure(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 05,2005)
About 11 years ago, Hong Kong-based Quo-Luck Co Ltd set up a seven-block, 10,000-square-metre manufacturing plant in Panyu on the Chinese mainland. The firm has since tooled up for about 3,500 security-related products and doubled its workforce to 800 people.
"Just a decade ago, the security sector was a relatively minor industrial activity. However, the business has experienced near-exponential growth in recent years that, in turn, has fuelled demand for security-related products," says Quo-Luck director of sales and marketing Gary Wong.
"Never has there been greater demand for identity accessories such as lanyards, badge wheels, badge holders, tag holders and their accompanying straps and clips," he enthuses.
Wong explains that modern lanyards come in a variety of sizes, colours and shapes, much removed from the once ubiquitous thin, plain straps.
"Today's lanyards are multicoloured and imprinted with various logos, names and design features," he says. "We use either silk-screen printing or dye sublimation techniques, which allow for thicker, wider lengths of material - usually polyester, which is very soft yet provides a very good surface for even fine printing and/or the transfer of dyes."
Displaying a dazzling variety of colourful lanyards featuring everything from tigers to banknotes, picturesque tourist attractions to cathedrals and castles (plus, of course, the requisite company logos), he says: "These new-generation lanyards are both practical and eye-catching, and can advertise products or services as well as perform their basic functions as security accessories."
Apart from security uses, lanyards today are also used to carry mobile phones, compasses, water bottles and even flashlights and pens. "We even have a special line of lanyards made from reflective PVC that helps locate lost hikers at night," says Wong.
"We operate several factories on the mainland, and each has special capabilities such as metal stamping, plastic injection moulding, plating, custom printing, assembly and custom packaging," he adds. "Apart from direct exports to major clients, we also sell and distribute our products on a wholesale basis and distribute them through a dealer/distributor network. Together, these three outlets help us provide effective solutions and products for the global identification, security and promotional markets."
Stressing that he regards the firm's main strengths as its willingness to innovate according to the customers' wishes and its ability to communicate with clients, he adds: "While it goes almost without saying that our products are of the highest quality and that we are fully reliable when servicing orders, we find that the best way to keep ahead of cost-cutting opponents is to stay in constant contact with our major customers and respond to whatever ideas they propose. Customer relations are so important to us that they create virtual partnerships."
He quickly runs through a list of some of Quo-Luck's major clients, which includes names such as Budweiser, Heineken, Carlton Draft, Fuji Film, Toshiba, Siemens, Nikon, Kodak, Cathay Pacific, Vodafone, Oral-B, Hewlett-Packard, Ikea, Kingfisher, DHL, Nordisc, Intel and Coca-Cola.
Quo-Luck's main markets are the US, Europe and Japan, while Wong anticipates further sales growth in Japan where security remains high in the public's mind.
Although reluctant to give specific details, he says orders come in regularly for lanyards, badge wheels and security accessories.
Wong attributes much of Quo-Luck's ongoing success to its name, which in Chinese translates to Kai Wong Lei (literally meaning great fortune) and, he claims, has helped the firm become a respected leader in the security accessories sector.
"When we started on the mainland, it was felt that a propitious name was needed as a launch pad," he explains. "The directors mulled over various suggestions, but eventually consulted a company that specialises in providing appropriate names for new ventures. Quo-Luck was among a list of names offered, and it was immediately snapped up and registered - we haven't looked back since."
He says that, unlike many other factories on the southern mainland, Quo-Luck employs workers drawn mostly from the Panyu district.
"Having a mostly local workforce is a big plus for us as we don't have the usual problems of providing dormitories for male and female migrant workers, plus feeding them and caring for their health," says Wong.
Quo-Luck clearly has a very secure future.
WRITTEN BY GEOFFREY SOMERS
Quo-Luck Co Ltd