24 May 2006
Building A Greener World(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 06,2006)
Eco-Tek Holdings Ltd
|Eco-Tek Holdings Ltd makes its contribution to a better world with various devices that save energy and reduce pollution|
Proving that business and ecological concerns can go hand in hand, Eco-Tek Holdings Ltd makes its contribution to a better world with various devices that save energy and reduce pollution.
The product range includes an energy-saving attachment that slashes electricity usage by 80%, which is already going into use in the metal, construction and plastics industries, and an effective device that halves vehicle exhaust emissions.
Another breakthrough product is the firm's hydraulic filter that recycles and cleans the oil being used in a hydraulic system, sifting out all impurities and ensuring that the exhaust emissions contain minimum pollution.
"This is a very simple attachment to a hydraulic system, and costs about HK$800 only FOB Hong Kong," says founder Dr Lily Chiang.
"It constantly filters the oil through various levels of especially-treated paper so that all the dirt is separated and retained and only pure oil is returned. Apart from tiny fragments of metal, many unusual items can be filtered out, even strands of human hair."
Chiang, who has a Ph.D. in engineering, is a committed "greenie" and formed the company with two colleagues in 1999.
"I like to think that the key to our success is R&D," she says. "We are a typical SME outfit with about 60 employees. However, 20% of our staff is in our R&D division, mostly degree-holders and a few Ph.Ds."
Chiang says that "anything is possible" is the company's proud philosophy. "Nobody here sits around dreaming at the desk with pen, paper and slide-rule. Everyone is part of a dedicated, hands-on research team," she insists. "Also, as we are always looking at ways to further reduce vehicle emissions you'll often find our colleagues crawling around underneath cars and buses."
The founder reveals that Eco-Tek has applied itself to one of the biggest problems confronting environmentalists today - finding an inexpensive way to recycle plastic.
"The trillions of plastic bags dumped in landfills across the world are just the beginning. Imagine how many billions more bulky plastic boxes, cartons and containers are thrown out every year, each one taking up space the Earth can no longer spare," says Chiang.
"All can be recycled into the sorts of chemicals used to make them, but unfortunately present-day recycling techniques would result in the end-product being many more times costlier than the original. So, while people can help stem the flow of plastic products, we are driven to find cheaper ways to recycle those presently polluting the environment."
Chiang feels that anyone trying to guess Eco-Tek's largest market would get it wrong. "I think that most people would be surprised to learn that it is the Chinese mainland," she smiles.
"There's a huge market on the mainland for our products now that the authorities there are giving far greater importance to the environment rather than just economic growth."
Chiang sees the mainland as Eco-Tek's biggest target for future business growth - particularly Shanghai and its two adjoining coastal provinces, Jiangsu and Zhejiang, and Guangdong Province, from Guangzhou to the Pearl River Delta region.
Other Asian markets, especially Thailand, come next on the list of important customers. "Thailand is an emerging market with increasing demand for environmental protection products and services," says Chiang. "The Thai government is very serious about cleaning up the environment."
She also reveals that Eco-Tek has growing markets across Western Europe - "we just got a very good toe-hold in Italy" - and in the Middle East, "which lacks advanced environmental technologies but has growing need for them."
Of course, Hong Kong also features high. "The Hong Kong government is a client of ours, and business continues to grow," Chiang smiles.
Eco-Tek has always concentrated on environmental protection and related issues. "We chose the right direction, the right target, and the right time," says Chiang. "Our winning ingredient is to provide good, green technologies at low and affordable prices."
The company was listed on the GEM market of the Hong Kong stock exchange within two years of formation, and has since won awards from the Hong Kong Productivity Council and the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce as a "most outstanding SME".
Eco-Tek also enjoys collaboration on technical problems with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and universities in Japan and Germany.
Chiang, a passionate believer in using technology to find sustainable solutions to the Earth's escalating environmental problems, says: "Technology is a beautiful tool to help improve the quality of life for all mankind."
WRITTEN BY GEOFFREY SOMERS
Eco-Tek Holdings Ltd