1 Sept 2003
All In The Family(HKTDC Watch & Clock, Vol 03,2003)
Mixing Business With Pleasure
All In The Family
Vecent (China) Times Ltd
Ask assistant manager Angel Yuen what makes Vecent (China) Times Ltd stand apart from rival watchmakers and her answer is swift: "High quality products and after-sales service." The company produces all kinds of watches - LCD, brass, stainless steel aay alloy watches for the middle-market.
"Our high class alloy line is almost as good as brass," explains Yuen. "They have a good finish and design - and customers pay 50% less than brass watches."
Yuen notes that Vecent's main markets are Russia, Spain and Belgium but that it would like to increase sales in the UK, France and Germany. "We hope to expand through our website, going to trade fairs and advertising in all kinds of watch magazines to increase our exposure."
Set up in 1989 by Yuen's sister and brother-in-law (Carefeel Yuen and Wilson Yeung) with a staff of five, the company initially traded watch movements. It soon turned to manufacturing with its own plant on the Chinese mainland, and added watches to the production line in 1994. "We saw the market for watches going up while watch movements were going down, so we diversified," recalls Yuen.
Vecent started making alloy watches, and then customers asked for other materials like stainless steel. "We already had the people, the technology and the factory so we set up other lines like brass, stainless steel and high quality alloy, as our customers wanted more high-end products," explains Yuen.
Today Vecent produces 700,000-800,000 watches each month at its 150-strong factory in Shenzhen on the mainland, and assembles 100,000 watch movements a month. "The movements are mainly Japanese," says Yuen, "but it depends on the customer."
Vecent's advantage is the 5-10 new models it produces each week to show clients, claims Yuen. "Our customers come every week so we have to have new models running or they won't do much business with us."
She estimates OEM and ODM orders make up 10% of orders while 90% is for Vecent's own models. Two in-house designers produce some 20 models a month for the mid-market line, while around two new designs a month are released for the company's high-end Il Vento label - named after her family's Italian restaurant in Hong Kong.
The personal touch is an important element in a successful business strategy. "We are reliable and keep our promises," says Yuen. "Our relationships are built on trust and loyalty, that's why we keep our customers for a long time."
Despite the global downturn, business is good. "Our sales are actually going up - about 5-10% in 2001 and 2002," says Yuen. "We'd like to increase our sales by 10-20% in the next 12 months and have more new models released."
A strong and supportive family network has proved to be a secret weapon for Vecent. "We are a very traditional family business - we believe only family can work together," says Yuen.
Going into business was something the close-knit Yuen family was born to do. Carrying on their grandfather's packaging company was a familial duty, but each of the eight siblings had to find their own niche.
The six boys took over the family company and branched into restaurants and real estate, leaving the two youngest girls to break into the watch business. Their timing has been impeccable.
WRITTEN BY HELEN WONG
Vecent (China) Times Ltd
|Hong Kong Buyers Request Form||Overseas Buyers Request Form||More Publications|