1 Sept 2003
Always Looking Ahead(HKTDC Optical,2003)
Clear View, Bright Future
Sunny Side Up
Always Looking Ahead
Sun Hing Optical Mfy Ltd
Sun Hing Optical Mfy
Ltd seeks out the best quality materials to ensure its glasses and frames
are strong and practical as well as attractive and appealing.
THE history of Sun Hing Optical Mfy Ltd follows a common pattern. "In about 1950, my father, then a young man, arrived in Hong Kong from Shanghai, worked for a while and then founded his own business. He then went on to prosper and play a prominent role in Hong Kong's business world," says chairman and managing director Otis Ku.
Until 1965, Sun Hing was a small factory making plastic frames for bifocals for local sales. In the late 1970s, Sun Hing began selling to local exporters. The next milestone came in 1983, when the company began direct exports.
Ku states that 1992 marked a major turning point in the firm's business. "That was the year we decided our future lay not only in making and selling optical products but also in research and design. We hired two university graduates, one of whom is still with us, and trained them in all aspects of design work," he says.
Sun Hing now has about 90 employees in its Hong Kong office and approximately 4,200 in its factory in Dongguan on the southern Chinese mainland.
According to Ku, Sun Hing's main business lines are sunglasses and prescription spectacles. "We have moved in tandem with trends and demands in the past decade, gradually developing our ODM business. In 2000, we started making glasses under licence from companies such as Coure Carre, Celine Dion, Hallmark and Jill Stuart," he says.
"Most recently, the best-selling items are sunglasses with gradient-mirror coated lenses, a feature that gives our products a new look."
Sun Hing's philosophy is to be proactive and look ahead. "We believe that if we have good designs and quality then price is not an important consideration for customers. These days, designs and new ideas are vital to the high-end market," Ku says.
He believes that the biggest threat to Hong Kong's optical industry comes from factories and exporters on the Chinese mainland. "This is because they compete so well in terms of price, their quality is improving day by day, and their marketing methods are really aggressive. In turn, we have to continuously upgrade all aspects of our business and always think about adding value to our products and customer services," says Ku.
Sun Hing received ISO 9002 certification in 1997 and ISO 4001 certification in 2002. In 1999 and 2000, the company won second prize in the Hong Kong Trade Development Council's awards for the best product design.
"Perhaps our single biggest success was in 1993, when one of our customers obtained the licence for Mary Munro glasses and placed his complete order with us. That order represented about 35% of our total business that year," Ku recalls.
Sun Hing's major markets are the US, Europe and Japan. "We see more growth in Europe in the near future, and that is where we will place the emphasis," Ku says.
Sun Hing's raw materials - such as nickel, silver, Monel, titanium and stainless steel - come from Japan and Germany. "The quality has to be good or our glasses just wouldn't be strong enough," he reasons.
WRITTEN BY James Bullen
Sun Hing Optical Mfy Ltd
Unit 1001C, Sunbeam Centre,
27 Shing Yip St, Kwun Tong,
Kowloon, Hong Kong
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