1 Sept 2003
Clear View, Bright Future(HKTDC Optical,2003)
Clear View, Bright Future
Sunny Side Up
Always Looking Ahead
Asia Optical Mfy Ltd
|A family business, Asia Optical Mfy Ltd takes pride in offering its clients a wide range of optics including reading glasses, sunglasses, and even industrial safety wear. Prices and styles suit all budgets.|
GORDON Lee, general manager of Asia Optical Mfy Ltd, runs a family business that started operations in Hong Kong in 1962. Now a second-generation company, Asia Optical continues to specialize in the production of all kinds of eyewear. "My father is based in our factory on the Chinese mainland and remains very active," says Lee.
Lee says that he concentrates on marketing and sales, deals with frame designers on the mainland and travels a lot. "We may not be a very large firm," he says, "but we are comprehensive, having handmade, metal and injection-moulded frames to offer. Plus, we have long experience in this business and we understand what is going on."
The optical market is a steady business. "Even if the world economy is bad, people will still buy glasses," says Lee. "Then there are the in-trends or hot styles set by some Hollywood event or a celebrity or fashion house and so, overall, the result is stable demand."
He says Asia Optical is recognized as a trusted optical manufacturer, having one of the most comprehensive ranges of frames. Head office in Hong Kong takes care of administrative tasks, while there is a representative office in Shanghai.
The factory in Shenzhen on the southern Chinese mainland has a floor area of 50,000 square feet and houses three production lines. "These are for handmade acetate frames, metal frames and injection-moulded frames," Lee says.
Maximum output is 150,000 pairs of spectacles per month and the workforce is about 300. Most raw materials and machinery come from Italy, Germany, Japan and the US, guaranteeing product quality.
Handmade acetate frames - always a very good market, according to Lee - are fashioned from cellulose acetate sheets from Italy.
Lenses for sunglasses are 100% protected against UV400, while anti-reflective coatings can be further applied on request. For children's frames, Asia Optical uses the well-accepted Italian spring hinges, which have proved to be the most durable in eyewear items for youngsters.
Employing acrylic aspheric power lenses, the firm's reading glasses are popular items. Folding spectacles also sell well, and there is a range of industrial safety glasses approved for use in many markets including the US and Scotland.
When it comes to the mass market, injection-moulded frames meet the needs of the low budget sector and serve the premium and gifts segments as well.
Lee sees steady growth for the next 10 years in line with new developments and new technologies in sunglasses. "Melanin, for example, when synthesized as an integral part of a lens, becomes the perfect filter. As people are becoming more conscious of the negative effects of light, they are more wary," he says.
He does not see any threat to his trade from laser correctional surgery or even contact lenses. "Many people do not like the idea of interfering with the eyes and they would rather buy glasses. It is the same with contact lenses. Many of those needing vision enhancement would rather wear eyeglasses than contacts," he believes.
WRITTEN BY Tony Henderson
Asia Optical Mfy Ltd
9/F, Unit F, Winner Bldg,
36 Man Yue St, Hung Hom,
Kowloon, Hong Kong
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