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Setting The Pace(HKTDC Watch & Clock, Vol 01,2007)

Wing On Cheong Watch Industries Int'l Ltd


Wing On Cheong Watch Industries Int'l Ltd specialises in stylish analogue and multifunctional LCD watches
The RoHS product safety standards introduced by the EU on July 1, 2006 came as no surprise to one of Hong Kong's most successful watch manufacturers.

Wing On Cheong Watch Industries Int'l Ltd was well aware of the stringent new requirements that restrict the use of lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenyl ether in various types of electronic and electrical equipment.

"We always like to be a pacesetter, and we introduced these upgraded standards in our factories six months beforehand," marketing director Peter Li explains. "It helped push sales and also earned us a lot of favourable customer feedback."

Forward-thinking such as this is typical of the member of The Wing On Cheong Group, an established Hong Kong manufacturing company that entered the watch industry in 1954.

Wing On Cheong now specialises in analogue and multifunctional LCD watches that it manufactures in factories occupying a total of 17,000 square metres in Shenzhen and Zhaoqing on the Chinese mainland.

Li says the factories' combined workforce of 1,000, including an R&D team consisting of 25 engineers and designers, produces 700,000-800,000 completed watches a month.

"We hold regular planning sessions to chart our way forward, based on buyer trends, technical breakthroughs and related factors," he explains. "We depend a lot on feedback from agents, bulk buyers and individual customers."

Li adds that Wing On Cheong's success is largely due to its after-sales service, which he regards as one of the company's biggest advantages. "That, combined with the innovative style of our products, good quality, reliability and punctual delivery are the reasons we can still survive in today's highly competitive marketplace," he maintains.

A classic example of Wing On Cheong's commitment to customer satisfaction came in 1997, when the two factories worked round the clock for six months to fill an order for more than 10 million watches for a European buyer.

"We virtually had a shuttle service of containers going from Hong Kong to Europe to fill the order, which was met on schedule," Li recalls. "It's the sort of mega-project every exporter dreams about, and we were the ones who clinched it."

Perhaps not surprisingly, Europe, led by Germany, is the company's major export market today but he sees "huge potential" in Russia and the mainland.

Li is now planning to attend an exhibition in Moscow to assess the prospects in Russia. "Our factories are already established on the mainland, which gives us entry to the market, but the competition there is huge," he concedes.

Wing On Cheong's chances of cracking the mainland Russian markets will undoubtedly be boosted by the three, highly innovative watches that will lead its overseas sales drive this year.

The AL-EC 71 features an altimeter, electronic compass, barometer, temperature guide and weather forecast, countdown timer and chronograph with a 99 split-lap memory.

The novel timepiece also has the ability to tell the time in 28 global cities, an alarm system connected with five of these cities and a backlight that lets the user read in the dark.

The HR-71 ana-digi model for joggers, hikers and hardy outdoor types is similarly inventive, offering a pulse reader, exercise and calorie counter and 1/100 second chronograph with split timer, plus a calendar and alarm.

Businessmen will love the RC-71 radio-controlled watch that not only uses electric-wave clock signals to correct the time as they move from country to country, but also includes a stopwatch with split-lap read-outs, alarm, countdown timer and a backlight.

Li is confident that these three watches will prove extremely successful in markets around the world and maintain Wing On Cheong's proud record as a pacesetter in the highly-competitive watch manufacturing field.

"We have been at the forefront of the Hong Kong watch industry for several decades and are determined to keep our leadership position for many years to come," Li concludes.


Wing On Cheong Watch Industries Int'l Ltd

20/F, Wing On Cheong Bldg,
5 Wing Lok St,
Central, Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2543-0303
Fax: 852-2850-4145
Web: www.wocwatch.com