Local entrepreneur Thomas Chan bought a handbag factory in China and turned it into a major manufacturer that’s today exporting and showcasing Chinese manufacturing talent worldwide.

Thomas Chan always wanted to be an entrepreneur. He loved the challenge that goes with building a business from scratch. Shortly after graduation from university, he seizes the opportunity to take over a handbag factory in Shenzhen, China, which marks the beginning of his sojourn into a business adventure that was to last for decades. 

Early Days

“At that time, the government was aggressively promoting mainland China to the rest of world as a hub for manufacturing,” says Chan. “In order to attract foreign investment, China’s government offered many incentives for foreign companies to invest or conduct business in China, namely, special subsidies on export tax, special discounted corporate tax, cheaper lands and warehouses, low cost materials & labor, and many other trade related concessions.” Chan explains.

“As a non-Chinese company, we were able to take adventures of all these policy related incentives. My company kept investing in hardware, which improved the quality of our products while maintain the competitive pricing. In result of that, stable orders from America and European markets began coming and became the stable income streams for the company.”

Making a Difference

There are few things set us apart from the others, Chan says.

1. Efficiency: provide quality product at a competitive price is in the center of the company strategy, we are constantly looking for ways to improve overall efficiency.

2. Customer Focus: we always try to understand customer’s needs from their points of view.

3. Serious attitude: it is our company’s philosophy to take things seriously, keep the words and deliver on promises.

4. Innovation: we are among the first group of companies that made huge investment to hire designers from European and American markets, and we also invested a lot on finding better tools & equipment, new materials and conduct market research to ensure we on top of the trends of our industry.”

He adds: “The value added came from our efforts to understand customer’s needs from their point of views; from the continuing pursue of better design, better materials and better pricing. Our customers value our corporate philosophy of taking thing seriously and being customer driven.”

People Power

One of the biggest obstacles in Hong Kong market is recruiting, says Chan. “There aren’t many young people willing to join the manufacturing field. They often think manufacture related jobs mean long working hours and higher pressure. In order to attract the professional and experienced staff in Hong Kong, we work very hard to create a more diverse and inclusive working environment, and promote a ‘happy family’ corporate culture.”

Asked about his formula for success, Chan says: “there is really no secret of success, for me, it is a combination of the good people who worked with or helped me, the growth of China economic power and open door policy, and the positive mindset and long-term thinking. Team spirit is very important, and a solid stepby-step approach is essential to achieve company’s financial objectives and growth target, he concludes.”

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Hong Kong’s Business Leaders share market and interest intelligence in the pages of HKMVC 2018