Building on a solid reputation

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 September, 2007, 12:00am

Expanding into China and beyond, JMI continues to look for staff

Jing Mei Industrial (JMI) knew that expanding first to Shenzhen and then Panyu in Guangdong province was the way to go as business picked up and orders came flooding in.

As the decorative and finishing company approached next year's 40th anniversary of its founding, Chan Lai-shun, the Hong Kong company's founder, was well aware he needed to expand into China if he was to keep his business growing.

Mr Chan opened his first factory in Shenzhen during the 80s, and taking advantage of cheap labour and low property prices, the business expanded to Panyu in Guangdong at the beginning of 2000 when it acquired 40,000 square metres of factory space.

By mid-2000, it gained another 30,000 square metres and by the time it opened a second plant in Nansha near the Nansha ferry pier, it had attained another 50,000 square metres.

JMI now has more than 100,000 square metres of factory space in China to cope with a fast-growing business.

As it continues to expand, the company has not stopped looking for talented people.

You might not have heard of JMI, but you probably have seen or even admired its work. Renowned for surface finishing of plastic and metal components and products, JMI has certainly made an impression in the kitchen, bathroom and car - even your mobile phone.

The company puts the all-important finishing touches to those shiny knobs, showerheads and shower racks on such world-famous bathroom and kitchen brands such as Grohe, Kohler, Delta and Moen.

JMI is committed to bringing the highest level of service to its customers with a workforce of around 220 in Hong Kong and 4,500 in production facilities in Panyu. 'We cannot stop looking for competent people,' said JMI vice-president, Julie Cheung Wai-fung. 'We have our own product design teams as well.

'So apart from plastic injection, electroplating and factory management experts, product design engineers are something we are looking for at the moment,' said Ms Cheung. 'We recruit people not only from China and Hong Kong, but overseas as well. We have employees from India, Malaysia, Singapore and the United States.'

'The trade deficit between China and foreign countries is getting higher, so there's more business we can exploit,' said JMI's chief executive automotive Ricky Chan Wai-chung, who plays an important part in the family business.

'Most of our customers focus on our China sales. It's more cost effective and efficient to build our factories in China while supporting the local market, too.

'We are in a better position for doing so because we are already there,' he said.

What made the award-winning company unique was its one-stop-shopping and the company's value-added services, said Mr Chan.

'Our expertise is in electro-plating. We have different service industries involving plumbing such as shower heads and bathroom and kitchen related components.

'We are also involved in the automotive, telecommunications and home appliances business,' said Mr Chan.

When his father started the company while still an apprentice in a factory, little did he know it would grow to have representative offices in Detroit and Louisville, a logistics centre in Chicago in the United States and sales offices in Beijing and Tianjin - as well as 120,000 square metres of factory space in Panyu.

Having built a solid reputation across China, Southeast Asia and the US, JMI is emerging as a serious player in Europe, where it is starting to gain a reputation for trustworthiness and expertise.

'We have four divisions in our organisation,' explained Ms Cheung. 'Kitchen and bath are our biggest division and they account for about 60 per cent of our business. Next comes our automotive, then components and fourth our joint ventures [with other overseas firms].'

What makes JMI stand out even more is that as a specialised industry, it does not have many competitors. It has been internationally recognised and has won several awards, including Hong Kong Industry's Certificate of Merit in Quality (2001), the Trade and Industry Department Quality Award (2002) and the prestigious 2005 Hong Kong Awards for Industries: Productivity and Quality Grand Award.

Although the European market represents a whole new challenge for the 39-year-old company, JMI is confident of more success.

'The Germans, for example, have different standards and different requirements. This represents a challenge for us, but we have started some business with them over the past seven years and had small orders from them.

'We have gained their trust with our quality, technology and teamwork,' Mr Chan said.

Stepping stones

1980s Plastic injection moulding and plastic electroplating; export business to overseas; first factory in Shenzhen, China

1990s New factories in Shenzhen and Panyu, EMI shielding; ISO 9002 Certification Accredited; established sales, logistics and warehouse in Chicago, US; ED coating line in China

2000 onwards PVD Coating- JV with Masco; ISO 9001 Certification Accredited; QS9000 Certification Accredited; new factory in Suzhou, China; established Rapid Advanced Tooling Shop and Plating R&D Laboratory in Hong Kong; Accredited with ISO/TS16949 Certificate; NSF hose manufacturing operations in Panyu; established second plant in Nansha Panyu for kitchen and bath products; 1SO 14001 Certification Accredited