Expanding customer base high on agenda

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 25 October, 2007, 12:00am

Hong Kong-based suppliers of wooden flooring and chemical floor covering, as well as DIY and security items are looking forward to this year's Hong Kong International Hardware & Home Improvement Fair as a way of expanding their customer base, improving brand awareness and penetrating new markets.

'We're the leading manufacturer of multifunction sensors, testers, and detectors,' said Debbie Cho, manageress of Meet (China).

In the DIY or Do It Yourself section of the fair, she said her company was looking for the right party for distribution, and customers who were specialists in the hardware field.

'Our company started in 1992. We have a production base in the mainland, but we are a Hong Kong company of multifunction testers, voltage testers and metal detectors. We are specialists in the DIY range. Our goods are mainly for export to the United States and European countries as well as Asia, Australia and Africa,' she said.

David Liong, project manager for Maydec Wood Products, is also looking for new customers.

'Our company provides solid wood flooring for housing and also outdoor decking for the backyard, balcony or rooftop. Within Hong Kong the decking market is growing because more apartments that are being built have balconies that people want to decorate,' he said.

'They're not happy just to have plain concrete and want to cover it with wood decking. It's more in the Asian style.'

Mr Liong said it had been a difficult year for the flooring business. 'It's a competitive market, and the pricing from the mainland is very low. So we are largely dealing with the overseas market where they are looking for colour, style and a higher quality. Our flooring is a little bit different in that it is made of solid, hard wood. Most other floorings use thinner wood or compressed wood, which is made of wood byproducts.'

The flooring mainly uses two types of wood, merbau and balau - both from Indonesia. The wood was from comparatively younger trees and from renewable sources, said Mr Liong.

Alvin Cheng Man-tuen, managing director of Hong Kong firm Chematco, said he also hoped to find new customers and to improve brand awareness. 'We want to let people know what products we have, and penetrate the market more,' he said.

Chematco has taken part in the fair before, and Mr Cheng said that customer response to the exhibition was good, and it had been productive for the company in the past. 'We are a manufacturer of building chemicals in Hong Kong. We are one of the few companies who make this kind of product. We [create the formula], research and manufacture it in Hong Kong, which is unique in Hong Kong.'

Mr Cheng said the biggest market for the company was still Hong Kong, with some clients in the mainland. The company's main products are floor coatings for car parks, factories including loading bays and other commercial and industrial floorings. Chematco was set up in 1987 and also produces floor-care products.

Mr Cheng said the solvent-free, protective resin coatings did not have to be boring, and more companies were requesting patterns and textures, but the quality stayed the same in that a 3mm coating on a floor could last up to 20 years.

'Its application is very wide,' he said. 'It's definitely a growing market. It is now used in factories and many car parks and it can be done in a matt finish, shiny or special textured finish. We are doing a lot of work in Times Square.'

The trend was heading towards colourful and decorative, he said.

'Traditionally it has been used in factory and industrial complexes. But now more designers [at other companies] want an attractive and decorative finish as well.'