ONE laboratory testing firm in Hong Kong believes that having its operation thoroughly vetted and then accredited has been essential to its business.
The QA Testing Centre is based in To Kwa Wan in Kowloon.
The firm employs 30 people and its main work is in carrying out safety and quality tests on toys.
Managing director Cyril O'Connor said his customers expected the laboratory to have reached the highest operational standards and to have proof of its performance.
He said it had achieved this by being accredited by the Hong Kong Laboratory Accreditation Scheme (HOKLAS).
Mr O'Connor said: 'Accreditation is very important to us, because clients in Europe, the United States, Australia and elsewhere demand it of us.
'If we are testing a product they want to know that our procedures are up to scratch and that we are doing a professional job.
'If something is wrong with a product then you want to know that the initial tests carried out were accurate and completely reliable.' The QA Testing Centre was set up in Hong Kong in 1990.
Among the work it carries out are tests to check the durability of toys and their resistance to fire and toxicity.
Its main clients are toy distributors and sellers in Europe and the United States.
Mr O'Connor said there had been a considerable increase in interest in quality and testing in the industry in recent years.
'Four or five years ago, there was a growth in testing because of European directives on toy safety.
'Since then it has been fairly steady as the emphasis on testing is still very strong.' QA's laboratory procedures had to be thoroughly vetted to receive accreditation by HOKLAS in Hong Kong.
Mr O'Connor said there were many similar laboratory vetting organisations worldwide but the Hong Kong scheme was one of the toughest.
'There is more attention to detail when you are assessed here and they can also carry out surveillance visits at any time to make sure your standards are still up to scratch,' he said.
'I have had a lot of experience of the scheme operating in Britain and Hong Kong compares very well.' QA has already started branching out into other areas.
Mr O'Connor said: 'We have started testing ceramics, textiles and cosmetics and we are looking to move still further into these areas.