Tradition and innovation are at the heart of Hwa Fong Rubber's strategy to establish a globally recognised brand that embodies quality and reliability. The synergy of a strong new leadership and 67 years of experience sets the stage for Hwa Fong Rubber's vision to become the supplier of choice when it comes to high-end bicycle tyres. Hwa Fong Rubber's primary business when it was established in 1945 was manufacturing bicycle tyres and tubes. From this core expertise, the company expanded its offerings to include industrial, agricultural and light truck tyres and tubes in 1974. Three brand names are under the Hwa Fong Rubber umbrella - Duro, Quick and Columbia. Hwa Fong Rubber's portfolio includes all-terrain vehicle tyres and tubes, and special trailer and passenger car radial tyres. When Hwa Fong Rubber chairman Patrick Chen acquired the company a few years ago, he provided the financial support to streamline operations and strengthen the company's production capacity. Chen's extensive experience in his family's business took Hwa Fong Rubber to greater heights. His financial genius also empowered the company to continue its legacy of excellence. "Out of the six rubber companies in Taiwan, Hwa Fong Rubber is the smallest, but we have the longest history and deepest expertise," Chen says. "We are also in the best position as we have a presence on the mainland, in Thailand and the United States." Using technology, Hwa Fong Rubber continuously improves its manufacturing processes and its products. Through research and development, the company creates new tyre designs to fit the different lifestyle needs of its customers. Hwa Fong Rubber's in-house engineers work hand in hand with clients on customised applications. Using only the best quality raw materials, Hwa Fong Rubber works with some of the biggest rubber suppliers in the region such as Nature Rubber, Real Rubber and Malaysia Rubber. The company seeks more partnerships with suppliers that can offer competitively priced, high-quality raw materials. Hwa Fong Rubber is a recognised innovator in the industry. One of its products under the Duro line received the Eurobike Innovation award in 2009 for its patented TruShine technology. Duro's TruShine technology emits light from the tyre's sidewall for maximum visibility while riding at night. The company was also the tyre supplier for Germany-based bicycle components company Reynolds Cycling. Duro tyres were used in Reynolds Cycling's Spin It Up programme in 2010. "I want Hwa Fong Rubber to be recognised internationally, not just by distributors, but also by the consumers. That is the niche market I want for bicycle tyres. If you are a big fan and you know your bicycle well, you will use our tyres," Chen says. Hwa Fong Rubber is also a reliable original equipment manufacturer for Yokohama Tire Corporation and Sumitomo Rubber Industries. Hwa Fong Rubber's partnership with these Japanese companies encourages technology transfer and skill sharing. Building a strong brand identity is important for Chen and one way to demonstrate this is to showcase the company's expertise in bicycle tyres. Hwa Fong Rubber aims to carve a niche for itself in high-end bicycle tyres. In line with this strategy, the company plans on sponsoring prestigious cycling competitions such as the Tour de France to establish Hwa Fong Rubber as a premium bicycle tyres supplier. Partnerships with marketing channels with local market expertise will also help Hwa Fong Rubber raise its profile in the region and position the company as a high-end bicycle tyre supplier. Aside from reinforcing its image, Hwa Fong Rubber also seeks strategic partnerships with companies that can help it continue to build its bicycle tyre production facilities. Listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange and Stock Exchange of Thailand, Hwa Fong Rubber is confident of the company's high-yielding stocks and of the rubber industry's growth potential. With a concrete business development plan, Hwa Fong Rubber makes for an attractive investment. "The rubber tyre industry is not a sexy industry, so more often than not, it is not on the mainstream investors' radar screen," Chen says. "But unless the entire means of transportation changes in the future, it is an industry that will not disappear. Investing in this industry is a good business move."