Enterprise Vol 2, 2010: Supplier Spotlight: Stationery
No matter the size of the item, business will always be found when it fits the right niche. This is what Tung Yung Int’l Ltd, a Hong Kong manufacturer of tiny metal staples, discovered in 1962 — and the firm has prospered ever since.
While the primary focus is stationery items, it is now supported by a host of related products marketed under the firm’s Eagle brand. “As we made the staples, it was not hard to follow up by adding the stapler,” says Chairman Chan Siu Leung. “We started with local sales in Hong Kong, while our first export market was Singapore, in 1968, followed by Indonesia, the US and Europe.”
The firm gradually expanded into related items of stationery, with a telephone indexer becoming a milestone product. “In 1973, the production of this item proved a watershed in our development,” Mr Chan relates. “It had a dial like the old-style telephone to release the alphabetical index page. It looks basic now but this proved to be a really big seller at the time.”
He adds that shipping in excess of one million pieces of the indexer during the course of the next 6-7 years also brought the profits needed to commence construction of a new headquarters and manufacturing centre in Hong Kong.
“This move also allowed us to add more machinery and different product lines, which matched the demand in the 1980s for desktop sets with memo pads, paper stationery items and paper punches,” Mr Chan continues.
“Other milestones were offering our first cash boxes in 1995 and establishing our own paper plant in 1999 and a PP manufacturing plant in 2000, by which time the range of products also included notebooks, home files, leather arch files and binders,” he adds.
Another new aspect was an advanced glue factory, plus endeavours in recycled paper and items in different PP materials.
Today, the firm offers some 1,000 different items. “Our range is broadly categorised into paper, metal-plastic and PP, while we also carry sundries like pushpins,” Mr Chan says. “We are also a market leader in the cash-box niche and we have developed a fingerprint model.”
Other popular lines include display books, flat sheet files, sticky notes and paper home files for the UK or portable files for the US, which continue to be best sellers. The firm also conducts OEM for clients in the US, the UK and Australia. “In fact our Eagle brand name is seen in more than 50 countries,” Mr Chan says with obvious pride.
The firm also carries out its own tooling and R&D, and Mr Chan says that collecting market intelligence is another important task. “We meet frequently with clients to discuss market trends, and about 50 of our 2,500 workforce are engaged in this aspect of the business,” he states.
Almost from rags to riches, the history of Tung Yung Int’l Ltd is a real Hong Kong success story.
Text by Tony Henderson
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