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Solid strength(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 02,2009)

Greatmat Technology (HK) Ltd

Ten years ago, construction materials supplier Chris So realised he would remain "a little fish in a very big ocean" unless he developed some exciting new products that would make his company a pacesetter in the industry.

Today, the General Manager of Greatmat Technology (HK) Ltd can not only say he has found his breakthrough products, but can point to major projects in Hong Kong, the PRC, Singapore and other parts of Asia that owe their smooth and attractive external or internal appearance to those products.

His solution is Sani-Crete stone, Greatmat's version of "recon (meaning reconstituted) stone" that laymen would refer to as "artificial stone". "This kind of man-made stone is not just better than natural stone, but it is tougher, far more beautiful, and much cheaper to boot," Mr So claims.

Sani-Crete stone is made of quartz whose composition has been changed to make the material stronger than stone produced by Mother Nature. "A block of Sani-Crete stone 10mm wide, for example, is as strong as a block of natural stone 20mm wide," Mr So claims.

"Our recon stone is also far more attractive because it can be made to the exact colour, or shade of colour, the customer requires."

Besides, Sani-Crete stone has advantages over many other forms of recon stone. "Ordinary recon stone that is used to face the exterior of buildings and constantly exposed to variations in the weather will gradually decompose because of the effects of ultraviolet rays on the resin it contains. This weakens the building structure.

"The resin will also leak, which is harmful to the environment," Mr So says. "Using our Sani-Crete stone eliminates these hazards."

He adds that Sani-Crete stone can be made to order whether it relates to colour, shape, size, adornments, tones, tints or trifles.

"If customer X wants a rough natural surface with no highlights while customer Y wants the walls of the lobby of his new cinema to be shiny blue with vibrant five-pointed stars, we can do it," Mr So claims. "And if he wants, say, mirror highlights added to the shiny surface to make it still more attractive, that's no trouble either."

Strong skills

Greatmat is no stranger to tall orders, including those from royalty. "One Middle Eastern customer wanted gold inserts - little squares of real gold - in the face of the Sani-Crete stone being used on the walls of his new palace," recalls Mr So.

"Getting that all done to some very stringent requirements was a bit of a challenge but we understood the needs of the royal dignitary concerned, and all the members of his family are very happy with the rich appearance of the wall."

In another achievement, the company impressed a customer who wanted a totally seamless recon stone floor for all the toilets in an ultra-modern office block under construction.

"Simple job, really!" smiles Mr So. "That is exactly the sort of super-smooth, seamless surface finishing that one of our Sani-Crete product categories, Sani-Crete H-Series, is specifically designed for."

The Greatmat team literally threw the material on the floor in liquid form - it is self-levelling. "Within 24 hours the facility could be opened for use - without a single crack to be found anywhere," he recalls. "The surface was absolutely flawless, perfectly smooth and level, and easy to maintain - and will remain the same throughout the building's life."

Global presence

Local Hong Kong examples of such seamless finishing projects include the floors of the toilets in the Pacific Place shopping mall, the exteriors of the grandstands at the Hong Kong Jockey Club's Shatin racecourse, and the walls of the Hong Kong Coliseum. "It's all so simple - and so much cheaper and better than all other kinds of stone," Mr So maintains.

Greatmat has agents in Beijing and Shanghai, where it is involved in big construction projects financed from Hong Kong. Elsewhere, it is collaborating with a leading Japanese company to bid for contracts in Dubai, and will put the glamorous finishing touches to a new luxury hotel/holiday resort complex being built in Singapore.

The company's factory in western Guangdong on the Chinese mainland generates 20,000 square metres of Sani-Crete products per month, while higher demands can be met through overtime work.

Orders take 1-3 months to fill, depending on the quantity and the complexities of the customer's requirements.

Having firmly established Greatmat's reputation as an outstanding innovator, the General Manager sees the company's role as an industry pacesetter continuing into the future.

"The earth's resources are being exhausted, oil is already going and stone will eventually go," Mr So believes. "However, we are alert to all possibilities, we are flexible, we have market sense, and we make changes and innovate to meet customers' needs."

Backed by its solid strength, Greatmat Technology (HK) Ltd will clearly leave no stone unturned in its efforts to produce the best products that answer to changing demands.

Text by Geoffrey Somers

Greatmat Technology (HK) Ltd
Units 2102-03, 21/F,
Kingsfield Centre,
18-20 Shell St,
North Point, Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2891-2111
Fax: 852-2893-2320
Website: www.greatmat.com
Email: sales@greatmat.com