E-commerce techniques ‘key to manufacturers’ survival’

Pamela Lin

E-commerce techniques ‘key to manufacturers’ survival’

To deal with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, small- and medium-size companies should embrace a more diverse market along with e-commerce marketing, Daniel Yip, chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Industries, has suggested.

The pandemic has put industries to the test as to how to remain competitive in light of the widespread disruption to business and public life as the relationship between the world’s two largest economies worsens.

Manufacturers should explore markets outside their traditional turfs in a post-pandemic world, said Yip, who’s also managing director of electrical appliances manufacturer G.E.W. International Corp.

He urged SMEs to explore markets on the Chinese mainland and in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Yip noted that as the mainland gradually recovered from the outbreak in the past few months, the electronics products market has been growing.

G.E.W. tapped into the mainland market with its brand coffee machines 15 years ago and expanded to ASEAN and the Middle East before exploring other potential markets. Such diversification has helped the company reduce the impact of the global uncertainties, he said.

Yip, who oversaw the company’s transformation from an original-equipment manufacturer and original-design manufacturer to an original-brand manufacturer, put great emphasis on building up its own brand by establishing an innovation office in Hong Kong focusing on patents and research.

“Intellectual property protection is essential for new products,” he said, adding that Hong Kong is well-positioned for design and engineering with a sound patent-law system. The city also has engineers with international patent experience, ensuring a fast and accurate process.

Building brands needs separate teams with different management mindsets. “Marketing is spending money. Manufacturing is saving money,” said Yip.

In his view, the Hong Kong brand has a reputation for integrity, quality and fashion with a Western touch, which should be carried on by local industrialists.

To diversify Hong Kong’s economy and strengthen the city’s competitiveness, the special administrative region government has been promoting reindustrialization to cultivate high-end industrial production by rolling out a reindustrialization funding program.

Reviving Hong Kong industries refers to the development of high value-added industries and manufacturing processes with the adoption of smart production, data analysis and the internet of things.

Yip said the funding program will further help local companies develop technologies for industries to enhance production efficiency and agility regardless of whether their factories are in Hong Kong, on the mainland or in the ASEAN countries.

The success of Hong Kong’s reindustrialization lies in close cooperation among industries, startups and universities to nurture new technologies, according to Yip. He urged the government to offer tax incentives and subsidies to companies investing in the city’s reindustrialization.