Preferential policies make relocation a sensible option
owns several stores in the mainland and has his own handbag brand.
y family has been running a leather goods business for nearly 40 years, providing materials for a number of handbag manufacturers across the world. My parents started Mingzhuan Leather Co in Kaohsiung (Taiwan) in 1978, a year before I was born.
The company thrived amid the rapid growth of Taiwan’s leather industry in the 1980s, when the island had more than 100 leather materials producers, and my parents’ company was ranked among the top 10.
However, in recent years, the industry has contracted rapidly in Taiwan. To date, only about 10 leath- er producers remain on the island.
I took over my parents’ business 10 years ago. In addition to continuing my family’s traditional leather producing business, I began to look for more opportunities.
A major setback in a deal with a world-famous handbag brand a few years ago prompted me to launch my own brand.
I provided top-quality leather materials for that company, but it became increasingly demanding in terms of price and delivery. One of the factors was that the price of leather materials from the Chinese mainland, Thailand and Vietnam is lower than in Taiwan. I decided to upgrade my business.
I invented my own brand by laminating natural silk onto the surface of the leather, which is not only artistic but also environment-friendly. I launched the brand, called “Sweetburden”, three years ago in Kaohsiung.
Later, I discovered that the demand for handbags on the mainland is huge. Among the 12 items I sold to a store in Paris, eight were bought by customers from the mainland.
In the past year, I have opened a workshop and four stores in the mainland. Their success confirmed my market expectations, and I have full confidence that new stores we plan to open in mainland cities will enjoy the same success.
I now live in Xiamen, Fujian province, where my workshop is located. There were good reasons for developing my business in the city, especially the preferential policies in the city for young entrepreneurs are generous.
In addition, the people in Xiamen speak the same dialect as people in Taiwan and the similar lifestyle makes me feel at home.
Ken Huang spoke with Zhang Yi.