Pref­er­en­tial poli­cies make re­lo­ca­tion a sensible op­tion

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - Ken Huang,

owns sev­eral stores in the main­land and has his own hand­bag brand.

M37,

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.

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