A Macao brand is a mark of quality
More and more people are becoming conscious of their wellbeing as social trends and technological novelties accelerate the tempo of modern life. Awareness is growing among ordinary people that their day-to-day habits may be harmful to their health or appearance.
Macao Image spoke to executives of two Macao companies in the business of making branded products to share their business philosophies. One of the companies is Tin Un Tai Wo Group Co. Ltd., which has been making health food for almost a decade. The second company is Macao Soap and Detergent Production Co. Ltd. Along with skin cleansers and other skincare preparations, Macao Soap and Detergent also makes household cleaning products.
In 2009, the founder of Tin Un Tai Wo realised that some kinds of food made in Taiwan with Chinese herbal ingredients could help improve people’s health. Tin Un Tai Wo and the Macau Tai Wo Tong Health Food Production Factory were established in 2010 to offer a greater range of health food available to the people of Macao and visitors to the city.
The Tai Wo Tong factory needed people with sufficient qualifications in the science of health food, but at the time such people were hard to find. So Tin Un Tai Wo invited a professor in Taiwan to come to Macao to support its research and development effort and help train its workforce.
Ms Si Oi Cheng, Executive Director of Tin Un Tai Wo, told Macao Image: “We are now more familiar with the procedure, and the process is well developed. Although the professor has now returned to Taiwan, he taught the staff all his techniques, which we will pass on.” The factory now has a core of technicians, and arranges regular training sessions for its workforce to ensure that its products meet a high standard.
Proudly made in Macao
Ms Si inherited the enterprise she runs. In the beginning, it never occurred to her that she might have to take over the running of the business, none of her relatives having even hinted that she might be the boss one day. “I left Macao to pursue my studies when I was a youngster,” she said. “All I knew was that that my family ran some sort of company, but I really didn’t understand what its business was.”
These days, Ms Si believes she was fated to take the reins of the enterprise. “I was always interested in nutritional products, even when I was young,” she said. “I used to read the nutrition information on food packaging.”
With a view to penetrating the Mainland Chinese market, Ms Si sought to take advantage of the provisions of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement between Macao and Mainland China (CEPA), and they were helpful.
In addition, Tin Un Tai Wo took part in business events that might help expand its business, some of them put on by the Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM). “IPIM has arranged a number of events, which greatly helps our business in terms of expanding our network and informing us about the relevant policies,” Ms Si said.
Three years have passed since Ms Si took the reins of Tin Un Tai Wo and the Macau Tai Wo Tong Health Food Production Factory. Because her family founded the company and the factory, it is set in stone that all products the business makes should be made in Macao.
“We are Macao people and we want to build a Macao brand,” Ms Si said. “We want to let everybody know that Macao health food is as high-quality as products made anywhere else.”
From the outside in
Macao Soap and Detergent was established at the end of 2016. In 2017, the company continuously developed soap formulae and performed a number of trials. The year after, the company showed the products it had developed at various exhibitions.
Mr Martin Ho, the founder of Macao Soap and Detergent, said his company was trying to develop a formula for the perfect soap, which would be good for the skin. He said the goal was to create a product that would both cleanse the skin and improve its condition.
“Our products are made only with natural ingredients, without any scents or additive added,” Mr Ho told Macao Image. “We want our products to have a pure, natural cleansing action.”
Prohibitively high rents have so far prevented Macao Soap and Detergent from opening a bricks-and-mortar shop in Macao. So the strategy of the company is first to make its brand popular in Mainland China and later to penetrate its home market.
The company exhibited its products at various trade shows in Mainland China in 2018, looking for new markets there. In 2019 and 2020, it is shifting its focus to the Macao market, advertising its products here to make the people of the city better aware of its brand.
“We are a Macao brand so, sure, we would like to target local people,” Mr Ho said. “But there are certain circumstances that made us adjust our positioning in the market in the initial stage.” He said his brand, being a Macao brand, attracted Mainland Chinese consumers because products bearing Macao brands had a reputation for quality.
Exhibiting at trade shows is now helping Macao Soap and Detergent gradually build a good reputation for its brand in the Macao market. “IPIM invites us to show our products at various events, and we are actually able to attract the attention of consumers,” Mr Ho said.
Macao Soap and Detergent makes mainly laundry soap, shampoo bars, bath soaps and other sorts of personal care products. Mr Ho said his company hoped to make its brand the top brand in Macao for personal care and cleaning products, so that shelves in every house would be lined with its products.
“Our products may not have a powerful fragrance, but consumers need not to worry about allergies when using our products, because they are made of natural ingredients,” Mr Ho said.