UNION: Local appliance maker sets its eyes on the world

UNION: Local appliance maker sets its eyes on the world
The Philippines was once
known as an importing country. But our country is now quickly
establishing a reputation as an exporter of not just agricultural
products and semi-conductors but also electrical home appliances.
In
order for companies to enter the international market, they need to be
able to make products that are at par with the world’s best. Union Home
Appliances, one of the country’s top electric fans and small appliance
brands, is a good example. Already in the appliances business for more
than 50 years, the company recently participated in the prestigious
Canton Fair, one of China’s largest trade fairs held yearly in Canton
(Guangzhou), China that features a wide array of products and is the
most attended, in order to make a splash in the global market.
Being
at the Canton Fair officially makes Union Home Appliances the first
Filipino company under its category that participated in the esteemed
event in recent history. There, the company showcased its core products,
all made in the Philippines like electric fans, washing machines and
air coolers.
Ben
Uy, National Sales Manager of Union Home Appliances, said they decided
to participate in the Canton Fair to be able to gain international
exposure. “We’ve always wanted to take our products global. While most
Filipino and international companies have outsourced their manufacturing
to China, we always believed that our country possesses real advantages
in manufacturing. Being into manufacturing for a long time, we know our
products have a real chance of standing out.”
He
noted that during the fair, two of their most innovative products stood
out, like the Defender Anti-Mosquito Fan with a built-in heater to ward
off mosquitoes, and the Perfect Timing Stand Fan that automatically
turns on once the air conditioner turns off. “People saw the
innovativeness and the high quality of our products.  We believe they
are not just at par but possibly even better than some of the other
products displayed in the Canton Fair. We would not have joined if we
thought our products could not match up with others.”
Many
fair attendees, according to Uy, were also surprised that there were
products from the Philippines. There were products from Malaysia,
Thailand and India, which had strong government-sponsored
representation, but Uy said Union was there, representing the
Philippines, despite being a privately-funded booth.  He continued that
it was also fun being noticed by fellow Filipinos representing foreign
firms who pass by the booth and gush upon seeing the pictures of actress and TV host Kris Aquino, Union’s brand ambassador.
However,
Uy emphasized that the biggest benefit for Union in joining the Canton
Fair was the change in how the global market perceived the Philippines
in general, and Union in particular. He said that taking the Union brand
and the Philippines as an exporter in the global marketplace is the
first step in their long-term investment. “Businesses from other
countries are now starting to see Union—and consequently the
Philippines—as a real alternative to traditional suppliers like China.”
Now
that they have penetrated the foreign market, Uy said their focus is on
countries with the same tropical climate as the Philippines, such as
those closer to the equator, who tend to have similar lifestyles and
home needs as Filipinos. He mentioned South America as a particular
region of interest with great potential for growth.
Because
of the success of their participation in the Canton Fair, Uy said they
will closely study the possibility of going there again this year and
encourages other Filipino-owned companies, including other home
appliance makers, to attend as well. With the current strength of the
economy, Uy thinks now is the perfect time to take Filipino-made
products to the rest of the world because “we have what it takes to
stand out.”
“There
are 7 billion people in the world. That’s a really big market for home
appliances.  We should think big because going global is a real
possibility. As we like saying in Union: ‘aim for the stars; even if we
don’t get there, we may very well land on the moon,” Uy declares.
Union Home Appliances are available in leading appliance retailers nationwide. For more information, visit their web site, www.union.ph.

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