Changes of sales mode: street marketing, TV commercial and products expos

Hong Kong was Chung Nam’s major market during its early years. In the 1950s, the company hired salesmen to carry out street marketing after training by Chong Ching Um. In those days, retail shops first had to buy watches on credit. While the retailers could not return the less popular models, they could negotiate price reductions with Chung Nam. When Chong Hok Hoi was at school during the 1960s, he often took summer jobs with the family business. Carrying a leather case weighing 20-30lbs, he accompanied company salesmen to shops all over Hong Kong. Offering him an excellent opportunity to observe and learn how to communicate with customers, the work gave Chong Hok Hoi a valuable lesson about sales work. All watches promoted through street marketing were Chung Nam-exclusive agency brands, mostly Octo and Tugaris watches. Roamer timepieces were not introduced until the 1990s. Following the U.S. moon landing in 1969, the demand for Octo Space Master watches was so impressive that the supplies were rationed to retail shops. Chong Hok Hoi recognized the importance of close wholesaler-retailer ties. He believed that customer relationships could be built up through social activities such as offering cigarettes, discussing horse racing tips, having tea together and even sponsoring travel trips for retail shop owners and their staff. By this time, Chung Nam had also begun placing advertisements on tram, magazine, cinema, radio and TV, and even hired artist George Lam to star in its TV commercials. Chong Hok Hoi still remembered the classic Octo advertising script: "No later, no sooner! With an Octo watch, time is just right!.
As Chong Ching Um was a director of the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong (CMA), Chung Nam had participated in the Hong Kong Products Expo. Chong Hok Hoi did not involve a lot in the preparation for the products expos but he thought that these activities were less important than the watch and clock fairs. Local watch and clock makers had not been allowed to exhibit at overseas exhibitions for many years. To address the issue, some 10 directors of the Hong Kong Watch Manufacturers Association (HKWMA) agreed to promote their products to overseas buyers by staging their own Hong Kong Watch and Clock Fair (HKWCF). The inaugural 1982 event took place in rented rooms at the Miramar Hotel which was paid by association directors from their own pockets. Chong Hok Hoi was involved in the preparation of this first HKWCF at which Chung Nam displayed a range of finished watches, watch bands and watch cases. So well received were these early HKWCF events by overseas buyers that the Hong Kong Trade Development Council joined forces with HKWMA and began to co-organize future exhibitions. There was a huge surge in global demand for low-priced watches from Hong Kong in the 1980s. Chung Nam’s major clients at this time included top U.S. department chain shops such as Kmart and Wal-Mart.

Company Chung Nam Watch Co., Ltd
Subject Industry
Duration 12m25s
Language Cantonese
Material Type
Source Hong Kong Memory Project Oral History Interview
Repository Hong Kong Memory Project
Note to Copyright Copyright owned by Hong Kong Memory Project
Accession No. LKF-CCH-SEG-007
Share Share