The development of The China Paint Manufacturing Company (Part I): Plant, products variety and industrial paint expansion

In the 1970s, there were six major paint factories, Kin Kwok Lacquer Manufacturing Company and several small factories in Hong Kong. The market competition was intense. China Paint had two plants in Kwun Tong, one of which was built by the company. It was a 6-level building of 40,000 square ft. The factory moved to Sai Kung later, which had a total area of 160,000 square ft. Nowadays the company had a factory in Shenzhen with a total area of 58,000 square meters, which was still not sufficient for operation. At the time when Paul Lam started to work for the company, the sales figures were only of 8 digits. In terms of market share, the company was the smallest among the major paint factories, with National Lacquer and Paint Products Company being the largest among all. Nowadays the China market contributed 90% of the company’s sales.
The company’s products used to be exported to overseas markets. In the 1970s, as many of these import countries imposed various kinds of import restriction, China Paint began to develop local market. At that time, Hong Kong’s industries was growing rapidly. With the help of foreign companies, Paul Lam and his cousins switched to produce industrial paints. In the early stage of China’s economic reform, the company started to relocate its production to China, which led to an increase of orders from the industrial sector. The company’s industrial paint could be used for producing rattan, electronic fans and toys. Types of toy included metal toy cars, both soft and hard plastic toys and PVC dolls. Different types of toy required different kinds of paint. The paints for toy were mostly classified into the followings: paint for metal, paint for hard plastic such as Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) paint, paint for soft plastic such as Polypropylene (PP) paint, Polyethylene (PE) paint and Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) paint.
During the production of the company’s industrial paint, the chemists had to try different combinations of chemical materials in order to fit with the receptivity of different material surface. Once the chemists successfully fit a type of paint with the kind of material, they would focus on cost reduction. 30% to 40% of the company’s revenue came from toy paint, which representing 70% of the Hong Kong market demand. Paint for architectural construction composed the major part of the company’s revenue. Brand name “Flower” was specialized for architectural construction while “GIRAFFE” was specialized for paint for wood.

Company China Paint Mfg. Co. (1932) Ltd.
Subject Industry
Duration 12m16s
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. JL-PL-LIFE-003
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