Once known as an importing country, the Philippines 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.