I was raised in a farmer’s family without a lot of luxury when I was growing up. After I graduate from Taipei Institute of Technology in 1969, I worked for two relatively small companies. Due to this reason, I needed to be hand-on with many aspects of my work, and because of this, I learnt a great deal of running a business, which helped me tremendously when I started Sun Rise Chemical.
30 years ago, Taiwan was taking off in its economic growth and the hottest industry was none other then the textile industry. As Taiwan’s textiles were being exported to countries over the world, anything related to the industry had great market potential. So when one of my classmates from school developed a way to produce Melamine Resin, which can be used in textile manufacturing, I knew that if we were successful it will have a large demand, therefore I persuaded another classmate to join, gathered up 2 million NT dollars, rented a factory and started production.
At the beginning, our products had several defects and so we were unsuccessful in selling the product. However, after going through several refinements, we finally came up with a quality product that is competitive enough to meet the market’s needs and therefore survived our first challenge professionally.
Because of the limited staff, and in order to cut cost, everyone had heavy workloads. Usually my day would start by sorting through the paperwork in the morning, and then I would ride my motorbike and visit various customers. Usually I would arrive home around midnight. This kind of hard work continued daily for four more years, as our sales network expanded slowly due to our persistence. In September 1976, we moved our factory to Tao Yuan County and expanded our production to include Optical Brightening Agent, which can be applied in both textile and the paper industry.
For the first five years, Sun Rise Chemical focused mainly in the domestic markets. At the time the market was complicated, labor cost was high and the payment terms was long, so thinking over the situation, I realized in order to bring the company to a higher level we need to expand to overseas markets. I was introduced by a friend to Mr. Tsai who sells dyes in Philippine. Through him, I got to know many Chinese people living in Philippine, whom are involved in the textile industry. This newfound network enabled me to build customers’ confidence in our product in a market where manufacturers do not trust the quality of Taiwanese products. From then on, I would frequently make overseas trips to many South East Asian countries including Philippine, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. Each trip ranges from one to two weeks, as I would visit customers from early in the morning till late at night. After time the visits resulted is creating and maintaining numerous customers that are not only loyal to Sun Rise products, and at the same time make many friends.
Indonesia proved to be a tough market to penetrate, not only because the land was vast, but also the people was hostile to Chinese nationals. Most of the Indonesian paper mills are located deep within the forests, and because the forest surrounding the mills would become too dense, it is customary to burn down parts of the forest before the rainy season begins. The benefits were to clear out rooms for future tree planting; another is that the remains of the forest after it has been burnt are used as natural fertilizer to the new forest. One year due to an unexpected drought the rainy season did not arrive in time to put out the fire, so instead the fire spread through to other parts of the country.
The dust storm that was formed reached as far as Singapore and Malaysia. Since I had already planned my trip to Indonesia, I went despite the harsh conditions. Once I arrived in Jakarta and went to check in for my connecting flight to where the paper mills were located, I was told it has been canceled due to the firestorm, and was told to go back to my country since the fire will continue. Another time when I flew from Brisbane, Australia to Manila, Philippine, after I arrived I found out one of the volcanoes close by erupted. I was trapped in Manila as the volcano dust fell like snowflakes; basically I was trapped in Manila as it continued for one whole week. It was surreal experience that I will not forget.
In March 1984, our capital increased to NT192 million, as we were able to expand our establishment by purchasing land and build a factory in Da Yuan Industrial park. Since we finally have our fully owned production factory, it gave us more confidence in expanding our market. Our market share in Philippine expanded rapidly and we were requested by the local dealers to set up a local factory to meet the demand of our Philippine customers. Therefore we invested 10 million Pesos in constructing the factory, throughout the next 18 years, the returns were more then satisfactory, and it was a very successful investment
It was the 12th year of Sun Rise’s history that we started to enter into the paper industry. As there were huge demands for paper in the global market, sales took off accordingly. Japan, Indonesia and Chinawere three big markets in Asia, and so we first entered the Indonesian market by selling our products to the largest paper companies in the region and as that company expanded into China, we supplied theChina plant with our products as well. But the Japan market proved to be the toughest, but with firm belief that with persistence, opportunities will be created. Finally we were introduced to a trading company that had a history that spanned 70 years, and they were interested in selling our products to the Japan market. Coincidentally, one of our Chinese paper mill customer started selling their paper to Japan. The paper was cheap and the quality was to a high standard, so because of this, the paper companies in Japanaccepted our products due to this incident. With just 70 tons of sales to Japan in the first year to 700 tons in the second year, and now averaging about 2,000 tons per year. Many of the largest paper companies inJapan can now be counted as customers to Sun Rise’s products.
In May 1997, we were rewarded SGS ISO 9002, and pass the LD50 and AMES tests in 2002. This proves our products have reached international standards for safety and management quality. With the continuing trend of Taiwanese enterprises moving to China, and in order to shorten our supply channel in China, Sun Rise invested US2.4 million dollars to establish our new factory in Jianhsu, China. With landmass of 36,000 square meters, this increases Sun Rise’s total asset to NT610 million. Production started in May 2005.
I am very thankful for the graces of God, and many friends who have helped me throughout my career. During the 2nd year after establishing Sun Rise, I was asked to accommodate a Japanese technician named Mr. Kido. He was a professional who is diligent and honest. During that time, we were developing our production for Optical Brightening Agent, but the quality was not up to the market standard. In order to repay our kindness in accommodating him, Mr. Kido asked one of his friends to assist our research and developments, and because of this, the quality of our OBA increased dramatically.
I am very thankful for all of the co-workers I have worked with throughout these past 30 years. I would travel overseas often, each time up to 3, 4 weeks, despite of that the company still operated without many problems, I am truly grateful for everyone’s hard work. Also I have to thank our GM, Mr. Chen whom I have known for 40 years. We supported each other throughout our cooperation and become best of partners. He has vast knowledge concerning plant construction and production management. Sun Rise would never be at this stage without the efforts of my fellow associates.
I also would like to thank many of our loyal customers. I would like to mention Mr. Yeh, General Manager of LIENPANG Textile Dying Company. LIENPANG has continued to use our products since the second year or our inception till now. He would offer his guidance to us whenever we faced difficulties at work. I would like to mention another of my good friend of mine, Mr. Ho, president of YUNSHUEN; he encouraged me to play golf to stay in good shape. To be honest, golf has not only become my hobby, it also improved my health so that I would be able to work full speed.
I have three children, and have all grown up to become independent, at work or in their studies. Looking at what Sun Rise has accomplished, I believed that it is all because of everyone’s efforts in this company. Therefore I believe that instead of passing down the company’s leadership through genealogically, it should really be passed to the person with the best ability to run the company. Equal opportunity should be given to anyone from the shareholders of our company to become the next leaders of Sun Rise Chemical, and lead the company successfully into the future.
One of my mottos is “always be responsible to our customers” in ways of providing correct information and the best quality products to them. By having high expectations leads to high quality products, this then creates satisfied customer, and better the future for our company. This is a sound cycle of economic activities. In 2004, Nissei Kyoeki became our sole agent in the Japanese markets for Sun Rise products, and at the same time, our products are being sold to Asia, the Middle East, Central and South America,Europe and the US, totaling up to 40 countries. The customers’ demographic expanded from textile, to paper and detergent market. As globalization is an inevitable step for Sun Rise, our future must be expanding to other parts of the world to include our own production facilities. I hope “Sun Rise” can follow everyone’s footsteps in expanding into other parts of the world, and I wish to endeavor myself to this common cause.
It is part of an organization’s responsibility to repay back to the society and help the people in need. Since I am a Christian and involved in the church’s activities, by contributing to the church, I am also contributing to helping our society. Looking back, I believed it is through God’s grace that has carry me through many testing times. After my retirement, I hope to go back to Australia and help spread God’s love to people by getting involved with the local church. I also look forward to the next person in charge of Sun Rise Chemical whom will bring the company into doing great things and let this company shine, serving the people for many years to come.