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Local toothpaste brand sinks its teeth into the China market

Friday, September 11, 2009

There is no sign of stopping for Filipino-owned Lamoiyan Corporation, manufacturer of oral, household and personal care products as they boost their export program in the Southeast Asian region adding China in their list of export markets. The makers of the Hapee toothpaste brand hope to compete with multinational companies in the said region using its cost-competitive advantage in the consumer market.

“We began exporting years ago but now we have become more aggressive in our campaign to address and expand into new markets,” Peter Paul Ang, Senior Marketing Services Manager of Lamoiyan Corporation said.

This optimism to conquer new niche markets is also emphasized by Dr. Cecilio Kwok Pedro, the company’s president and chief executive officer. “In every crisis, there is an opportunity,” he said. To date, Hapee is exporting its products to neighboring countries namely, Vietnam, Cambodia, Brunei, Papua New Guinea, and the Middle East.

Lamoiyan Corporation understood the importance of trade fairs as a market strategy. Attending fairs is part of their strategy to expand their market. In 2008, they attended a trade fair in Dubai and found a distributor. “We met interesting people especially the overseas workers who are now buying our products,” said Ang.

This year, the company joins for the first time the China-ASEAN Expo 2009, the country’s trade platform for exporters hoping to explore the Chinese market.

Led by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the export promotions agency of the Department of Trade and Industry, CAEXPO 2009 is a yearly celebration of more than a thousand years of trade and cultural exchanges between China and South East Asian nations. “We are looking forward to joining more trade fairs organized by CITEM for our products to be known in Asia and other parts of the world, “ Ang said.

Dr. Pedro, a young Business Management graduate from the Ateneo de Manila University thought of manufacturing aluminum casing for companies distributing various household products including toothpaste in the Philippines. He started with a second hand machine he bought in Japan and for seven years, he had been supplying up to 30 million tubes annually and employing about 200 workers.

In 1986, he faced his greatest adversity when these multi-national companies shifted to the use of plastic laminated tubes. Instead of closing his factory and laying-off his employees, he thought of making his own toothpaste brand. After research and hundreds of toothpaste trials, he reopened his factory renamed as Lamoiyan Corporation. His strategy was to reduce the cost of Hapee toothpaste by 30% and eventually grew to a multi-billion corporation.

More success stories to come…

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