Career Path

Staying ahead of the game

by Ada Ng

Daniel Chun, general manager (Hong Kong)
Silicone Zone International Limited
Photo: Lewis Wong

Mobile telecommunications, toy design and kitchenware manufacturing have all featured prominently in Daniel Chun's varied and unconventional career.

Currently general manager (Hong Kong) of Silicone Zone International Ltd, a silicone bakeware moulds manufacturer, Mr Chun believes it was his creative spirit and love for innovation that gave him the flexibility to manoeuvre his career between industries and ultimately helped him progress up the corporate ladder.

"Although I spent the last 18 years working in very different industries, I remain enthusiastic and full of ideas," Mr Chun says. "I laid the groundwork in the early years. Working in different environments taught me that a business must remain innovative in terms of products, services and infrastructure in order to stay competitive."

Innovative mind

After graduating in computer science in Australia, Mr Chun started his career working in various business development positions in the mobile and wireless telecommunications industry in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Over that period, he executed a number of pioneering services and mobile applications.

At the turn of the millennium, Mr Chun migrated to Canada. It was during this transition that he revisited his childhood passion for robotic toy design and subsequently opened BoyToys, a science and hobby toy store in Toronto, where he sold a number of robotic toys of his own design, with a noble aim to groom young hobbyists into creative individuals.

Mr Chun then moved on to lead the licensing and brand management practice of the toy company before moving back to Hong Kong last year to take up his current position.

He sees his slightly unusual career path as part of the natural progression towards his current role.

Among Mr Chun's main duties in running Silicone Zone's Hong Kong division are establishing the lifestyle kitchenware brand in the greater China region and enhancing cost efficiency along the supply chain. He believes the way to do this is through creative marketing strategies and by developing an innovative infrastructure system to shorten the production cycle.

"A business must remain innovative in terms of products, services and infrastructure in order to stay competitive"

Silicone Zone already has a good customer base in North America, Europe and Southeast Asia, but the company is relatively new in greater China.

"My job is to make people in the region aware of the availability of silicone cooking tools and bakeware that are temperature resistant, hygienic and eco-friendly," Mr Chun notes, adding that the products also promote safety and a healthy cooking experience.

One of the company's branding strategies is to focus on CRM (customer relationship management). The company has established an innovative online cooking club for customers to interact with industry experts and share organic recipes and cooking tips. He says, "We believe this is the best way to engage the users of our products and to understand their cooking habits and spending patterns."

Mr Chun's earlier experience has already paid dividends in his current role. The creativity in service innovation that he developed during his early years in the telecommunications industry has helped with the establishment of the online platform. In addition, his passion for ICT (information and communication technology) has led to a complete overhaul of the company's infrastructure.

"While Silicone Zone is strong in product innovation, we need to create a good system to document all manufacturing and logistic processes to ensure quality and efficiency," he remarks. "ICT management is ideal for achieving efficiency and shortening our turnaround time."

Make a mark

Silicone Zone, which was established in Hong Kong in 2004, designs, manufactures and sells silicone kitchenware. With a focus on product innovation, its R&D (research and development) division recently moved to Hong Kong Science Park to concentrate on developing silicone products for other industrial and commercial applications.

"Our plan is to expand from kitchenware to other categories such as healthcare products and stationery," reveals Mr Chun. "We're about to introduce a series of silicone health and wellness products including a range of pain-relieving silicone patches designed to be applied to the body."

Mr Chun's motto is to "do the right thing at the right time" and he believes that this is the right time to expand his team in order to grow the company's market share in the region.

At this juncture, the company is looking to hire six to 10 management trainees. "Successful candidates will get the opportunity to rotate between areas such as CRM, marketing and business planning," he points out.

Silicone Zone is also looking for experienced product designers and marketing and public relations professionals. "We're considering hiring university graduates in Guangzhou as the first step of our planned expansion into mainland China," Mr Chun notes, adding that building a strong team from scratch represents yet another challenge in his career. "The journey will be exciting and rewarding," he emphasises.

Taken from Career Times 15 May 2009, p. A16
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