cens logo

An Interview With Frank Kauer, Managing Director of SKN Global Ltd., a Ford licensee

The HK firm is looking for distributors in Taiwan or other markets to promote the Ford brand in lighting

Apr 28, 2014 | By CENS


news-photoSKN Managing Director Frank Kauer and Ford-branded lamps.

By KEN LIU

Ford was surprisingly not promoted as a car brand but for household lighting at the Hong Kong International Lighting Fair 2014 (Spring Edition), held April 6-9. The Ford marque was seen at the contract supplier SKN Global Ltd.'s booth in Hall of Aurora, a venue for brand name exhibitors.

SKN, a Hong Kong-based company, is licensed to market lighting and electrical appliances worldwide under the Ford brand, whose lighting products were promoted by the licensee at the show.

SKN Managing Director Frank Kauer talked about Ford lighting in an interview with CENS Lighting, with the content excerpted below.

Q: I'm quite surprised to see Ford at a lighting fair, particularly at the Hong Kong lighting fair, because I've never seen Ford at this show despite having attended this show for over a decade.

A: We're SKN Global, a licensee of Ford marketing lighting and electrical appliances under Ford. We are here looking for distributors in Taiwan or any other markets to wave the Ford banner as a supplier to lamp consumers.

Ford does not directly produce lighting and appliances, but it sets certain standards obviously for SNK's lighting and goals we need to meet for potential market share. They look to us to achieve 5% of the global lighting market by 2020 under Ford.

Q: How will SKN achieve the 2020 goal?

A: It's a target we set for ourselves through finding the right partners at the show to distribute Ford lighting in their market. So, we're here meeting various potential distributors. And we have to find the correct partners after the show for whichever market that we bill would have the potential to achieve the target we've set.

Q: Is SKN the only Ford licensee in lighting and household appliances?

A: That's correct.

Q: Does that mean Ford opened the new business when SKN was licensed?

A: That's correct. SKN created the Ford Home Solution branding concept.

Q: Why did Ford want to open the home solution business?

A: It is not necessarily that Ford wanted to. We convinced Ford that Ford-branded items boast huge name-recognition. And that could be carried over not only from car and motor sector but also bring Ford into the home.

Q: Why did Ford choose to work with SKN and what's SKN's competitiveness and strength?

A: It's SKN's experience over the past 20 years in the markets worldwide. Through the Hong Kong office we've distributed to Europe, the America, Australia, and also South Africa. So, Ford believes SKN is the right partner to market Ford-branded items globally.

Q: Is it not strange for Ford to sell lighting? How can people associate Ford with lighting?

A: Ford is not selling shoes. People who know Ford and recognize it are emotionally attached  to Ford. We're offering alternatives to the high-price A brands with a recognized brand. Before you buy Frank fluorescent or some known A.B.C. brands cheap, you see Ford and believe there is a quality level that is maintained. Then you say I trust it, and want to put it in my house because Ford, if not as good, is very close to global brands producing lights. So, we're piggybacking on consumers' awareness and trust in the Ford brand.

Q: Ford is a carmaker. Is it familiar with the lighting industry?

A: Ford is not directly involved with the products we're marketing. We are obliged to Ford to make sure Ford-branded lighting items have quality that consumers expect from Ford.

Q: Why did SKN want to partner with Ford?

A: Ford is a living brand that produces cars. They make money. They are in the market and have an annual advertising budget under Ford from which they spend 25% only marketing Ford overall. And that's also something all of our distributors have benefited from.

On a global scale, Ford is sponsoring, for example, UEFA Champion League, Australian Open, and American Idol. These are things that consumers are constantly made aware of, not any specific Ford Ranger or Ford Fiesta. It's the brand Ford.

Q: Why not Toyota, GM and other big-name carmakers?

A: Ford is the No.2 on the Best Global Green Brands. And so that's why we are promoting LED. That is an advertising tool for any distributor. LED is green and environmentally friendly.

Q: How has the cooperation been going so far?

A: It's been great so far. We've had the license now for about a year and a half. We launched about eight months ago in Brazil. Now, the global launch is in Hong Kong and we have good response from all visitors to this booth. A lot of people are surprised and say they have never seen Ford lighting at any other show. Those people in the lighting business that don't have any established brand see the potential obviously to use Ford to develop their sales and revenue.

Q: How is the Ford lighting revenue now?

A: We've only started in Brazil, so I can only speak for Brazil. The Ford brand has doubled the revenue for our Brazilian distributors. It's only in eight months and, potentially, this is what we expect to see in other markets as well.

Q: What's SKN's goal for the marketing?

A: We're just starting. We're flexible and we're going to work with the best partners in every market for the growth potential. Basically, we work with only one distributor in each market because we don't want same market  competition. But in the United States, China, and India we must have more than one distributor because of size.

Q: What's SKN's job in the partnership?

A: What we're doing is putting something together for the distributors. We're working with the facilities that are already producing lights for Philips, Osram, or other multinationals. We're not at the stage where perhaps Osram or Philips is, but we're with them. They are developing next-generation lighting technologies. Technically, our product developments rely on the facilities. But they are working for these brands. So, our distributors won't have the second-generation LEDs if Osram is promoting the fourth-generation LEDs.

Q: What is the lighting market potential to SKN?

A: I think there is great potential especially in LED, which is becoming more popular as incandescent has been almost totally phased out and CFL is being phased out slowly in Europe. We are flexible because for those markets that still want CFL we can supply CFL although the market concentration now is on LED.

Q: Any possibility for SKN to enter into alliance with other brand names?

A: I guess. I mean anyone already producing lighting, or any A brand producing lighting. Right now I can't imagine how beneficial that would be for A brands. But, for some B brands that are trying very hard to build something to have Ford in their portfolio is definitely an advantage simply because of the brand recognition from industry and consumers.

Q: Will SKN expand into other sector than lighting?

A: Yes. We also have Ford license for household electrical appliances, including vacuum cleaners, ovens, coffeemakers, toasters, gas barbecue, wine refrigerators and air conditioners. So, these are something we will be doing in the Hong Kong electronics show next week where we have a booth to introduce Ford.

Q: Will you attend similar shows outside Hong Kong to market Ford lighting?

A: From our experience, we find real potential buyers and distributors in Hong Kong. We're looking for distributors in certain territory. When they go back to their territory, they will take part in local shows and have a booth with Ford home and lighting solution. So Hong Kong is a good location to draw the right distributors.


Insiders' Views

Megvii Technology Founder and CEO Tang Wenbin

Part 1 Megvii Technology Founder Interview: Face++ AI Facial Recognition sets eye on Asia, starting with Taiwan

Sep 07, 2018

Using facial recognition to remove security checks and recognizing criminals sounds like technological applications out of a movie, though much of it is already implemented in everyday life. Having been founded for only seven years, Megvii Technology Limited, or more commonly known for its facial recognition and AI application Face++, owns critical technology by combining both, and now, recently ...

FOXCONN TECHNOLOGY


Megvii Technology Founder Interview Part 2: Face++ AI Facial Recognition sets eye on Asia, starting with Taiwan</h2>

Megvii Technology Founder Interview Part 2: Face++ AI Facial Recognition sets eye on Asia, starting with Taiwan

Sep 07, 2018

Tang Wenbin, founder and CEO of Megvii Technology, will be visiting Taiwan next week, but accepted an overseas interview with Economic Daily News on Sept. 6. This is the second installment of the interview. Aiming for a complete application; forming a city’s “brain” Q: What are the goals and strategy for the next phase? A: When the company first started off, we had to find a way to impl...

FOXCONN TECHNOLOGY


MPN's Editor-at-large Provides Holistic, In-depth Insights into U.S. Market for Powersports</h2><p class='subtitle'>Industry veteran suggests Taiwanese suppliers establish market presence as priority</p>

MPN's Editor-at-large Provides Holistic, In-depth Insights into U.S. Market for Powersports

Industry veteran suggests Taiwanese suppliers establish market presence as priority

May 24, 2018

One of the concurrent events held during the 13th Taiwan International Motorcycle Industry Show (Motorcycle Taiwan 2018), the seminar titled “Turning New U.S. Powersports Business Opportunities” was rounded off with overwhelming acclaim from the audience as a resounding success, mostly thanks to the excellent quality of the lecturers invited, all of whom are seasoned veterans and experts at high ...



Industry In-Focus

Latest Chinese-U.S. Trade Talks Mark Chance of Higher-Level Meetings and Ease Market Tensions</h2>

Latest Chinese-U.S. Trade Talks Mark Chance of Higher-Level Meetings and Ease Market Tensions

Jan 14, 2019

The world waited with bated breath as Chinese and U.S. representatives met during this week to deliberate over whether the trade war would finally come to a reasonable conclusion. Throughout the entirety of the trade war early last year, from escalation to the tentative 90-day truce borne from the G20 Summit in Argentina between President Xi Jinping and U.S. counterpart President Donald Trump...


Taiwan Firms Kicks off 2019 at ArabPlast </h2>

Taiwan Firms Kicks off 2019 at ArabPlast

Jan 10, 2019

The biannual ArabPlast 2019 is marked as the most indicative benchmark as the largest trade expo for plastics, petrochemicals and rubber industry in the MENA region. The show kicked off on Jan. 5, attracting 336 exhibitors from 27 countries. Taiwanese exhibitors also attended, led by Taiwan Association of Machinery Industry in a 34-member strong delegation, a size just shy of China and India. ...


ARTC Teams Up With 18 Companies to Form Self-Driving Vehicle Union</h2>

ARTC Teams Up With 18 Companies to Form Self-Driving Vehicle Union

Dec 28, 2018

November 20 marks a huge milestone in Taiwan’s self-driving industry. The Automotive Research & Testing Center (ARTC) joined hands with 18 brands, including Acer ITS Inc., Global UniTek, Shin Wei Automotive Industrial and others of Taiwan’s top-to-bottom industrial chain to form the Autonomous Vehicle Industry Alliance. Their overall aim is to shore up support for a new, innovative operation m...



Supplier News

Antrc Industrial Corp. offers bumpers, parts, decoration strips, skid plates, radiator, radiator grill, headlights and rear lights and will be exhibiting at Automechanika Shanghai to tap into the Asian markets. (photo courtesy of Antrc Industrial Corp.)

Antrc Industrial Corp. Aims for High-End Auto Parts Industry for Asian Markets

Dec 05, 2018

Antrc Industrial Corp. focuses on manufacturing plastic parts, metal parts and other automotive parts in the aftermarket industry. The firm can roll out parts and products that match with customers’ needs and the industry pulse in this changing and competitive market. Having deep roots in the AM industry, Antrc can deliver with its complete supply chain, from designing, molding making and finally...

ANTRC INDUSTRIAL CORP.


NHC and YangPo products satisfy demands for different automobiles. (photographed by Tseng Lung-nan)

Brake Maker Nan Hoang Rides on Biz Upswing to Offer More Clients the Best

Dec 04, 2018

For more than five decades, Nan Hoang Traffic Instrument Co., Ltd (NHC) has been one of the major manufacturers of specialty vehicle friction materials in Taiwan and around the world. Chairman Austin Cheng has been carrying out their “double-arrow developing plan” for this year. In one aspect, through its private label YangPo, NHC aims to adopt a more effective marketing strategy for selling own-...

NAN HOANG TRAFFIC INSTRUMENT CO., LTD.


Intime offers high-quality performance brake calipers. (photo courtesy of Intime)

Intime's Products Sought-after by Professionals Worldwide

Dec 04, 2018

Founded in 2013, Intime Auto Parts Co., Ltd., specializes in making performance brake calipers and performance shock absorber systems. Intime takes pride of its “n&b performance” series. The firm's n&b ceramic brake pads, which are made of low metallic NAO material, is capable of functioning without damaging the brake discs. Also notable is that the brake dust can be removed easily from the al...

INTIME AUTO PARTS CO., LTD.



Industry Reports

Latest Chinese-U.S. Trade Talks Mark Chance of Higher-Level Meetings and Ease Market Tensions</h2>

Latest Chinese-U.S. Trade Talks Mark Chance of Higher-Level Meetings and Ease Market Tensions

Jan 14, 2019

The world waited with bated breath as Chinese and U.S. representatives met during this week to deliberate over whether the trade war would finally come to a reasonable conclusion. Throughout the entirety of the trade war early last year, from escalation to the tentative 90-day truce borne from the G20 Summit in Argentina between President Xi Jinping and U.S. counterpart President Donald Trump...


ARTC Teams Up With 18 Companies to Form Self-Driving Vehicle Union</h2>

ARTC Teams Up With 18 Companies to Form Self-Driving Vehicle Union

Dec 28, 2018

November 20 marks a huge milestone in Taiwan’s self-driving industry. The Automotive Research & Testing Center (ARTC) joined hands with 18 brands, including Acer ITS Inc., Global UniTek, Shin Wei Automotive Industrial and others of Taiwan’s top-to-bottom industrial chain to form the Autonomous Vehicle Industry Alliance. Their overall aim is to shore up support for a new, innovative operation m...


An Alliance Between Ford and VW Could be Announced as Early as Next Year</h2>

An Alliance Between Ford and VW Could be Announced as Early as Next Year

Dec 11, 2018

There is news of a far-reaching alliance between Ford Motor and Volkswagen, according to those familiar to the matter, reported CNBC. The two world’s largest automakers plan to announce the alliance next January, a partnership that would encompass sharing assembly plants in the U.S. to avoid new the wave of tariffs, joint marketing and distribution as well as product development, possibly on t...



Exhibition Highlights

Taiwan Firms Kicks off 2019 at ArabPlast </h2>

Taiwan Firms Kicks off 2019 at ArabPlast

Jan 10, 2019

The biannual ArabPlast 2019 is marked as the most indicative benchmark as the largest trade expo for plastics, petrochemicals and rubber industry in the MENA region. The show kicked off on Jan. 5, attracting 336 exhibitors from 27 countries. Taiwanese exhibitors also attended, led by Taiwan Association of Machinery Industry in a 34-member strong delegation, a size just shy of China and India. ...


2018 AAPEX Post-Show Report</h2>

2018 AAPEX Post-Show Report

Dec 24, 2018

The 2018 edition of Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) kicked off from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 at Sands Expo Center; a total of 6,269 exhibitors came from 43 countries/regions, a 4% growth compared to last year’s figures, using up over 5,000 booths. Organizers estimate that over 162,000 professional buyers from approximately 135 countries visited the largest show of its kind in the North Amer...


Source: show organizer

The 19th Fastener Trade Show Suzhou - China's leading one-stop purchasing platform for fasteners, machinery and supporting products

Dec 05, 2018

As a large international fastener specialized exhibition, the 19th Fastener Trade Show Suzhou will connect the upstream and downstream of fastener manufacturing industry. Focusing on end users and building a global fastener trade platform are the highlights of the show. The 17th Fastener Trade Show Suzhou, successfully held during 26-28 October 2017, was highly praised by exhibitors and visito...