- Letter from CEO
Greetings from Leona 20192019 is a special year for Hong Kong, where our head office is located. Besides sending my heartiest festival greetings to you all, we would also like to tell our friends that - we are doing fine. Most of our work plans could be executed. However, we were not & will not be used to the vandalism & strife prevailing at Hong Kong since mid 2019.
Back to the overall picture of our organization in 2019:A/ environmental protection
Inevitably we are a heavily plasticized manufacturer. This fact will not be changed till there are reliable substitutes for our production materials. Or, if we would have dropped our plastic business at all.
“Sustainability” ( for ourselves and society) has been integrated into our company values and therefore into our core decision making. It commands us to care more for the eco-system. We did not have major policy changes, like joining A4S & etc.. But we have been busy catching up with all the enhancement measures from the toys industry and China government.
- measures from the industry :
We, as professionals in the industry, are well aware of the facts that some plastics can have safety & pollution issues, in certain ways, after some time. As far as we know, big chemical developers & enthusiastic laboratories are not turning deaf ears to the Green World. They never gave up developing new formula to make the plastic chemicals more “friendly”. There were small steps of improvement every year, though it seems they are still not close.
- measures from China government :
Our key production base is China. It was said that China’s industries contributed 20% of its GDP, but 70% of its environmental pollution!
In 2019 the local authority at our factory area, Dong Guan (very key industrial area of Southern China), showed the determination to shakeup its industrial eco-system from the root. We are happy to be part of it.
Dong Guan area seriously enforced their industrial anti-pollution scheme. Any factories within the territory failed to survive the environmental audits were kicked out. The arrest was on the air & water polluters. Particularly the paper, plastics, toys & textile factories were scrutinized. All our China factories have to make various renovations & finally 100% certified. Thanks to the extra efforts of our teams.
Another major improvement in our factory area is the massive re-piping project. It is another giant project (because of the geographical size & chaotic old structures). It helps to control the water pollution & to conserve the water resources.
As of now China’s control is mainly to curb pollution from the sources. Its recycling control is in infant stage & not yet nation-wide.
- measures from us :
We welcome the global trend in tightening the environmental controls, in a gradual way. For us, the adjustment on both the hardware & software can not be possible over-night. And changing the mindset sometimes is even harder .
We welcome a top-down approach from regulatory bodies, because in such way all the efforts can be consistent & the public awareness/cooperation can be gathered.
We do not have big technology nor systems. Our own “Plastic strategy” is :
- completely stopped production of disposable plastic products in 2019.
- kept on persuading customers to minimize or discard those excessive packaging materials.
- ensure our good material procurement with reliable & compliant vendors.
- control of our materials usage & wastage .
- major setbacks in our path :
i/ we failed to turn our factories to solar energy, due to various reasons but mainly were limitations from the building regulations.
ii/ we failed to utilize “recycled plastics” & “green plastics” in our plastic products. Generally the Recycled materials are given new physical & chemical properties. Some of their most desired original qualities are removed. To our product types, recycled materials are not safe substitutes to our current materials. Furthermore, the Recycling itself also consumes energy and generates wastes. With no new inputs, we stopped our internal studies. And will not rashly change our materials before any convincing breakthrough. Most of the so-called “green plastics” in the market are far from real.
We understand very well our close adherence & support to environmental protection is not only to gain another certificate for our factories or to gain a medal for our toys. It is for the world in a long run.
Personally I do not believe plastic is a crime. It is still the best material for many good purposes, in terms of its material performance & cost. However, now we all know it needs “after-care”. Both the industry & the individual users have a role to play in order to enjoy its beauty. We call that the Social Responsibility & Disciplined Consumption .
B/ Sino-US trade dispute
As a Hong-Kong-originated company, our start-up motto is free trade. We respect competition. From there we learn to grow out of ourselves. We do not quite understand the black magic about suppressing others to keep oneself big, from any side.
In view of the US tax threat, China government is helping us by reducing fee/tax & monetary easing. But the assistance actually starts from a certain threshold, not really applicable to small companies. Rmb devaluation is fiscal & complicated. Aid from Hong Kong government is negligible. Trade tensions are likely to continue to pollute economic & political visibility.
Although the dispute is not expected to be a spell on us & most of our key customers, it certainly accelerates our diversified operations and markets.
After three decades of economic liberalization, Vietnam’s business sector is taking its shape and becomes more competitive. Our Vietnam factory is expanding. It still has no comparison with our China facilities, but can be meaningful, in case of need.
In our adventure, we always need good leaders & managers!
The 2020 outlook:Putting aside the worsened social condition in Hong Kong, 2019 is not a bad year for us !
We have heard from some dormant customers again !
Key customers are looking vibrant !
Our long-awaited new toys office is finally ready to use !
At the moment, our headquarter remains in Hong Kong. We liked this place because it was really a free and convenient city. Tiny but full of vitality from the people, to the infra-structure, to the rules & regulations...... We felt safe & orderly. It has very different flavor than China the sovereign country. Surprisingly, the recent social unrest was filled with vandalism. The rioters officially arrested were reported almost 30-40% as youngsters/students. Their ways of fighting for their course were rather debatable. In our company values, differences in opinion are natural, and of course allowable. If citizens & government of Hong Kong could not respect diversities, and did not have the ability to carry themselves to their ends through civilized negotiations, and did not have the skills to obtain collective consent from all the different stakeholders; this nice city may not be suitable to us anymore. For it will no longer be able to produce the kind of human quality that we want. Our team has to navigate in stormy sea with smiling faces!
Hong Kong truly is a good internal powerhouse for the internationalization of China. But if its political & social orders went out of control, whilst China has an array of smart cities who are so eager to duplicate the Hong-Kong-success story, Hong Kong can lose the glamour fairly easily. I even heard from a Chinese intellectual in a public speech that “China has no problem to practise Common Law in other China cities when necessary ”.
Before we can see more clearly, we are holding back most of our staff recruitment & charity donations at HK. The society and the institutions are not short of investment & funds. Maybe they are missing something..... very fundamental but crucial. Our charity budget will be re-distributed to a local elderly home & to international charity projects on children.
“ ...In necessary things unity, in uncertain things liberty, in all things charity.
Justice is not served by inflicting injustice. The ends do not justify the means .... ” *
Pls do not be mistaken. I am not pessimistic. We are sunshine industry. Making lovely toys for all ages ! For all times!
If Xmas means rebirth & new beginning, now, please dump all your troubles! And never look back again !
May peace be with you . One may not need God in their mind, but I am sure everybody needs peace in mind.
Wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year ~~
* quote from Saint Augustine Of Hippo, Christian theologian