Manufacturing made easy

  • News
  • Monday, 11 Apr 2016

A squadron of Alpha 1S robots dancing in sync during the opening ceremony of Hong Kong’s IngDan experience centre.

TECHNOLOGY and the sharing economy are enabling today’s innovators to transform their ideas into products within a short time and more cost-effectively without having any machinery at their disposal.

So why not make your own product?

With this scenario in mind, IngDan, an ambitious three-year-old tech company in China, is working to connect entrepreneurs across the world with China’s manufacturers via the Internet.

“Our mission statement is to help make crazy ideas into real products,” said its founder and chief executive officer Jeffrey Kang.

IngDan is a portmanteau Chinese word made from the characters Ing (which means hard) and Dan (egg), a name befitting its primary role of helping innovators to source for hardware manufacturers.

Following the sharing-economic model, Kang explained that the opportunity cost for startups – mainly capital investment and product-time-to-market – can be reduced drastically. Moreover, the price paid for creating a failed product could drop to 5% of what it would cost in a traditional business.

Kang (right) at the official opening of the company’s Experience Centre in Hong Kong.
Kang (right) at the official opening of the company’s Experience Centre in Hong Kong.

“No longer will entrepreneurs be bogged down by failure. Now, you can do it, and do it again until you succeed,” he told reporters after attending a forum entitled “Implications of China’s Economic Restructuring from ‘Made-in-China’ to ‘Made-by-China’”.

The forum was organised by China Daily and co-organised by IngDan.

Kang speaks from experience. Out of the four companies he started, one got listed on Nasdaq in the US, and another in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

However, his second startup, a video-streaming company, failed miserably, sending more than US$10mil of investors’ money down the drain, and setting him back several years.

Bearing this in mind, Kang has embarked on a mission to help young entrepreneurs overcome such costly failing by setting up IngDan

Though a startup, the tech company is already operating in the Silicon Valley, Rome, Tel Aviv and Shenzhen. Its online platform connects more than 8,000 China-based manufacturers and has garnered eight million followers worldwide.

Armed with such a wide database, IngDan serves as a consultant to help businesses to source for the right supplies, manufacturers, marketing expertise and even to negotiate for the best price.

A successful example of how IngDan’s platform helped boost business volume could be seen in a Dongguan-based company called T&F manufacturing.

The 15-year-old company does not manufacture its own products. Instead, its 1,200 employees help to manage a whopping 300-400 unique product lines, ranging from mobile accessories like keyboards, phone covers to smart devices like levitating speakers and precision cookers, every month on behalf of clients.

T&F also manufactures ODM and OEM parts for big names such as Kate Spade’s designer handbags, stationery supplies for Office Depot, and electronic parts for Hewlett-Packard and Belkin, just to name a few.

Its vice-president, Aidy Huang, said the company’s strength lies in its adaptability.

“The trend for companies right now is they attempt produce as many unique products as possible, but each in smaller volumes.

“This is our forte,“ said Huang, explaining that the company’s operations could help them achieve that.

T&F is but one of many thousand manufacturing companies that businesses worldwide can tap into.

For the past two years, IngDan has been involved in more than 10,000 projects that have helped linked entrepreneurs to manufacturers in China. However, only 20% of the projects involved foreign companies.

Now Kang would like to extend the company’s reach to South-East Asia and other parts of the world.

It has just recently opened what it touts as an “Experience Centre” in Hong Kong,where visitors can get a feel of innovative products in which IngDan has helped to mass-produce. In the second half of 2016, the company aims to open two other Experience Centres in Singapore and the Silicon Valley.

Leveraging on its parent company Cogobuy Group, a HK$2bil (RM1.04bil) public-listed company in Hong Kong, IngDan has effectively become the largest e-commerce platform for the procurement of electronic components in China.

At the rate that it’s growing, Kang envisions IngDan providing financial support for startups via crowdfunding soon.

His vision is certainly a bold one as he aims to become “the next Uber of the manufacturing industry”.

“IngDan is definitely the development platform for the next generation,” he said.

Those interested may connect with IngDan via its website

At present, businesses can link up with IngDan via its Chinese website

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