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Kent Wong: Embracing changes, facing the future

15 May 2019

By Christie Dang   

Macroeconomic uncertainties may have dampened the spirits of jewellery industry players but Kent Wong, managing director of Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group, is taking a different stance. In a talk with JNA, Wong said he remains optimistic about prospects in the business and cited embracing market changes as the key to tackling challenges.

Kent Wong, managing director of Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group

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What is the impact of recent political and economic uncertainties on your company, and how are you facing these challenges?

Current market difficulties could be adversely affecting the overall market sentiment and consumer spending but these are just short term. In reality, market changes are inevitable. To stay ahead of the competition, one must adjust to changes in market trends and consumer behaviour. In an open economy, competition is expected regardless of the macro situation. Staying abreast of leading market trends is crucial.

In a modern business scenario, we have to understand our customers first so we can provide them with products and services that truly meet their needs. The traditional business model where the pipeline begins from sourcing, manufacturing and marketing from the operators’ side is no longer effective in a market-driven environment.

What shapes Chow Tai Fook's current market strategies?

The four major concerns right now spring from A to D: Artificial intelligence, blockchain, cloud and big data. The reliance on handheld devices among consumers makes it impossible to ignore the use of mobile applications and social media when making business plans. Owing to the rapid development of information technology, digitalisation throughout the business pipeline has become unavoidable. Jewellery companies can now produce products and services based on quantitative market research over targeted market samples. Business and marketing plans can be more focused and agile.

How did you implement reforms in an already established corporation?

Six years ago, we set up a reform committee and in 2018 launched the “Smart+2020 project.” Our aim was to introduce necessary changes to the group in view of upcoming market opportunities. In a corporation, successful reforms have to start from the top. We are very grateful that at Chow Tai Fook, our management has a great vision and supports a young and energetic team. Effective application of new technologies enables us to implement changes based on reliable system and standards, allowing more innovative and creative ideas to be actualised by our young management team, which is also the future of our business.

Over the years, a series of changes and upgrades are introduced to both established and new projects. We also expanded collaborations with numerous parties and service suppliers. By applying digital technology effectively, we are able to save costs on the backend and better allocate our resources to new product developments that match our multi-brand strategies.

What is your top priority now?

As we enter the second year of the “Smart+2020” project, we will continue to focus on formulating ideas for further improvements. Amid current market challenges, we have to be strong in risk management and maintain a reasonable stock level.