In the highly competitive LED sector, it takes more than just quality products for manufacturers to thrive. OKT Lighting Int’l Group Ltd has managed to stay ahead of the game by choosing to focus entirely on one big market and in just a few years it has already gained a firm footing in the market. Now it’s ready to go further. By Lydia Li from Hong Kong Trade Development Council .
Founded in 2008, specialises in research, manufacturing and sales of commercial LED lighting fixtures, with a monthly production of 50,000 products and monthly production value at US$1.51m . Its main products include panel lights, troffers, downlights, linear pendant fixtures ,linear High bay and emergency back-up drivers, all of which have achieved certifications such as UL, ETL, Energy Star, DLC, TITLE 24, TÜV, CSA, SASO and FCC, and come with a minimum five-year warranty. Some have also been granted design patents on the Chinese mainland.
Strong in R&D and quality control
“OKT has always been focused on research and development. Every quarter we have new models coming out of the pipeline and we produce LED products that are more energy-efficient, cost-effective and aesthetically pleasing than those already on the market. Installations of our products are much easier as well, helping customers to further save on labour costs,” says OKT chief executive officer Allan Zhang.
He continues, “To illustrate our R&D capabilities, we were the first Chinese LED manufacturer to successfully create an LED panel light with luminous efficacy of 130 lumens per watt.” Its extremely low product defect rate — less than one per cent — is another testament to OKT’s strong R&D, as well as a result of its stringent quality control. In fact, all products have to undergo a series of tests before leaving the factory, including a hi-pot test, light distribution test, light depreciation test, drop test, vibration test and integrating sphere test.
Currently, almost all OKT products are exported to North America, with the majority destined for the US. “When we first started, Europe and Asia were our main markets. But after seeing that just a few Chinese LED manufacturers had entered the North American market, we made the decision in 2012 to shift our direction, dedicating our resources to serving this market alone,” says Zhang.
For many LED manufacturers, this wouldn’t be an easy shift. According to Zhang, the North American LED lighting market, compared to that in Europe, has more detailed and stricter standards, and requires more certifications on lighting products sold there. “As such, if you want to sell LED lights in North America you need to be really strong in R&D and manufacturing, and be willing to invest in both hardware and software,” says Zhang. “With our already excellent production capabilities, we can produce LED lighting fixtures that conform to North American requirements.” He adds that the requirements have, in fact, given OKT clear guidelines on R&D and design, “so instead of making things more difficult for us, they have actually made things easier.”
In just four years, OKT has already secured a substantial share of the US and Canadian lighting markets. In addition to office buildings, hotels, schools, hospitals, restaurants and supermarkets, large-scale premises including New York subway stations, the Los Angeles International Airport and the San Diego Convention Center have also installed OKT’s downlights, panel lights and emergency back-up drivers. “Since we’ve been focusing on the North American market all along, we understand its needs and requirements far better than other manufacturers,” Zhang says.
With higher energy efficiency and a lon
ger lifespan than traditional incandescents and CFLs, LED lighting is unsurprisingly in high demand. “Five years ago customers were still not very familiar with LED lighting, now they ask for it. The LED adoption rate keeps increasing year by year, and that means there is huge market potential for us,” he says. “So product-wise, we will continue to develop highly functional LED retrofits and high-end, distinctive architectural lighting to satisfy market needs.”
Now, having achieved market success in the US and Canada, OKT is ready to return to Europe. “We already have clients from countries such as Germany and the Netherlands that have been using our high-end architectural lighting.
Geographically, it may not matter whether the clients are from North America, Europe or other regions, what matters, as Zhang points out, is that both sides share the same values: persevering in the pursuit of high-quality, distinctively designed and aesthetically pleasing LED lighting fixtures.