Valeri Milani Managing Director Asia

Valeria Milani

Managing Director Asia

Valeria Milani explained to HKTDC research how she sees the Greater Bay Area initiative as a significant opportunity not only to grow their already considerable footprint in the Pearl River Delta region, but also as a chance to enhance the ethical and environmentally friendly culture.

Chance to Grow

Valeria Milani is Visottica Comotec’s Managing Director Asia. She explained how the company sees the Greater Bay Area (GBA) initiative as a significant opportunity not only to grow their already considerable footprint in the Pearl River Delta region, but also as a chance to enhance the ethical and environmentally‑friendly culture the company has built into its operations over a number of years.

 

Visottica Comotec is aiming to consolidate its position as a major player at the top of the eyewear sector by combining two work cultures: that of the parent company in Susegana, in north‑east Italy, and that of its Dongguan plant in southern China. The layout of the new factory – which opened in 2017 – is designed to optimise production flows and facilitate future growth.

High-to-Medium Market Position

Milani says that over the years her company has been in business, the needs and requirements of buyers have become increasingly sophisticated. No longer content with a cheap and cheerful pair of spectacles, producers and customers demand that they not only look good, but also that they meet the highest possible standards of engineering and build quality. At the same time, they also expect full compliance with the various regulatory requirements of the optical field, while also looking to brands and other industry players to fulfil specific commitments relating to health and the environment.

 

“Spectacle hinges – which we specialise in – are one of the most vital components in any optical product and as the global eyewear market has matured over the years, so have the technical and aesthetic demands of our customers who now pay much more attention to the details of how products are made and how vital component parts are going to perform,” said Milani.

 

To meet the demands of this increasingly sophisticated market, Visottica Comotec has carefully positioned itself at the high‑to‑medium end of the market, leveraging the experience and expertise it has built up over several decades.

 

“The global optical market is huge and diverse. Of course, a major part of that market is China which buys millions of frames at the lower end of the market. However, we have positioned ourselves in the medium to high‑end range of products which means our customers tend to be the big global players from Europe and the US who are selling to discerning customers worldwide who demand quality,” she added.

Hard to Replicate

Milani saw the continuous exchange of competence and knowhow between the Italian and Chinese locations makes Visottica Comotec manufacturing culture hard to replicate. She said: “We manufacture the component parts for eyewear frames, not the frames themselves. That means the inner workings of the legs, the hinges, and the nose pads.

 

“We are a business to business company, not a business to customer company; our customers are the factories which make the frames.”

 

The company believes its position as one of the most successful in the business lies in its ability to provide highly customised products supplied in small batches, as well as products from the standard catalogue with levels of standardisation which give forecast accuracy in relation to stock and in turn, shortens lead times, while guaranteeing a quick service and efficiency.

Environmentally Friendly

On top of Hong Kong’s position as an enabler for sales and marketing, thanks to its longstanding and deep connections to the international marketplace, Milani also believes that the culture of environmentally‑friendly production capabilities will give Visottica Comotec an even greater edge as the GBA project unfolds and develops. She said: “It is our belief that our culture as company fits in with the greater appreciation and awareness of the need for properly regulated production procedures in the southern part of China. This is more apparent than in other parts of the country.”

 

“Building those regulatory practices into our company in recent years may have had its costs, but we believe that as the GBA initiative rolls out and develops, it will stand us in good stead. We are finding more and more that our customers are demanding products which fall in line with a growing level of global concern about the environment.”

Energy Saving

In pursuit of this green mission, Visottica Comotec recently developed a new eco‑friendly material for use in the production of component parts which meets international regulatory standards – and saves on production costs.

 

Milani said: “Medical Eco-friendly Material (MEM) is a new and exclusive compound belonging to a family of thermoplastic elastomers. It does not contain dangerous or polluting elements and is developed in response to the request for an ecological material that complies with the international regulations aimed to protect health and the environment. ”

 

“Its processing reduces the quantity of plastic consumed and, consequently, a considerable energy saving during the whole manufacturing process.”

Dynamic and Young

Milani also believes that the innovative spirit and the appetite to embrace ground‑breaking, high‑tech and dynamic new products and production processes, is much more alive in the cities and special administrative regions which make up the GBA.

 

This means that it offers the chance to boost business in an organic way because buyers of their component parts in southern China are much more likely to suggest new ideas to the end customers in the big European eyewear companies.

 

“In the GBA, there are many young and dynamic businesspeople who are much more willing than their northern counterparts to take on new ideas and make suggestions to their customers about adopting them. This can only be for the growth of the company in the long run,” she said.

Posted on June 9, 2020