Alumni Linkage — OU People

Alumni Communication & Support Alumni Linkage Past Issues November 2020 Issue Alumni Linkage — OU People

Alfred Ng was still a wage earner in 2007. He once forgot to bring his mobile phone charger on a business trip to Japan. He was very frustrated because at the time different brands paired their phones with chargers that could not be used interchangeably. 'Wouldn't it be great if there were a one-for-all universal charger?' Alfred thought. He collected information about this idea and realized that the major phone brands would soon be standardizing their charging connections to USB. He shooted for the business opportunity and worked very hard to invent the world's first USB wall outlet. The novel idea turned his life around.

A layman secures his place in the market

To put a completely new idea into action is no easy task, and it is even more difficult for a layman. An accountant with zero knowledge of electronic engineering, Alfred could only enlist the help of his good friends and burn the midnight oil to conduct 'guerrilla-style' research and development after work. 'I was doing the test at the company's dormitory and suddenly, it triggered a power outage in the building,' Alfred recalled with a grin.

After overcoming many hurdles, Alfred succeeded in developing the product. He soon launched his own company and applied for patents in various parts of the world, which was indeed a hard journey. After that he did a lot of sales work on his own but no one seemed to be interested. Things turned around when he began a partnership with an American distributor as an original design manufacturer (ODM). The collaboration not only created a market presence for his product, but also earned him recognition in the form of a prestigious industry accolade, the Stevie Award, and helped him make his fortune.

Carving out a niche with alternative approaches

Many of Alfred's competitors were century-old brands. He remembered that when he was studying BBA in Accounting at the OUHK, he had learned about the successful case of Japanese brand Honda defeating the well-established American brand Harley-Davidson with lightweight motorcycles. Alfred was much inspired by the story. He decided to formulate his own sales and marketing strategies and run his business with an alternative approach. He chose not to compete head-to-head but instead to look for other opportunities to tap into the market. His hard work paid off – by focusing on potential users like airport and hotels, he successfully generated new business and carved out a niche.