Chinese triumph has company all Fired Up.
A COMPANY making major inroads into China has won an award for its endeavours.
Domestic heating products manufacturer Fired Up Corporation Ltd was presented with the China Business Award for Yorkshire and Humber.
The presentation was made at the Yorkshire and Humber Chinese New Year Dinner held in Sheffield.
Fired Up, based at St Thomas' Road, Longroyd Bridge, impressed the judges with a business strategy for making and supplying items such as rice cookers, electric fires - and the famous Corby trouser press - into the Chinese market.
The company has a factory in China, run by general manager Chris Chan, but also exports electrical products made in Huddersfield to the People's Republic.
Speaking about the win, chief executive Richard Kaye paid tribute to Mr Chan, adding: "I think it is important to have success recognised, acknowledged and rewarded and this award is an acknowledgement of the success we have achieved.
"Operating a business 5,000 miles away has been challenging, but also rewarding and it has helped me grow as a business leader, benefiting the business as a whole."
Fired Up runs a 300,000sq ft factory in China encompassing all manufacturing processes.
S a l e s i n t o China are expected to account for almost 25% of turnover generated by the Chinese operation during 2011.
Turnover in China has grown from about pounds 900,000 in 2006 to a budgeted turnover of about pounds 6m in 2011. Total turnover for Fired Up is forecast to exceed pounds 13m this year.
Fired Up began its venture into China six years ago after recognising that low-cost Chinese manufacturers were threatening to eat into its UK retailer customer base.
Mr Kaye teamed up with Huddersfield University student and Hong Kong national Chris Chan in 2004. They leased a factory in China, created new tooling and recruited staff. The factory began production in 2006 to help supply Fired Up's UK customers.
Fired Up commissioned its current factory in June 2008 to include wood machine shop and processing, metal stamping, powder coating and finishing, final assembly and testing as well as warehousing for raw materials and finished stock.
The pounds 1m investment includes a showroom and research and development department - while employees enjoy facilities including a basketball court, internet cafe, and sports room.
Fired Up's expansion into the Chinese domestic market was further strengthened last November with the launch of small domestic cooking appliances under the endeva brand - including hobs, kettles and rice cookers.
These products are now on sale in Ren Ren Le, a mainland China chain of 85 supermarkets as well as in more than 40 domestic China B&Q stores.
Following its 2009 takeover Corby of Windsor, maker of the famous Corby trouser press, Fired Up switched a s s e m bly work t o t h e Huddersfield site - creating 15 j o b s - wh i l e s o u rc i n g components in China.
Fired Up has now increased the Corby range to more than 200 items for the growing Chinese hospitality industry and has exhibited Corby p ro d u c t s at s h ow s i n Guangzhou and Macao.
As well as making products in China, it also exports trouser presses which are manufactured in Huddersfield. In addition, Fired Up is working with Huddersfield University to develop a programme for students of music, languages or business to work in its China operations.
From small beginnings in Meltham the company has g r own t o e n c o m p a s s wholly-owned operations in the UK and China employing more than 280 people.
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CHINA VENTURE: Workers at Fired Up's factory in Zhongshan City in Guangdong Province * CHINESE CRACKERS: Richard Sharpe, centre, and Chris Chan, left, of Fired Up, receive the award from Josh Wong, of event sponsor DLA Piper