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November 17, 2020

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A company that’s not asleep at the wheel

Minhang-based King Koil (Shanghai) Mattress Co participated in the third China International Import Expo last week for the third time, displaying its line of quality bedding.

Founded in 2000, the local company is a licensee of multinational mattress brand King Koil, based in the US state of Illinois.

“Our customized mattresses are used in more than 200 high-end hotel brands,” said Wang Jue, executive director of the company.

In China, about 40 percent of the company’s products go to five-star hotels like chains IHG, Marriott, Hilton and Jinjiang.

The King Koil brand, which ranks among the top three in the domestic market, is also popular among residents.

“When we participated in the first import fair, we mainly aimed to build our brand image and awareness,” Wang said. “We had six sample products displayed — all designed for hotels. But in the end, even individual customers bought our mattresses.”

That experience caused the company to widen its focus to households.

This year, the company displayed 10 imported mattresses. Some were equipped with disinfecting technology. It also displayed Chinese-made products, after last year showing a product line tailored to Asian customers.

Wang said King Koil (Shanghai) suffered slack sales in the first half of the year due to novel coronavirus, but sales have been picking up.

“Sales in May started to bounce back at an average rate of 20 percent a month, and now we are running at 95 percent capacity,” Wang said.

He said the import expo helped play a role in getting the company back on its feet. This year, King Koil’s expo space increased to 180 square meters from 120 last year.

The company offered discounts at the event, which were also available in its online shop and at 200 offline outlets nationwide. The company has tapped major online retail platforms, including Tmall and

King Koil is forecasting annual sales of 200 million yuan (US$30 million).

“We update one generation of our products every two years,” said Wang, “and we try to launch new products each year.”

He said the new disinfecting mattress was developed in cooperation with a third-party institution and other suppliers.

Apart from its Shanghai base, the company has also opened a manufacturing site in Guangdong Province. Research and development centers at both sites have been working closely with counterparts in Malaysia, South Korea, the Czech Republic and Ireland, and they also share technology with King Koil in the US.

A new production system has been implemented to calculate and order needed materials to make the production cycle more efficient and raise product quality, Wang said.

“The most important thing about a mattress is to provide comfortable bedtime,” Wang said.

The company has been working with the International Chiropractors Association to improve sleep quality.

Wang said he thinks Chinese consumers are becoming more pragmatic in what they buy. They seek quality when comparing brands.

He said the import expo gives a window on the China market and consumer trends for foreign manufacturers and suppliers. It also encourages Chinese companies to upgrade production and product quality.

Wang recalled the company’s participation in the first import fair three years ago. He said he demonstrated the company’s manufacturing certificates and invited potential customers to visit the production site.

One manager from a German hotel told him, “The certificates are good enough, but the fact that you are exhibiting here explains a lot.”

The customer asked about specific details of King Koil mattresses, including the production process and market size. He said his hotel brand was planning to develop a chain of hotels in China. “Customer trust in us originates from their trust in the Chinese market,” Wang said.


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