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2017 SEPTEMBER I ISSUE 17

Cevisama 2017 Perfect Future

Kayak Relay & Futsal Tournament

Customer Engagement Events

Latest Collections

Grand Lá . Clay Art . Grain . Sonosand

The Grand Là Launch April 2017

Worldbex 2017

World Trade Center Metro Manila

Professional Training at NCBM China

Let us conquer the whole market together! MOMENTS

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Content 25 Worldbex 2017 27 HOMEDEC KLCC 2017 29 Architect Expo Thailand 2017 01 The Grand Là Launch 03 Latest Collection by Niro Granite

13 Zirconio New Products 15 Portino and Niro Granite Corner 31 Niro Ceramic Group at Buimaco Sdn. Bhd., Subang Jaya

16 Fruitful Mobile

Showroom Truck, Myanmar

17 Niro Ceramic EduTour

Customer Engagement Events

35 Jom Berbuka Puasa

Bersama Niro Ceramic

37 Starbucks Coffee –

International Appearance with Niro Granite

39 Starling Mall,

Uptown Damansara – The Mall in the Park

41 Highway Pitstop –

Shell Station, Nilai & Breakpoint at Esso Station, Belgium

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43 Carter GM Car Showroom, Canada


45 Singapore’s World Famous

57 Project Team of

46 A Stunning Fine-Looking

58 Top Product Property

Airport - Changi Airport Recondition

Niro Ceramic Vietnam Award 2017

47 A Modern Boutique Hotel at the Coolest Corner of the City Bali

49 ORIN Domestic

Customised Programme – Sales and Product Training

51 Breaking the Vicious Cycle – Selling on Higher Value Products

59 Memorable Escapade with Niro Ceramic Indonesia

61 Interview with

Mr. Song Duan Ju – Casting a Good Brand with Faith

63 Longest Service Super Dealer Tanbar & Madaya, Malaysia

53 Let Us Conquer the Whole Market Together!

55 29

China International Ceramics & Bathroom Fair, Foshan – A New Era has arrived th

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NIRO ALPHA

- THE BEGINNING OF MOMENTS

Special stories, news and milestones from Niro Ceramic Group.

NIRO HEART

- IT IS ALL ABOUT PRODUCTS

Sharing everything about our products, which are at the heart of the company.

NIRO PLUS

- IT IS ALL ABOUT OUR SERVICES

All about the sales and marketing services that we provide to architects, dealers and other partners, ensuring hand-in-hand growth.

NIRO STAR

- IT IS ALL ABOUT EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES

Highlights of events and activities that celebrate the bond between Niro Ceramic and its partners.

NIRO CELCIUS

- IT IS ALL ABOUT BEING INSPIRED

The latest Niro news that’s nothing short of inspiring.

H2ORIN

- IT IS ALL ABOUT ORIN

A section dedicated to Orin, our sanitary-ware brand, from reports of new products to penetrating different markets.

NIRO INFINITE

- IT IS ALL ABOUT NIRO GROUP

This section is all about our group of companies. We bring you special highlights, features and activities within the group.

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NIRO OMEGA

- IT IS ALL ABOUT SHARING

Omega marks the end of Moments where we share special write-ups that will leave a lasting impression.

Editor-In-Chief Audrey Michelle Johnson Editor Helena Suit Writers Winnie Leong Yenny Kong Ingrid Lasmaria Alice Low Tan Seow Wuay Joann Loo Jocelyn Yong Nguyen Quy Dang Eva Sancho Art Director Lee Chai Ling Graphic Designer Farid Yunus Photographer Farid Yunus Jack Khoo Contributing Editor Dean Evans Publisher Niro Ceramic Sales & Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. Lot 2, Persiaran Sultan, Section 15, 40200 Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia Tel: (6 03) 5033 9333 Fax: (6 03) 5033 9323 Printer Percetakan Lai Sdn. Bhd. No 1, Persiaran 2/118C, Kawasan Perindustrian Desa Tun Razak, Cheras, 56000 Kuala Lumpur. Tel: (6 03) 9173 1111 Fax: (6 03) 9173 1969

For suggestions and comments or futher enquiries about MOMENTS, please contact moments@nirogroup.com All rights reserved. Copyright 2017 by Niro Ceramic Group.


Words of Editor We are delighted to unfold Moments 17 and in our 6th year of publication. It has been a whirlwind first half of 2017, however Niro Ceramic Group has organised unforgettable marketing events for and together with our customers. In Malaysia and China our dealers were treated with a training program by wellknown motivational trainer Dr Lawrence Walter Ng. In both countries, the dealers were trained to change their thinking, mindset and focus in selling values to their customers. It was a motivational training and many of the dealers have realised the benefits of such a training. We hope this motivation will continue to encourage better selling skills and mindset change. The building professionals were not forgotten, as we organised two special sporting events with them here in Malaysia, namely the Futsal and the Kayak Challenge. They were both and strenuous and enjoyable events, whereby sportsmanship and skills were challenged. Over in Niro Ceramic Indonesia, we are pleased to announce that Niro Granite won the Top Product Property Award 2017, by Property-In Magazine, Indonesia. These are the great efforts that our Indonesian marketing team have endeavoured to achieve in the Indonesian market. Niro Ceramic Vietnam is spreading its wings with a new project team, that is dedicated to promoting and building the Niro Granite and Zirconio brands with building professionals. Read about their efforts in the Vietnam market. Moments will take you on a tour of the many exhibitions we participated during the first half of the year, from Valencia, Spain, Manila, Philippines, Bangkok, Thailand, Foshan, China and back to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In all these exhibitions, new products were launched by Zirconio and Niro Granite and we received positive and encouraging feedback. Check out the new SonoSand, ClayArt and Grain from Niro Granite, and the new Venato and S. Thomas collections from Zirconio. We also talk to our longest service SuperDealers in Malaysia, Tanbar in Sabah and Madaya in Sarawak. Both customers have been our dealers for almost 29 years since Niro Ceramic Malaysia started its factory in Pasir Gudang, Johor. For Tanbar, they started to sell and import Niro Granite directly from Niro Granite’s first factory in Switzerland even before the establishment of Niro Granite’s factory in Pasir Gudang, Malaysia. We want to say thank you to Mr Tony Tan and Mr Albert Shia for your continuous support, we truly appreciate it.

Audrey Michelle Johnson, September 2017 Editor-In-Chief


THE

GRAND Là BY MICHELLE JOHNSON

Globally, and in Malaysia, the market has been experiencing slow growth and low consumer confidence. The main reasons for this are due to several key conditions. First, the industry has too much capacity. Second, exerting price pressure on the entire supply chain (in addition to today’s economic and political uncertainties) has dampened the market. Third, advanced digital technology makes copying products far easier and everyone is trying to sell products based on price rather than quality. Back home in Malaysia, the retail sales channel has not been spared, and our SuperDealers have been on the receiving end of price pressures. Hence, factories, distributors, dealers and sales people have cut their prices, while customers are also asking for better deals. This has become a vicious cycle. But we must not forget what is most important - adding value to customers’ needs and requirements.

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In April 2017, our SuperDealers from Malaysia and international customers from the Asia Pacific regions (namely Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam) were invited to a special product launch of the Grand Là collection. This product launch also featured a motivational training programme designed to break this vicious cycle. In the evening, everyone was treated to a sumptuous dinner and attendees were delighted with the fresh sashimi and sushi on offer. Fun and laughter filled the showroom, as all our SuperDealers and international customers embraced new sales and marketing ideas and concepts. The launch and introduction of the Grand Là collection will add value for our customers and create a different experience for them.


The Grand LÃ

MOMENTS

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Product Review

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Latest Collections by Niro Granite BY WINNIE LEONG

With a business model backed by strong research and development, Niro Ceramic is a trendsetter. We cannot afford to stand still, which is why we introduce new collections every year, products that adhere to the latest design trends and leave an everlasting impression on our customers. The latest collections by Niro Granite for 2017 have been developed around the theme – “Natural, Calm and Comforting”. With the hectic lifestyle that many people lead in today’s modern world, there is often a demand to seek some form of escape through different elements in interior design. Therefore, we have introduced three new collections this year that draws inspiration from different natural elements – Clay Art, Grain and Sonosand.

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Latest Collection by Niro Granite

Let your home tell a story of authenticity and timelessness, without being ostentatious. Riding the wave of the natural material trend, Clay Art simulates the humble, fine-grained texture of its namesake. It is the ideal choice if you want to restore a sense of balance and simplicity to your life. Clay Art is available in six colours, comprising shades of grey and earthy tones. The digitally-printed tiles offer a complete colour palette cleanse and a much-needed visual break as an antidote to today’s fast-paced lifestyle.

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GCA01 LILAC 60x120cm . 80x80cm 60x60cm . 30x60cm matt

GCA02 WHEAT 60x120cm . 80x80cm 60x60cm . 30x60cm matt

GCA03 KHAKI 60x120cm . 80x80cm 60x60cm . 30x60cm matt

GCA05 SLATE 60x120cm . 80x80cm 60x60cm . 30x60cm matt

GCA06 GRAPHITE 60x120cm . 80x80cm 60x60cm . 30x60cm matt

ILLUSTRATION All colours 60x60cm matt with glossy effect

GCA04 MOSS 60x120cm . 80x80cm 60x60cm . 30x60cm matt

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Latest Collection by Niro Granite

GRAIN t h e fi ner detai ls of stone

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Grain is a structured tile collection that is available in three different formats. It is inspired by the ever-flowing river. As torrents of water travel the swift passage towards the great ocean beyond, they carry with them small passengers – mostly an assortment of lightweight stones, which are later deposited randomly along the river bed. The Grain Series aims to harness the beauty of nature by mimicking this natural occurrence. The many rustic hues of the submerged stones and pebbles have been converted into three stunning tile shades – all of which appear organic and modern.

GGN01 BRITE WHITE 60x120cm . 60x60cm . 30x60cm structured

GGN02 HARBOUR GREY 60x120cm . 60x60cm . 30x60cm structured

GGN03 EBONY BLACK 60x120cm . 60x60cm . 30x60cm structured

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Latest Collection by Niro Granite

Sonosand is a new series of technical porcelain tiles that has gripped our imagination as much as it draws inspiration from beautiful sandy bays and beaches. Its swirling patterns simulate those formed on soft sand fringed by the sea – constantly shifting under pressure, stirred by the ebb and flow of tides. The sand often sports carefree strokes that are distinctive to these coastal landscapes.

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GSA01 SHELLY WHITE 60x120cm . 60x60cm . 30x60cm matt . structured

GSA02 POWDERY SHORE 60x120cm . 60x60cm . 30x60cm matt . structured

GSA03 SILVERY ROCK 60x120cm . 60x60cm . 30x60cm matt . structured

GSACA COMBO A 29.4x27.2cm matt . structured

GSA04 DEEP DUSK 60x120cm . 60x60cm . 30x60cm matt . structured

GSA05 CHARCOAL BAY 60x120cm . 60x60cm . 30x60cm matt . structured

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Latest Collection by Niro Granite

In addition to the new collections above, the Grand LĂ collection was also introduced in April this year. The collection features an exquisite variety of natural marble and stone designs that come in measurements of 100x100cm, 80x80cm and 60x120cm. These large format tiles were conceived with an open space in mind that exudes luxury appeal. They are perfect for open areas, giving an illusion of extra space with less grouting lines required when tiling. The Grand LĂ  collection marks are presented in 20 exquisite designs and in polished surfaces.

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GPS01 PEBBLE 100x100cm

GPS02 PAIGE 100x100cm . 80x80cm

GPS10 PANSY 100x100cm

GPS11 POPPY 100x100cm

GPS12 PEGGY 100x100cm . 60x120cm

GPS13 PHEOBE

GPS14 PENNY

GPS15 PAULA

100x100cm

GPS03 PAM 80x80cm

GPS04 PAYTON 80x80cm

GPS07 PEARL 80x80cm

GPS08 POLLY 80x80cm

GPS16 PAT 60x120cm

GPS17 PHILIS 60x120cm

100x100cm

GPS05 PIPER 80x80cm

100x100cm

GPS06 PETRA 80x80cm

GPS18 PERLA 60x120cm

GPS20 PIXY 60x120cm MOMENTS

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Zirconio New Products

Zirconio New Products BY WINNIE LEONG

Marble in 3D is one of the leading design trends for 2017 and, correctly used, its can evoke feelings of high-end living and refinement. It is why Zirconio has introduced two new designs that draw inspiration from these metamorphic limestones.

S. THOMAS The new S.Thomas series is inspired by marble found in the province of Tuscany, Italy. The collection features four different designs in both gloss and matt surfaces. The delicate geometrical patterns showcased in this collection adds an elegance and perspective to any wall.

WHITE BODY TILE:

PORCELAIN TILE:

ZSH01 S. THOMAS 30x90cm glossy

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ZSH01 CUBIC S. THOMAS 30x90cm glossy

ZSH01 GEO S. THOMAS 30x90cm glossy

ZSH01 S. THOMAS 30x90cm matt


VENATO The Venato series is inspired by the grey marble found in the Venato region, also in Italy. It is a white body wall tile that comes in four designs with either a gloss or matt finish. It is a series with a modern character yet classy and timeless, the ideal for choice for an elegant interior.

WHITE BODY TILE:

PORCELAIN TILE:

ZVN01 VENATO 30x90cm glossy

ZVN01 CUBIC VENATO 30x90cm glossy

ZVN01 GEO VENATO 30x90cm glossy

ZVN01 VENATO 60x60cm matt

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Portino and Niro Granite Corner at Buimaco Sdn. Bhd., Subang Jaya

PORTINO AND NIRO GRANITE CORNER BY JOCELYN YONG

At Buimaco Sdn. Bhd., Subang Jaya

Buimaco Sdn Bhd at USJ Subang Jaya offers a one-stop centre for ceramic and porcelain tiles, decorative mosaics, sanitary wares and tap fittings for the surrounding neighbourhood. It is strategically accessible via Persiaran Kewajipan and the LDP highway. Customers visiting the showroom can find the new Portino corner, which incorporates six L-shaped mock up units for easy viewing. The Portino collection suits any living space and its distinctive ambience stretches across three different products – stoneware, ceramic wall and ceramic floor tiles. In addition, the showroom also displays new panels from the Niro Granite Lite Collection, which helps customers in their tile selection with clear product information indicated on the panels.

For more information, please visit: BUIMACO, USJ Subang Jaya Outlet No 2, Jalan USJ 21/6, UEP Subang Jaya 47630, Selangor, Malaysia. Tel: 03 8025 9693 / 016 662 6102 / 016 662 6085 Fax: 03 8025 9681 Operation Hours: Mon - Sat: 9.00am - 6.00pm Sun: Closed Website: http://www.buimaco.com

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Fruitful Mobile Showroom Truck

FRUITFUL

Mobile Showroom Truck BY WINNIE LEONG

Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon, is the capital of Myanmar. With a population of about seven million, it is the largest city in the country and is the most important commercial center for various industries. The construction industry specifically has huge potential for growth in the country and our dealer, Fruitful Building Materials Co.Ltd (Fruitful), sees an opportunity for the construction market to be exposed to higher-grade products.

Fruitful had reached out to people from the building industry, such as architects and interior designers, and even home owners. However, the heavy traffic in the city doesn’t make it easy for those who wish to visit their showroom. Therefore, a mobile truck showroom was created to bring Niro Granite and Zirconio closer to these potential customers. The truck is designed to serve as a mobile showroom, carrying sample chips and loose pieces of tile, and is used to travel to different areas within the city and the outskirts. It is a compact yet functional space, with a simple design featuring shelves and racks that are built to easily store tiles. Mock-up pictures are also pasted onto the display racks to give a lifestyle feel. The truck draws attention with exterior posters, which display the words: “Modern European Tile Design” and “Showroom Inside”. We are happy to know that the mobile showroom has proven to be a successful and effective marketing tool for Fruitful. They closed their first order after touring around since May. We will continue to provide service excellence to our dealers in helping them to achieve more results. MOMENTS

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Niro Ceramic EduTour – Politeknik Sultan Azlan Shah & INTI College Subang Jaya

NIRO CERAMIC EDUTOUR BY WINNIE LEONG

Niro Ceramic EduTour is an ongoing initiative by Niro Ceramic Group (NCG) to engage and educate students, especially from Interior Design and Architecture faculties. It aims to provide them with key insider knowledge that will better equip them to join the industry. Recently, NCG staged the EduTour for students from two different universities – Politeknik Sultan Azlan Shah and INTI College Subang Jaya. It took place at the NCG headquarters in Shah Alam.

Students from the Diploma in Quantity Surveyor and Diploma in Civil Engineering were greeted by NCG’s Marketing team upon arrival. The students were given an introduction to NCG and its key brands – Niro Granite, Zirconio and Petra Antiqua. The session continued with an overview on cost estimation in various interior areas by the sales team and also understanding the specifications in a Bill of Quantities. Students were also instructed on the technical aspects of the different types of tiles and their production processes. This was conducted by En. Sazmi, Technical Manager of NCG. Later in the session, the students learned about cost estimation on tile adhesive from Ms. Elyse Teoh from SIKA Malaysia. Students were thrilled to be able to understand the process and experience first-hand tile installation methods using adhesives in a live demonstration by SIKA’s technical team. The tour ended with a showroom tour where students could view the different mockups.

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Niro EduTour – Politeknik Sultan Azlan Shah & INTI College Subang Jaya

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This was a rewarding and informative session for students who are pursuing a Diploma in Interior Design. They were given an overview of the design trends for 2017, which covered in vogue colours, shades and textures, all of which are translated into NCG’s tile collection designs. Students were also briefed on the common issues affecting tile installation by En. Sazmi, Technical Manager of NCG. Furthermore, the technical team from Webber Malaysia were also invited to share their knowledge on the types of adhesives and the importance of using the right one during tile installation. The students also had the opportunity to visit the Designer’s Room, where NCG’s designer Zac shared his experience of being a designer and told them what to look out for in the interior design field. The EduTour session concluded before lunch time when the students were taken for a showroom tour. Overall, both events were successful and we look forward to organising more EduTours for other young and future designers.

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2017 Cevisama 2017 was held from 20 to 24 February at the Feria Valencia, Spain, with the tagline – “Perfect Future”. This annual exhibition attracted about 84,000 visitors from over 148 countries. It is a chance for exhibitors to showcase the latest innovations in ceramics, bathroom and natural stones. Each year, Niro Ceramic Group participates in the Cevisama exhibition and this year, the group unveiled its Niro Granite and Zirconio collections for 2017.

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BY TAN SEOW WUAY

Clay Art and Sonosand are the latest collections from Niro Granite. These new collections were showcased via fully-tiled display panels that worked perfectly with the classy industrial ambience of the booth. At the same time, Zirconio presented their own different designs, ranging from renovated marble classics to dazzling mosaics, all with the theme of “Industrial Elegance”. Among the collections showcased were Snow, Lona and Venato, which not only aligned with the latest design trends, but also provided customers with more styling options.


Cevisama 2017

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Cevisama 2017

This five-day exhibition was a successful one for Niro Ceramic Group. Brand awareness was boosted via a significant number of customers visiting the booth, while the members of the sales team were able to achieve their sales target, generating many potential leads and interest from Spanish, Middle East and European markets.

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Worldbex 2017

WORLDBEX 2017

BY WINNIE LEONG

The 22nd Philippine World Building and Construction Exposition (WORLDBEX 2017) was held from 15 to 19 March 2017 at the World Trade Center Metro Manila, Philippines. Dubbed as the biggest building and construction expo in the Philippines for 20 years, the exhibition gathered together a host of top companies, including Niro Ceramic Group, to showcase new tile collections.

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It was the second time Niro Ceramic Group had participated in WORLDBEX. Having established a representative office in the country just last year, the exhibition was an excellent platform for the group to increase its brand presence in the tile industry. With an area of 18m², our booth was strategically located in the main hall and utilized an open concept setting. The products we showcased were Niro Granite’s I’Pietra, Elmina, Remix, Softwood and Stockholm series. Each of these series were individually displayed on fully-tiled wall and display panels. Decorations and accessories were also added on top of these panels to create a more lifestyle concept. The main façade, meanwhile, was tiled with I’Pietra GIP07, which complemented the overall design of the booth.

The booth itself attracted the attention of many visitors and Niro Ceramic Philippine General Manager, Mr. How Han Hui was also interviewed by Philippines Realty TV, the longest running real-estate TV show in the country. Overall, visitors were impressed with our collections, specifically by the variety of designs, sizes and surfaces. We concluded that our participation in WORLDBEX 2017 was successful and we hope that it continues to build brand awareness for Niro Granite in the Philippine market.

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HOMEDEC KLCC 2017

KLCC 2017 BY YENNY KONG

The homegrown, multiple award-winning HOMEDEC exhibition returned again, more exciting than ever, with more real deals than ever! The exhibition took place at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre from 28 April to 1 May 2017 (Friday to Monday), targeted at house owners, trade distributors and building professionals. Niro Ceramic Group (NCG) attended HOMEDEC alongside one of our SuperDealers, Ga Hing Trading Sdn. Bhd. During the exhibition, NCG proudly showcased a few of its popular series of Niro Granite tiles, featuring Travertine Marble, Elmina, I’Pietra, Stockholm, Softwood and Ecoforesta. The 36m2 booth was based on a design concept of ‘simple and elegant’. This concept was realised through eight custom-made panel walls, plus a mix-and-match corner to demonstrate different design elements. In addition, the feature wall was tiled with Niro Granite’s I’Pietra GIP07 60x120cm Matt Surface tiles, while the floor featured Niro Granite’s Nikto GNT03 60x60cm and 60x120cm tiles, in both Matt and Lappato surfaces, to create a unique combination of stone-like patterns. Teamwork played a pivotal role in the success of the exhibition for Niro Ceramic Group. This four-day show also bore fruitful results for our SuperDealer, Ga Hing Trading Sdn. Bhd. Brand awareness was boosted via a significant number of customer visits to the booth, while the sales team was able to achieve their sales target.

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Architect Expo Thailand 2017

BY WINNIE LEONG

The 31st ASEAN Largest Building and Construction Technology Exposition proved to be a great platform for our exclusive distributor, Western Décor Corporation Ltd (WDC), to showcase new products and the latest designs. The exhibition was held from 2 May to 7 May 2017 at the strategic IMPACT Exhibition Centre in Bangkok, Thailand. With an area measuring 102m², WDC’s booth featured an Italian-themed concept with full-tiled panels showcasing the latest marble, stone and wood-like tile collections. The booth was divided into 3 sections – a ‘Made in Italy’ corner, which featured the Inner and Stonework tile series, a ‘Niro Granite Corner’ and ‘Maximus’.

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The façade at the front counter was fully tiled with I’Pietra GIP07 in 60x120cm and it complemented the whole classy look and feel of the booth. At Niro Granite Corner, customers were able to view the I’Pietra GIP07, Remix, Softwood, Rockwood, Elmina and Zeolite series, tiled on individual display panels, each one labelled with clear product information. One of the highlights during the exhibition was an Italian Venetian dance performance that attracted many visitors. The booth was also visited by Mr Aschapon Dusananont, President of Siamese Architects Association. Mr. Bundit Hiranyanitwattana, Managing Director of WDC said that the company strives to provide wall and floor tiles with chic, cool and unique designs, which use materials that resemble natural elements. He also shared that their strategy lies in their import experience and over a period of 14 years, they have observed that medium to high-end customers are looking for varieties in tile products. It is no surprise then, that WDC now carries an array of building and décor material brands from Europe and Asia. Overall, this exhibition has shown us that marble and granite, in formats of 30x60cm, 60x90cm and 60x120cm, are gaining popularity in Thailand, while shades of grey, black and white are the preferred colours. We are happy to know that I’Pietra GIP07 received a good response from visitors to the show, especially from architects and interior designers, because of its marble-like design and luxurious dark tones.

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Niro Ceramic Group Customer Engagement Events

NIRO CERAMIC GROUP

BY YENNY KONG

CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT EVENTS Customers are the most important people for any organisation. They are the resources upon which the success of the business depends. Niro Ceramic Group took the opportunity to thank our customers for their continuous support by organising two activities in the month of May 2017 that is the Kayak Rally Challenge and Futsal Tournament.

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The participants arrived on time, where they were welcomed by our staff and served with an energy-boosting breakfast for both events. After that, they were given briefings on safety and game formats. The games officially kicked off after some warm-up sessions. There were a total of seven teams for the Kayak Relay Challenge and ten teams for the Futsal Tournament. Both events were well received by the participants. Niro Ceramic Group would like to thank all of the customers who attended for their participation and congratulate the organising committee who made both events a success.

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Jom Berbuka Puasa Bersama Niro Ceramic! – ID & Contractor Engagement Event @ NTB PJ

ID & Contractor Engagement Event @ NTB PJ BY JO ANN LOO

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Niro Ceramic Group hosted a Buka Puasa Dinner at Niro Tile and Bath Petaling Jaya (NTB PJ) Showroom, on 6 June 2017. It was organised in conjunction with a ‘mini launch’ of Niro Granite’s latest tile collection – Grand Là – and the introduction of Petra Antiqua to interior designers and building industry professionals. This event gathered together about 80 interior designers, architects and contractors from 40 companies under one roof. The evening started off with a welcome speech given by Mr. Tay Ching Teck, General Manager – Retail. It continued with a presentation on 2017 Design Trends by Ms. Winnie Leong from Marketing and later, saw the introduction of the newly-launched Grand Là collection by Mr. Dharu, Retail Manager of the NTB PJ Showroom. Petra Antiqua – a brand of luxury, handmade decorative stones with unique patterns and 3D effects from Italy – was also

introduced to the invited guests by our Marketing representative, Ms. Winnie Leong. The evening continued with a dinner reception, where guests were invited to sit and break-fast together with our Muslim guests. Prayers were recited to indicate the end of fasting for the day and also to signify the start of the dinner. After the meal, the guests took time to tour the showroom, admiring the tiles on the displays and mock ups. The event was a great opportunity for us to share and exchange ideas, and to network with professionals, interior designers and architects, building better relationships with them. Chatter, food, laughter and Raya songs complemented this great evening. To top it all off, we received a positive response on the newlylaunched Grand Là collections and we look forward to seeing them used in future projects.

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Starbucks Coffee – International Appearance with Niro Granite

Starbucks Coffee International Appearance with Niro Granite BY YENNY KONG

The story of Starbucks began in 1971. Back then Starbucks was a roaster and retailer of whole bean and ground coffee, tea and spices with a single store in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Today, Starbucks is privileged to connect with millions of customers every day, selling a range of exceptional products across more than 24,000 retail stores in 70 countries. Convenience is key for the chain and Starbucks stores have become a neighborhood gathering place for meeting friends and family. Niro Granite is proud to have been chosen as the preferred tile brand for these Starbucks stores internationally. The usage of tiles in Starbucks stores exudes a warmth, comfortable feel with a true sense of elegance. It allows customers to enjoy the high quality of service, inviting atmosphere and an exceptional beverage. When you are looking a space for a great cup of coffee or tea, make sure you check out these great stores nearby.

Location: Starbucks Creative Industrial Park, Foshan, Guang Dong, China Floor: Concrete GCT01 White Concrete (cut tile) and GCT02 Black Concrete 60x60cm 37 MOMENTS


Location: Starbucks Kota Laksamana, Melaka, Malaysia Floor: Stockholm GSK04 Midnight Grey 30x60cm

Location: Starbucks Aman Central Mall, Alor Star, Kedah, Malaysia Floor: Stockholm GSK04 Midnight Grey 60x120cm

Location: Starbucks Creative Industrial Park, Foshan, Guang Dong, China Floor: Concrete GCT01 White Concrete (cut tile) and GCT02 Black Concrete 60x60cm

Location: Starbucks Pa Li Chun Tian Street, Cheng Shan Road, Pu Dong District, Shang Hai, China Floor: Stockholm GSK04 Midnight Grey 60x120cm (Cut tile)

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Starling Mall @ Uptown Damansara – The Mall in the Park

@ Uptown Damansara

At the centre of Damansara Uptown’s commercial district, The Starling is a five-storey mall built with an organic form and a fluid façade. It has a net lettable area of 451,000 ft² and boasts a 50,000 ft² landscaped rooftop park.

BY WINNIE LEONG

The project, by See Hoy Chan group, is named after the starling bird and aims to provide a comfortable naturalistic environment where visitors will be able to relax and get in touch with nature inside an urban retail development, creating a unique space in harmony with nature. To this end, the mall features a spacious walkway on every floor with ample doses of natural light. Vertical green walls have also been placed within the mall for better air quality, alongside nature-complementing signage as well as nature-inspired decorations. Niro Granite is proud to have been chosen to be part of this ecolifestyle mall. Upon entering the building, visitors are able to see a unique combination of floor tiles that consists of Niro Granite’s Touch Stone, Megalito, Elmina and Zeolite, all of which appear in a striking Rhombus design. This geometrical-inspired layout instantly lifts the overall ambience of the mall and you cannot help but look.

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Visitors can also take a walk in the Chirp Park located on the ground floor of the mall. The park spreads across 27,500 ft² of green lawn with swaying trees, and is accessible via the alfresco cafes and restaurants located along the park. The walkway is tiled with structured surface of Megalito, Elmina and Touch Stone for a sturdy finish, also presented in a Rhombus design. In addition, the male and female toilets on each floor are tiled with Horizon Stone and Regal, which again incorporate a Rhombus design to maintain consistency. The Starling opened its doors in November last year and, with an occupancy of almost 90 percent, it conveniently serves the needs of residents, workers and visitors to Uptown and the surrounding neighborhood. We are proud that Niro Granite tiles are able to convey the essence of “The Mall in the park” and to be a part of a project that is hoping to achieve a Gold Standard in Malaysia’s Green Building Index (GBI).

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Highway Pitstop – Shell Station, Nilai & Breakpoint at Esso Station, Belgium

Highway Pitstop Shell Station, Nilai & Breakpoint at Esso Station, Belgium BY HELENA SUIT

Niro Granite is proud to have been selected to provide tiles for two international petrol station brands – one installation at the Shell Rest & Relaxation Station at Nilai, Malaysia, with another one at Esso Gas Station at Uccle, Belgium.

Shell R&R Station, Nilai

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The Shell Rest & Relaxation Station at Nilai is located along the busy North South Expressway in Malaysia, ideally placed for frequent travelers from Southern or Northern Malaysia to refill their vehicles or to have a short break in their journey. At the restroom entrance, there is a welcome sign that states “My Station My Home, My Customer My Special Guest”. Upon entering the restroom, Niro Granite’s Cementum and Concrete collections create a simple yet minimalist ambience for visitors. From the outside wall, the restroom is tiled with GCM01 Cementum White Matt 30x60cm and GCT02 Concrete Black Concrete Matt 30x60cm, complementing the outside floor, which features GCM03 Cementum Brown Matt 60x60cm. Inside the toilets, meanwhile, GCT02 Concrete Black Concrete Matt 60x60cm was selected for the floor, complementing the GCM01 Cementum White Matt 30x60cm on the walls.

While the term “petrol station” was commonly used in Malaysia, in Belgium where the fuel is known as “gasoline” or “gas”, the term “gas station” is more common. Niro Granite has supplied the I’Pietra collection via our Westvlaams distributor in Belgium to the new Esso Gas Station in Uccle. I’Pietra Beola Grey 80x80cm with its natural stone design gracefully decorates the floor of the convenience shop, BreakPoint at the gas station. The customer is so satisfied with the effect that they are planning to replace the tiles in more stations over the next three years.

Break point at Esso Gas Station, Uccle

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Carter GM Car Showroom, Canada

CA RTE R G M Car Showroom, Canada BY WINNIE LEONG

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Carter GM Car Showroom serves the Burnaby city and the surrounding cities, such as Surrey, Vancouver, Richmond, plus inland areas such as Port Coquitlam and Port Moody. The company is the authorised dealer for car brands such as Cadillac, Buick, Chevrolet and GMC. With a focus on providing sales consultation through an understanding of the customer’s driving style, their needs and their maintenance habits, as well as providing state-of-the-art after sales service, the company has chosen Niro Granite to decorate its showroom in Canada. The main floors in the showroom are tiled with Niro Granite’s Regal GMR97 and GMR98 30x60cm tiles, their polished surfaces giving the room a classy and elegant feel. The patterns of the tiles, arranged from light to dark tones, not only enhance the spaciousness of the area, but also draw attention to the car display selections available. The polished finish of the tiles is also easy to maintain. On the other side of the showroom, where macho GMC cars are prominently displayed, the floors are tiled with Regal GMR81 60x60cm (matt surface) for a clean-cut effect. Carter GM is dedicated to make car ownership easier by offering a range of new and quality used cars. We are happy to know that Niro Granite tiles are a lasting part of this exceptional British Columbia car showroom.

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Singapore’s World Famous Airport - Changi Airport

Singapore’s World Famous Airport CHANGI AIRPORT BY YENNY KONG

As the sixth busiest international airport today, Singapore Changi Airport serves over 120 airlines flying to more than 380 cities globally. By April 2017, it had handled close to one billion passengers since it opened on 1 July 1981. To serve passengers and visitors from over the world, the airport offers 350 retail and service stores and over 160 F&B outlets occupying over 76,000m² of commercial space. With so many attractions spread across its three terminals, Singapore’s world famous airport is a destination in its own.

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Niro Ceramic Group is pleased to be part of this famous airport. Changi is built upon ideals of fine architecture and classy design, which is why Niro Granite was chosen to provide the finishing touches. The public restrooms are beautifully tiled with Niro Granite’s gallant and fashionable collection - Bloomsbury GBB04, with the mixture of difference sizes in 60x120cm, 60x60cm and 30x60cm. It epitomizes elegance and cleanliness and leaves the area effortlessly minimal in terms of style.


A Stunning Fine-Looking Recondition

A Stunning Fine-Looking Recondition BY INGRID LASMARIA

Tunjungan Street is a famous street in the heart of Surabaya city, East Java, Indonesia. It is the street that connects the South and West Surabaya (Gubeng, Darmo, Ketabang and Sawahan area), a street that has become one of the biggest commercial areas in this city since the beginning of the 20th century. In fact, Tunjungan Street was so famous, even a song was composed about it in the local language. If that was not enough, the famous name of this street also inspired Tunjungan Plaza, the biggest and most iconic mall in Surabaya, as well as the Tunjungan Hotel, a 4-star establishment owned by PT Lamitcitra Nusantara, Tbk. Opened in 1995, the hotel offers 273 comfortable rooms with facilities designed to ensure that every guest stays comfortable. Its excellent location, close to business centers, government offices, industrial estates and local attractions makes Tunjungan Hotel a perfect base for business and leisure while travelling in Surabaya. After 20 years in the city, Tunjungan Hotel is consistently committed

to providing the best in services and amenities. This has led to a refurbishment project for some areas of the hotel, which was conducted in early 2017. Working with Enviro Indonesia, the local architect and interior design firm hired by the hotel’s management, Niro Granite was delighted to supply its exclusive products for the project. Replacing the previous tiles with Niro Granite tiles, the public restrooms at the Tunjungan Hotel now have a distinct look. They feature beautiful natural Fossena stone-inspired tile Nikto GNT01 Calcite in 60x60cm, with a matt surface. On the floor, Enviro Indonesia specified 60x60cm customized tiles printed on I’Pietra GIP01 Borgogna White (also with matt surface). The restrooms are further enhanced with a combination of 60x60cm Travertine Marble GTX07 Bruno and polished GTX01 Linen. The soothing colours and exceptional styling perfectly capture the concepts of convenience and indulgence in this newly refurbished space.

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A Modern Boutique Hotel at the Coolest Corner of the City

A Modern Boutique Hotel at the Coolest Corner of the City BY INGRID LASMARIA

Whether you are travelling for business or pleasure, Vasanti Kuta Hotel is a perfect place to stay when visiting Bali. Conveniently located in the heart of Kuta – less than 10 minutes away from Ngurah Rai International Airport – this modern boutique hotel offers easy access to many destinations in and around the city, such as the beach, Kuta Art Center, Waterbom, entertainment centers and shopping arcades, all within walking distance. Featuring 71 classy yet elegant guest rooms, ranging from Superior Rooms to Junior Suites, Vasanti Kuta Hotel is known for modern artistic interior design with an Indonesian ethnic twist. The 4-star hotel also offers many facilities such as 24-hour room service, free Wi-Fi in all of the rooms, a free daily shuttle service, meeting rooms, a rooftop pool bar, and a cosy restaurant, not to mention a gym center and spa. Ever since it opened its doors in mid-2016, Vasanti Kuta hotel has continuously offered a great experience, high-quality service and extreme comfort to its visitors. Having adopted five essential elements of life – wood, fire, earth, metal and water – as its core concept,

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Vasanti Kuta Hotel selected Niro Granite as one of its trusted suppliers. This meant inspiring visitors with the application of Hardrock (from our Lite Collection) on the room’s floors and walls. Specially designed by Niro Granite, the Lite Collection offers many advantages, ranging from trendy and modern tile design to a variety of colours, sizes and surfaces, all with affordable prices. Each piece of the Lite Collection is produced under stringent quality controls, in order to deliver the highest quality products and to meet the rigid requirements of any architectural specification. The warm shades of Hardrock GHR05 Sparrow, in a 60x60cm size, emphasize the Earth element and ooze coziness inside each room. To further add a naturally sophisticated effect, one that is also pleasingly neutral, the non-reflective matt surface was preferred for the entire space. The application of Hardrock will definitely provide a feeling of comfort for any tourists or business people who visit Bali in the future.


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ORIN Domestic Customized Program – Sales and Product Training

ORIN Domestic Customised Program

Sales and Product Training BY JO ANN LOO

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The economic forecast for 2017 suggested a tough year with challenging market conditions and slow sales. In order to overcome this situation, sanitary ware manufacturer and supplier ORIN believes that it is most important to work closely with our Dealers and give them extra support. It is why this year, ORIN has taken a new direction. It has launched the “Dealer Customised Programme for all our dealers.

Customised Programme is to further enhance and strengthen the Sales and Product knowledge of our dealer’s sales teams.

This new program is designed to take the initiative to provide Service Excellence, supporting dealers by becoming more nimble and responsive, as they strive to achieve their 2017 sales targets. The Dealer Customised Programme, as its name suggests, is intended to provide our dealers with specially customized marketing strategies and tools that fit their needs and market conditions. In addition, we also hope to strengthen the business relationship we have with dealers and build brand confidence through ever closer collaboration.

This Sales and Product training content includes product knowledge, the introduction of new product features, handson installation training on WC parts and trouble shooting. We believe that this training will equip sales front liners with extra product knowledge and they will use it to sell more confidently and successfully.

In this competitive market, dealers play an important role in helping to differentiate our brand and products from our rivals. Not only that, but they help to build our reputation by generating positive word-of-mouth marketing. Thus, we believe that the first and most important steps in the Domestic

In the first half of 2017, we kickstarted Sales and Product training for our Central and Northern dealers. We will continue to complete the training for dealers at the Northern, East coast and East Malaysia regions during the second half of 2017.

ORIN dealers also took the initiative to invite a few of their plumbers to join in the training session to learn and understand more about ORIN product installation. At the same time, we had the opportunity to listen to the feedback from these plumbers as they shared their experiences about installing ORIN products. This insider knowledge will give us the opportunity to further improve on our product design and quality.

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Breaking the Vicious Cycle – Selling on Higher Value Products

Breaking the Vicious Cycle Selling on Higher Value Products BY WINNIE LEONG

Niro Ceramic Sales and Services Malaysia (NCSS) organised a two-day motivational training program for its nationwide SuperDealers, in conjunction with the launch of the new Grand Là collection. The training took place between 26 April and 29 April 2017 at Niro Ceramic’s headquarters in Shah Alam and was led by international business trainer Dr. Lawrence Walter Ng. Sales forces from our SuperDealers and NCSS were split into groups and the training was conducted in different sessions spread over the four days.

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The training itself was designed to break the vicious cycle of price pressures in today’s competitive market. It was delivered via a number of interactive games that focused on selling higher value products. The training also reinforced the idea that Niro Granite is an international brand with Swiss quality heritage and emphasized the design trend for Niro Granite for this year – ‘Natural, Calm and Comforting’. It was truly a successful training and the participants were actively engaged throughout the various sessions. It shows how we strive to work more closely with our SuperDealers, helping them to overcome today’s challenging market conditions.


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Let Us Conquer the Whole Market Together!

Let Us Conquer the Whole Market Together!

ORIGINAL TEXT BY NCBM TRANSLATED BY WINNIE LEONG

Niro Ceramic Building Materials Trading Co. Ltd (NCBM) organised a two-day professional Top Sales Training Boot Camp for its nationwide dealers. The high-impact training session was held on 13 to 14 May 2017 and was conducted by international business trainer Dr. Lawrence Walter Ng, who shared top marketing secrets of NCBM’s venture into a broader market. The boot camp focused on scientific teaching and step-by-step learning. The key lesson, demonstrated through a lively interactive session conducted by Dr. Ng and various case studies, was that selling is just a game. Once you understand the rules of the game, you can win sales. The training further instilled that Niro Granite is an international brand and it does not sell on price, but value.

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In addition, the multiple posters in the training room served to remind participants about the rules of selling: to understand a customers’ needs, to help customers choose the right Niro Granite products, to change the way we market ourselves, to get rid of price competition, and to truly perceive value-selling instead. With interactive games, short movie clips and shared scenario examples, participants were actively engaged in every session. When the training finally came to a successful close, each participant was awarded with a Certificate of Participation. NCBM truly hopes that through this training session, it can foster greater ties with its dealers for a greater shared future together.


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29th China International Ceramics & Bathroom Fair, Foshan – A New Era has arrived

29th China International Ceramics & Bathroom Fair, Foshan ORIGINAL TEXT BY NCM

TRANSLATED BY YENNY KONG

A New Era has arrived Exclusively organized by Foshan China Ceramics City Group Co., Ltd, the biannual China International Ceramic & Bathroom Fair (CeramBath) is regarded as the most largescale and influential ceramic and bathroom exhibition in China, gathering together 700 leading suppliers of ceramic tiles and bathroom products. It has been seen as a market weathervane in China, pointing the way to new trends. After over ten years of development, the fair has grown to become the world’s fourth ceramic and bathroom exhibition, behind Cersaie (Italy), Cevisama (Spain) and Coverings (USA). The 29th China International Ceramics & Bathroom Fair (CeramBath) was held at Foshan International Conference & Exhibition Center, from 18 to 21 April 2017. It attracted thousands of professionals from architects to interior designers, not to mention engineers, builders, contractors,

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installers, retailers, distributors, as well as prominent dealers in the industry. Thirty-five years ago, Niro Ceramic Group pioneered the manufacturing of quality porcelain tiles and has invested heavily in product development to make its collections modern and on-trend. Niro Granite’s latest series, Remix and Gray Wood, as well as Zirconio’s Rust and Idea, were both introduced during the exhibition. In general, the exhibition was a success, aided by a strong booth design and a pleasant environment which was welcoming for visitors. The participation of Niro Ceramic Group in this exhibition has definitely increased the brand awareness of Niro Granite and Zirconio in the China market.


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Project Team of Niro Ceramic Vietnam

Project Team of Niro Ceramic Vietnam BY NGUYEN QUY DANG

Officially established in December 2016, the Niro Ceramic Vietnam (NCV) Project Team is now backed with global experience to provide the best service to its customers. Since then, the new Project Team has grown a strong network with architects, developers and contractors to position Niro Granite as the best tile solution for customers. In the last two months, the team organised and conducted discussion group events with key architectural companies in Vietnam, including Korn Architects and Mia Design Studio. Both events received very good feedback and it was an effective platform to help strengthen ties with our customers. Such events will be held once a month. With the robust growth of the real estate market in Vietnam, especially in the development of premium projects, tile is not just only a covering material, but an epitome of lifestyle. Our Project Team will strive their best to show that Niro Ceramic Group is the expert in tile solutions and will always be at the forefront of the industry with fresh designs and technical innovation. For more information, please contact Mr. Duy, NCV Project Sales Manager by email at baduy@nirogroup.com.

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Top Product Property Award 2017

Top Product Property Award 2017 BY INGRID LASMARIA

For the second year in a row, Niro Granite has won the Top Product Property Award 2017 for the category of Granite Tile in Indonesia. Organised and presented by Property-In magazine, the first property magazine that focuses on Investment and Marketing in Indonesia, the Top Product Property Award recognizes and honours some of the leaders in the property project segment in Indonesia, ranging from developers, brands and products, to banks and agents. The Winners were chosen by consumers and investors through comprehensive research conducted by independent research company, SurveyOne. The nominees for the Top Product Property Award were listed after a comprehensive survey conducted in 11 big cities across Indonesia namely: Jakarta, Bekasi, Tangerang, Bogor, Depok, Semarang, Surabaya, Medan, Makassar, Bali and Balikpapan. The survey used a multistage random sampling that drew 2500 respondents, who made their selection based on five parameters: Popularity Driven (an excellent position in the consumer’s mind), Investment Driven (excellence in investment values), Quality Driven (excellent location, design, and green orientation), Emotional Driven (creating emotional benefits) and Recommendation Driven (recommended by other consumers). Respondents were derived from two panels: Public (respondents with social status A and A+, aged at least 25) and Professionals in Property Industry (e.g. architects, contractors, engineers, etc.) Niro Ceramic Indonesia is proud of what it has accomplished to date. The awards received not only reflect our strong business culture but are evidence of hard work from all the Niro Ceramic team and its dedication to its clients.

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Memorable Escapade with Niro Ceramic Indonesia

Niro Ceramic Indonesia hosted two appreciation events in May 2017 for its valued partners to acknowledge their continuous support in the company’s growth. Everyone had a great and pleasant time during the trip to Bali and Japan.

Memorable Escapade with

Niro Ceramic Indonesia BY INGRID LASMARIA

Bali Weekend Getaway, 18 to 20 May 2017 Who does not know Bali, the jewel in the crown of Indonesian tourism? It is a beautiful lush island, which evokes paradise and offers anything a traveler might want. Bali is truly a unique place to visit, rich in culture and history, with wide-ranging, delicious food and friendly people. The three-day and twonight trip to Bali for Sinar Fortuna and its retailer partners was certainly exciting beyond words. Upon arrival at the Ngurai Rai International Airport on 18 May 2017, participants were treated to a sumptuous lunch at Nasi Pedas Ibu Andika. Thereafter, participants headed down to Uluwatu, a popular tourist destination to explore and enjoy two famous beaches – Blue Point and Padang-Padang. The beaches do not just offer strong ocean waves, but beautiful white sandy beaches surrounded by towering rocks, certainly a scenic picture to capture in the mind. The day’s journey ended with a special dinner in the Jimbaran area.

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The journey continued on the following day with a trip to Tirta Empul, a famous temple located in the village of Tampak Siring that is celebrated for its ‘holy’ spring water. After that, participants were directed to Goa Gajah and Tanah Lot to get a beautiful view of the sunset. After a tiring day of outdoor activities, participants enjoyed an evening dining at the Golden Palace, Badung before heading back to the hotel. On the last day of the trip, everyone was brought to the Krisna Sunset Road for some shopping. Finally, participants spent time at Pasar Seni Kuta and Kuta Beach Walk before they bid adieu to the Island of Gods. It was unquestionably a worthwhile and fun weekend getaway with our partners.


Sweet Escape to Hokkaido & Tokyo, 26 – 31 May 2017 Together with its partners, Niro Ceramic Indonesia headed to Japan, a country where ancient traditions are fused with modern life. Participants touched down at Chitose Airport, Hokkaido on the afternoon of 26 May 2017. They were treated to lunch at a local restaurant in Date Jidaimura village. Thereafter participants proceeded to the cultural theme park and went on a cruise around Lake Toya. As the sun set, all participants were served with a sumptuous dinner at the hotel, whilst wearing the Yukata, a casual version of the Kimono. The next day of the itinerary included a visit to the spectacular Jigokudani (Hell Valley), Mitsui Outlet Park Sapporo Kitahiroshima (the biggest shopping outlet mall in Hokkaido and Tohoku area) and also some city sightseeing in the afternoon. The journey continued the following day in Otaru, a small harbour city that is famous for its picturesque canals and well-preserved architecture that dates back to the Meiji era. In Otaru, participants had a great time strolling around Sakaimachi Street, as well as visiting one of the historic landmarks in Otaru city – the Music Box Museum. Participants were then guided back to Sapporo for dinner.

Participants were transferred to Tokyo the next morning using All Nippon Airways. On the first day in Tokyo, participants had the chance to experience a half-day sightseeing excursion, including a visit to the Tokyo Imperial Palace, the city’s famed Ginza shopping district, and various sites around Shinjuku area. On the following day, participants were brought to Nakamise Street, a famous shopping street that is lined with more than 90 shops offering local specialties and an array of tourist souvenirs. This tourist market leads to Sensoji Temple, which is Tokyo’s oldest and most visited temple. Participants were also invited to experience being real Japanese by getting dressed up in a traditional Kimono and riding through the streets of historic Asakusa in a pulled rickshaw. To end the day, participants were invited to join a dinner cruise on a Yakatabune boat, a unique Japanese-style wooden tour vessel. Sailing in the cool breeze along the river, participants enjoyed a breathtaking night-time view of Tokyo whilst enjoying delicious cuisine cooked on board. Overall, both trips were a great opportunity to spend more time with our partners and to get to know them face-to-face. We believe that stronger ties have been fostered between Niro Ceramic Indonesia and its partners, thereby developing a better business relationship for the future. MOMENTS

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Interview with Mr. Song Duan Ju – Casting a good brand with faith

Interview with Mr. Song Duan Ju

Casting a good brand with faith ORIGINAL TEXT BY NCBM

TRANSLATED BY WINNIE LEONG

It all started with a team of three and a single shop. Today, Mr. Song Duan Ju runs five Niro Granite franchise stores in Suzhou Province, China. He has seen many changes in the ceramic industry over the years, but one thing has remained constant – his unswerving commitment to Niro Granite and its tile products. How does he do it? We sat down with Mr. Song Duan Ju to hear his story.

When you choose Niro, you choose quality It has been 12 years since Mr. Song went into the ceramic industry and he admits to having a soft spot for porcelain tiles and Niro Granite products. But his success, he says, is founded upon faith. Five or six years ago, rustic-style tiles were not widely accepted by the general market. Yet Mr. Song invested in them and in doing so supported Niro Granite. In hindsight, he was ahead of his time, one of the first to market with the rustic tiles that are so popular today. It is one of the reasons that he now owns five stores across Suzhou Province. But it’s not the only reason. Mr. Song cites two more contributing factors to his success. The first is that Niro Granite’s position as a high-end tile brand aligned with his idea of starting a high-end tile brand business. As for the second, Mr. Song has visited the Niro Granite factory several times and knows that when you choose Niro Granite, you choose quality. It is why he was determined to choose our tiles for his business.

Setting goals and working towards them The process of opening five stores wasn’t smooth sailing. Was there any interference from other people? Mr. Song nods with a smile and said ‘yes’. But successful people have an innate charm and they never give up easily. Nor does Mr. Song. He told us that since he chose Niro Granite, he is behind the tiles wholeheartedly and does not look at any other brands. This principle is not only upheld by Mr. Song himself, but also his staff, who are all very loyal. Mr. Song said: “As a leader, first you need to be firm with your own beliefs. That gives your employees confidence. If the leadership changes overnight, when business is not so good or you get disheartened, staff can also get discouraged. So, it is important to lead by example and to ensure that you have a firm state of mind. Rest assured that, if

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this is the case, your staff will follow you. This is a form of mindset positioning, whereupon your employees connect with you and feel your intentions.” With gradual business expansion and an increase in store openings, Mr. Song applies the same human resources management theory as the great warrior Liu Bei did to ruling his people. In addition to the hard work and partnership of the company’s founders, the management was joined by a sales team that now forms the backbone of the whole business. Each Store Manager has a wealth of experience in tile selling and comes armed with years of management experience. They are also meticulous in all aspects of their work, particularly aftersales service. All five of Mr. Song’s stores operate with a team of employees who are united and keen to work for one another. One of Mr. Song’s best decisions five years ago was to invest in a cut-tile factory, as the finishing quality of other outsourced cut-tile factories was generally poor. Most industry players find it a challenge to resolve such problems and only few of them were able to think of a solution. Mr. Song was firm with his decision when he decided to open his own cut-tile factory. He believed that Niro Granite offered good product quality and this quality should not be diminished by substandard finishing when the tiles were being cut.

Faith that never fails In those early days, when the business first started, Mr. Song went through a relatively difficult period. He received all sorts of questions and people doubted whether the type of products he carried would sell. His peers did not understand the decision to sell porcelain tiles in a market that traditionally had a low acceptance of them. Even his loved ones were watching. In that era, where marble was the populist trend, everyone thought that Mr. Song’s business would not be sustainable.


The team started off with only three people and Mr. Song managed everything on his own. After the first shop was opened, he gradually found a like-minded customer base. Although it was a very small group of customers at first, they loved Niro Granite and developed a soft spot for the brand. Driven by his faith in our tiles, Mr. Song worked even harder to deliver a quality service to these customers. He soon established a reputation and gained customer referrals by word-of-mouth.

volume, while some even reduce product quality to increase their profits. For a person who strongly believes in product quality, Mr. Song understands that quality and quantity can complement each other.

Mr. Song adds that business is not just business. The trust and relationships gained from his customers over the years has constantly moved and encouraged him. Credibility, he says, is a step-by-step process that builds up over time and it was why he remained personally involved in sales for so long. Only later, when his business had expanded and they had opened more stores, did Mr. Song hand over his responsibilities to the sales team.

To achieve this level of success, a strong mentality is vitally important and, in this case, Mr. Song has a firm mindset. His target customers generally own high-end residential homes and villas, and they pay more attention to quality. Therefore, word-ofmouth marketing has proven to be very effective. A quality product coupled with great customer service drives more referrals.

However, this change caused some uncertainties amongst his customers, because many of them had grown comfortable dealing with Mr Song. Some of them even asked whether his team would carry out their duties as positively as he did, and with the same quality of service that Mr. Song himself delivered. Mr. Song further adds that this kind of feedback from his customers made him feel a great sense of accomplishment. It is precisely the kind of service he wished to provide when he set up the company. “The production of ceramics is prone to a lot of interference and the products cannot be 100% perfect. However, to date I have not received any after-sales complaints as I tend to solve every possible problem beforehand. So now I am of zero complaints,” he laughed.

Thoughtful service and word-of-mouth marketing Mr. Song Duan Ju is a person who values word-of-mouth recommendations. Many sellers of ceramics chase high sales

“If a product is of good quality, naturally the sales quantity would also increase too as business growth gradually takes its place,” he adds.

Mr. Song recalled a time at his first store… There was a customer whose daughter had just returned home from Canada to source tiles to decorate the house. Niro Granite was selected for the entire house. Why? Because other customers had given Mr. Song and his stores a glowing recommendation. They trusted him. And that trust is worth its weight in gold. “It seems difficult and inefficient at first,” says Mr. Song. “However, you can be kind to do a good job, have good faith and provide good customer service, so that every sale is well delivered and every customer makes the best publicity channel.” Mr. Song Duan Ju’s hard work and effort over the years has helped Niro Granite gain a good reputation in Suzhou China, not just through word-of-mouth, but through positive after-sales feedback from Mr. Song’s customers. We truly value the partnership with Mr. Song and we thank him for sharing his business journey with us.

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Longest Service Super Dealer Tanbar & Madaya

Longest Service Super Dealer

TANBAR & MADAYA BY HELENA SUIT & WINNIE LEONG

Since Niro Granite established its operation in Malaysia in 1988, the brand has received great support from dealers across West and East Malaysia. Since then, the business partnership with our dealers has only grown stronger. We spoke to Tanbar Sdn. Bhd. and Madaya Sdn. Bhd., the two dealers who have worked with Niro Granite the longest. Tanbar Sdn. Bhd. is based at Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, while Madaya Sdn. Bhd. is based at Kuching, Sarawak. They shared their business journey with Niro Granite…

TANBAR SDN. BHD. M: Moments

TB: Tanbar Sdn. Bhd.

M: Tell us a little about the history of Tanbar Sdn. Bhd?

Niro Granite product catalogue from the early days

TB: The Company was incorporated in 1984 by three close friends – Humphrey Tan, Douglas Barnes, and Tony Tan. The business actually started from the wooden garage of a house where we imported tiles from Spain, Italy, and Switzerland via Singapore. Before the setup of Niro Granite in Malaysia in 1988, we had been importing Niro Granite tiles directly from Switzerland. We managed to fight off a few big well-known trading houses to land the first dealership in Sabah for Niro Granite. From that humble garage, we have shifted between three locations – Gaya Street to Api-Api Center and to our current showroom at Penampang Baru Township. We have secured several major projects in Sabah, such as Wisma Merdeka, which is the oldest shopping center in Kota Kinabalu, plus government projects by Tun Mustafa and Innoprise Corporation Berhad, under the Yayasan Sabah Group. Today, we are a 100% family-run business and have been since 200. Though small, we have survived through two economic downturns.

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From left to right: Mr. Humphrey Tan, Mr. Douglas Barnes and Mr. Tony Tan

M. How many years have you been carrying Niro Granite products?

M: How has the tile industry changed since you started?

TB: We have worked with Niro Granite for at least 29 years, since you started your operations in Malaysia back in 1988. We are proud to be the oldest dealer, and the only dealer that carries only one brand – Niro Granite. In Sabah, the market associates us with Niro and vice versa.

TB: The tile industry has definitely changed a great deal over the years, with other tiles brands coming in, such as Guocera, White Horse, MML, Sinagres, Kimgress, Cotto, plus other Chinese brands. Tile sizes have also evolved, from 200x200mm products to 1000x1000mm today and this really sets the benchmark for tile workmanship. Labor charges and material costs have also risen. Yet, consumers are willing to pay higher prices to get the premium products they desire and this puts the creativity of interior designers to the test. Niro Granite helps them go the extra mile.

M. Being the longest-serving Niro Granite dealer, can you tell us why you chose us to be the main supplier for your business? TB: Back in the early days, we imported tiles from Europe and Niro Granite was from Switzerland; that was how we ended up with it. Niro Granite has been a premium tile brand since the start. It still is and it will be long into the future. Not only that, but we receive good support and after-sales service, and being the market leader in tile design, Niro Granite has a wide range of selection in patterns and sizes. Most importantly, however, the designs are popular and timeless.

M: What does the future hold for you?

M: What has made you stay loyal to Niro Granite over the years?

M: Any advice to other business owners out there?

TB: Because Niro offers us a level of support that no other principles can offer, be it in stocks or credit terms. The management of Niro Granite are smart and energetic people. They have been patient with us, even though we are not the biggest or the top dealer for the Malaysian region.

TB: Patience is key. It is how we have survived over the years with so much direct competition from other manufacturers. Do not fear challenges. Take it as the motivation to push harder and to achieve more than you thought you were capable of.

TB: We will definitely stay on with Niro Granite for as long as Tanbar Sdn Bhd operates. Being a small-scale family-run business, we have plans to expand by having our own land for office and warehousing to serve the market or to set up a boutique outlet with Niro Granite. We will also need continuous support from Niro Granite to secure a majority market share.

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Longest Service Super Dealer Tanbar & Madaya

M: Tell us a little bit about how the business started.

MADAYA SDN. BHD. M: Moments

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MA: Madaya Sdn. Bhd.

MA: Madaya started operations in 1982. We started by selling sanitary wares and the first shop we opened was at Jalan Pending. During that time, we only had a ground floor space. But as years went by, we expanded to the first floor of the building and then to the second floor. Eventually, we expanded to two shop units. In 2003, we moved to Jalan Datuk Abang Abdul Rahim and now we have three units of shop occupying all three floors.

M: Why did you choose Niro Granite for your business? MA: We chose Niro Granite because Niro Granite produces highquality tiles. As we were starting out, Niro Granite was the only homogenous tile manufacturer in Sarawak and it was an opportunity for us.


M: How has Madaya evolved from a small shop to two showrooms in Kuching and Sibu? MA: Our Managing Director, Mr. Albert Shia is from Sibu. We wanted to bring beautiful and high-quality products to share with the people in Sibu, hence the business has expanded.

M: Can you share with us any memorable experiences in your business journey with Niro Granite? MA: Mr Shia is surprised to know that Mr Bong Kuan Shin, Managing Director of Niro Granite, is from Sarawak too. It felt closer to home working with someone coming from the same home ground. Niro Granite has a team of dedicated staff that goes all-out to help. One of the most memorable experiences for me was a trip to visit Niro Granite’s showroom in China. During the trip, Mr. Shia lost his medication. Fortunately, with the help of Mr. Low Chin Guan, General Manager Domestic Sales of Niro Ceramic Group, they got medical assistance and Mr. Shia was treated at the local government hospital. Mr. Shia was very grateful for Mr. Low’s efforts.

M: Any advice to other business owners out there? MA: Hard work and providing a good service to your customers will definitely boost how customers see your business. And with this, more business opportunities will arise.

From left to right: Ms. Gwendolin Shia and Mr. Albert Shia

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BLOOMSBURY

GRAIN

GRAND LÀ

catalogue 21x27.5cm

RASTIK 2.0

TRACES

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CLAY ART

MARMO

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FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO ORDER COPIES OF OUR MARKETING MATERIALS, PLEASE EMAIL TO marketing@nirogroup.com

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PHILIPPINES Unit 102 Ground Floor Bldg. 3, OPVI Centre, 2295 Pasong Tamo Extension Makati. T +632 845 4400

Moments 17 - Niro Granite  

Moments 17 by Niro Ceramic Group

Moments 17 - Niro Granite  

Moments 17 by Niro Ceramic Group

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