Regent Building Materials Supplies, italian ceramics sets trends in Hong Kong | by Simona Storchi

Winner of the Confindustria Ceramica Distributor Award 2015, Regent Building Materials Supplies Co. Ltd was established in 1998 in Hong Kong and is led by CEO Simon Tso.

It is now the Hong Kong market leader in the distribution and sale of ceramic tiles. With 17 stores in Hong Kong and an eighteenth showroom due to open at the end of 2015, Regent Building has a turnover of 20 million euros, 98% of which is generated from sales of over 70 brands of ceramic tiles, porcelain tiles and mosaic tiles. More than 98% of these products are made in Italy.

“We’ve been opening stores at a rate of almost one a year, starting out from the first one in the city of Wan Chai, where we now have many outlets and later expanded to other areas in Hong Kong,” explains Simon Tso. “It’s a market that we understand very well. Our customers have sophisticated tastes and appreciate the style and quality of Italian products. We’ve also been preparing to expand into other Asian markets, which differ significantly from that of Hong Kong. Even customers from Northern and Southern Asia may show very big differences in terms of taste and style”.

Mr. Simon Tso receives the Confindustria Ceramica Distributor Award during Cersaie 2015. Right: the Regent Building Headquartes based in Kong Kong Wan-Chai

The clientele of Regent Building consists of building firms and retail customers who purchase interior and exterior tiles to renovate residential buildings, offices and shops. “We supplied tiles for the new Hong Kong airport designed by Norman Foster, as well as for various projects designed by internationally renowned architects and interior designers. We also have clients in other areas such as Malaysia and Singapore.” But what are the key strengths of the group’s showrooms? “Certainly the fact that our showrooms focus on first-hand experience,” says Simon Tso. “We have mock-ups of bathrooms and walls featuring our latest products so that customers can see and touch these products and judge them according to the specifications of the area that they intend to decorate. The aim of our showrooms is to introduce the latest European lifestyle to Hong Kong and other Asian countries.”
The factors that contributed to the choice of Italian tiles include the typical style, history and quality of these products. “Italian tiles have a long heritage and are currently considered the trend setter in the ceramic world. Moreover, Italian tiles attain high quality standards and are backed by various environmental certifications, an increasingly important factor for our customers.”
Regent Building has been working hard for the past 17 years to raise the approval level of Italian products and to import them to Hong Kong.  The construction industry in Hong Kong continues to boom and many large projects are in progress, such as the railway line that will connect Hong Kong with China, he explains. “Floor and wall tiles will be needed in the new stations under construction. We’re anticipating double-digit growth in our market over the next few years.”

The main Italian ceramic tile brands sold by Regent Building
Cooperativa Ceramica D’Imola
Ceramica Sant’Agostino
Ceramiche Artistiche LEA
La Fabbrica
Mirage Granito Ceramico

The breakdown of the Regent Building distribution network
Headquarters Office – 400 sqm
Wanchai (Hong Kong Side):  9 showrooms (1500 sqm)
Kowloon (Kowloon Side): 7 showrooms in Portland Street (total surface area 900 sqm)
Yuen Long (New Territories): 2 showrooms (200 sqm)