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As the world commit to environment protection and sustainability more than ever, a small coatings brand in Taiwan is doing its part by introducing greener coating products for buildings. The results? It’s welcome by the ASEAN market because it provides architects and interior designers a better alternative to stones and toxic coatings in the marketplace.


The Global Green Coating Market Continue to Increase

Paints and coatings are essential when it comes to protect and create artisan effects for surfaces such as walls and roofs in buildings. As consumers and governments around the world are growing aware of health risks and environmental impact of traditional paints and coatings, the demand for green coating has been increasing in the last decade. The global green coating market was valued at USD 87.46 billion in 2018 and is increasing at a CAGR of 6.1% from 2019-2025, according to Market Research Future, an online industry analysis company.


Green coating market can be segmented by many types, powder coatings, radiation cure coatings, waterborne coatings, high solids coatings etc. They contain less toxic elements and lower the VOCs released in the air.


Faux Stone Coating Replaces Granite

Among green coatings, there is one very small and niche product type that replaces stones as a building material to reduce the carbon emission and environmental impact during stone mining. It’s called faux stone coating. Aberdeen, a small company in Taiwan develops such products and successfully expands its market in Thailand, Singapore, and other ASEAN nations.


Aberdeen is headquartered in Kaohsiung, the southern port city of Taiwan. It was founded as a paint and coatings ODM for European and the US brands. As an ODM for many years, Aberdeen designed, developed and manufactured countless new product lines for customers to choose from. ‘We have all the product know-how and want to create more value, so our founder decided to establish our own brand,’ said Amenda Wu, marketing manager for Aberdeen.


A Niche, Blue Ocean Market

Of various types of coatings, Aberdeen chose faux stone coating as the bread-winning product because the entry barrier is high and competitors are few. It's a blue ocean market. 


‘ADDSTONE, our faux stone product line, creates texture just like granite with only 40% of the cost of using real stone. It’s easy to apply and maintain. Real stones could be very hard to fix when there’s a crack.’ Amenda Wu indicated that ADDSTONE, a water-based coating that lowers the emission of VOCs, is an environmental and economical substitute for real stone since the mining of granite involves blasting rock formation and destroying mother nature.


Like many Taiwanese manufacturers, Aberdeen is confident of its strength in R&D and production management, but transforming from a manufacturer to a brand owner could be challenging. Aberdeen started its brand aiming at international markets, especially the ASEAN where per capital income is increasing and consumers have a growing interest in aesthetic and eco-friendly products. ADDSTONE seems a perfect fit.


Challenges in Starting a Brand

‘Thailand is the first offshore market we approached. But it was hard in the beginning. It took 3-4 years before significant business coming in.” Wu remembered that when the company first attended a trade show in Thailand six years ago, potential buyers were very interested but did not place orders. For 2-3 years, nothing happened even though Aberdeen kept regular business contacts. It turned out that the buildings industry has a longer life cycle and is very cautious in switching to new suppliers.


To strengthen its marketing efforts, Aberdeen reached out and seek government resources. Under Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) of the Taiwan government, Taiwan External Trade Council(TAITRA) and Industrial Technology Research Institute(ITRI) provides various trade promotion programs to help Taiwanese companies expand overseas markets.


Leveraging Government Resources

Aberdeen joined ITRI trade delegation to Bex Asia 2019, a building expo in Singapore. Months before the expo, ITRI located potential international buyers for Aberdeen and sent out invitations using TAITRA’s global network. When Bex Asia officially kicked off, Aberdeen’s small booth was packed with visitors who received invitation in advance. ‘They were all meaningful buyers in the industry, not just walkers-by. We received a lot of inquiries right after Bex Asia and business started to come in in Singapore.’ Amenda Wu said.


In Thailand market, The Taiwan government helped collect information of master builders and construction companies for Aberdeen. Aberdeen also took part in Indonesia’s building expo in 2019, in which TAITRA established a ‘Taiwan Excellence Hall’ showcasing various green products made in Taiwan with government endorsement. During the expo, MOEA also arranged sessions for Taiwanese companies to sit down and brief international buyers.


In 2020, global trade is seriously impacted by COVID-19 and trade shows are postponed. To counter the worldwide shutdown, TAITRA organizes five online trade shows and invites ASEAN KOLs (key opinion leaders) to promote MIT(made-in-Taiwan) products. Aberdeen is leveraging these digital marketing tools to cope with the post-pandemic new normal.


Siam Paragon Adopts ADDSTONE

After dedicating in overseas market for six years, Aberdeen’s export revenue increased by 20-30% annually and have won big-name customers in ASEAN. Siam Paragon, the largest department store chain in Thailand was very cautious in adopting a new supplier. It took 4 years for Aberdeen to persuade Siam Paragon to test ADDSTONE Coating in a very small space in one of its store. The outcome turned out surprisingly good and Siam Paragon has been placing more orders ever since. Now ADDSTONE Coating can be found in many floors in Thailand’s most well-renowned department stores.


A niche market strategy with government support has enabled Aberdeen and other green solution providers in Taiwan to set its foothold in ASEAN and other parts of the world. Now Aberdeen has distributors and business partners in Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Indonesia, Cambodia and the middle east. It is planning to enter higher-value market in Europe and the US very soon.