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How I did it: Joshua Huen

Publication: | June, 2012

How founder of Richmond’s Dr. Battery plugged into rechargeable battery potential

Business in Vancouver's "How I Did It" feature asks business leaders to explain in their own words how they achieved a business goal in the f ace of significant entrepreneurial challenges. In this week's issue Dr. Battery founder Joshua Huen explains how he turned portable power into a winning business proposition. 'After I graduated from the University of Western Ontario in 2001, I immigrated to Vancouver. My major is finance and economics. I worked in Toronto about half a year, then I went back to Hong Kong to help in my father's business.

My father had a metal-screw manufacturing business in China. He wanted to retire, and I tried to help him manage the factory. So I used what I learned in university to manage the factory. It had 3,000 workers. It was a good learning experience. I built up my network and experience – how to manage a company – and then I decided to move back to Vancouver.

When I came back to Vancouver, I was thinking of a good business or product or service to start my new career. I was in Vancouver [International] Airport in the boarding area in 2004. They only had three or four power jacks, and everyone was using them. I needed to receive an email, but I couldn’t find an outlet to charge my laptop.

Before university, I worked in a computer store on Broadway in Vancouver in 1998 or 1999. At that time, the desktop computer was very expensive.

In 2004, the laptop was still very expensive – at least $2,000. But I forecast the price trend on the laptop would be the same as the desktop. If the laptop prices dropped, what is the major accessory for the laptop? It's the battery.

I thought, when customers bought a new laptop, they would spend more money to buy the extra battery. So that’s why I started the business at the end of 2004 – Richmond International Technology.

We sold laptop and digital camera batteries. In the beginning, my company was just like a trading company. We purchased the product from China and Taiwan and rebranded the product and sold it to the consumer. But now we have our own brand name. We have our own production line.

The first three years, we kept losing money. But laptop prices started to drop in 2007. In 2008, our sales revenue jumped 4.5 times over 2007. In 2009, we had another 2.5 times growth, compared with 2008. In 2010, we doubled again and we set up a production line in China [to make rechargeable batteries for electric bicycles] and an R&D team in Hong Kong.

We also partnered with advanced technology companies like Boston Power and Leyden Energy to produce a battery pack for any electronic device product.

In 2010, our gross revenue was around $15 million.

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