The History of Shibazi Knives and Cutlery- Proudly Made in Yangjiang, China.
The superb quality Shibazi products are made in Yangjiang, Guangdong, Southern China, a Southern Chinese metal working city with a proud history of Hand Forged knives dating back 1400 years. 1983 Saw the humble beginnings of what was to become the Shibazi establishment, when Mr Li Hui commenced production of kitchen knives, in a small factory of less than 200m² and a capital of approximately US$300.00. In order to fund his dream Mr Li Hui started selling his wife's cakes that they made day and night in order to build up enough capital to start his own factory.
Today Shibazi is made up of seven connected companies, involved in every aspect of producing world-class kitchenware, knives and scissors. First and foremost, Shibazi has taken the massive step of both supplying the materials and producing their own highly specialized technical knife steels to international standards. While a tremendous investment in equipment and technology, this now enables production of knives at quality levels that compete with the best manufacturers in Europe and Japan. Other Shibazi companies in the group specialize in supplying knife making materials, knife making steels, heat-treatment and vacuum equipment, metallurgical research, development and analysis, plastic injection moulding, packaging, waste material recovery (making Shibazi recognised as one of the most environmental factories in China) and business management.
The unrelenting quest for quality resulted in Shibazi becoming a household name in China and in being among the first consumer products advertised on Chinese T.V. Today Shibazi is known as the Kitchen Knife Centre of China and is China's top brand. Shibazi has received over 300 awards and prizes over the years and is recognised as one of the top 10 commercial enterprises in Guangdong province. These growth rates have been created through a fair and friendly working environment with a dedicated work force, where dreams have been turned into reality, and where effort and hard work have been rewarded. The vision of making something great is being achieved through complete technical understanding of their products as well as their market aims through constant research and development.
Their product is not only a Chinese Brand name but their exports have enabled a distribution network spanning over 30 regions and countries.
We understand Shibazi is well on its way to becoming a global force and worldwide Brand name that is internationally recognised for outstanding quality. Despite his knowledge and expertise Mr Li Hui remains a humble man often eating in the canteen with his workers, so he may keep in touch with all aspects of Shibazi production. When questioned about his phenomenal success he replies, “We have just started”. This attitude is what has helped pioneer his company from strength to strength over the years.
Shibazi has had five main stages of evolution:
As Shibazi experienced development and growth in their company so has the technology and quality of the knives that Shibazi produces. Through constant research and development, their knives have followed a process of evolution that has ensured an ever-improving quality to the highest world standards.
In 1993 Shibazi began joining the handle and body of the knife during the forging process as opposed to the more traditional welding of the two separate pieces. This seemingly small change is what helps make Shibazi superior in their knife making skills as nothing is taken for granted.
1995 saw comprehensive research into traditional Japanese and European knife making processes and characteristics, this opened up a world of new innovative ideas and various appearances to the knives made by Shibazi. The ability to produce different styles of kitchen knives that serve various functions and utilities created the opportunity for Shibazi to produce knives for a global kitchen knife market instead of only an Asian market.
The third stage of evolution saw the building of knife sets - these complete kitchen utility sets helped to boost marketing value of the product offered by Shibazi. This was integrated due to the research of international market related sales and the success thereof. The idea helped create opportunity to provide clientele with all their knife needs as a unit, based on Shibazi's aim to provide unsurpassed product service to their clients.
The fourth stage came about as 7Cr17MoV steel became available in China for commercial use and Shibazi took this opportunity to make use of this steel to increase the superiority of their knives.
By the fifth stage of evolution, Shibazi had established their own knife steel production factory, which helped them steer their product competitively into the International Market. They now produce many varied knife steels to suit international and local market requirements. These 5 stages of evolution are part of the process that Shibazi has under taken to make superior steel which adds value to their unique design of kitchen knives with the aim to provide unsurpassed customer service levels.
Shibazi, through these stages, has grown to a multi-million Dollar company with over 2000 employees, producing to
ISO Quality Standards in facilities of 25,000m².
Mr Li Hui started as a Blacksmith and worked for a State-Owned knife manufacturing facility before starting his own business that would become Shibazi. Mr Li Hui recognised that in order to compete with the knife making technologies of Europe and Japan, who lead the market industry, he would have to produce his own steel that was of a superior quality. Mr Li Hui would also have to refine the construction of the knife in such a way that he could make his own company a leader in what defines a quality knife product to suit any kitchen. This ambitious yet driven idea lead Mr Li Hui to study the domestic and foreign counterparts and build his own steel making factory that would specialize in producing materials for knives.
Li Hui's devotion to what he wished to produce as the best lead him to make decisions that if they went wrong would bankrupt him. His unrelenting fearlessness and striving for the best, made Shibazi the Trademark name it is today with a reputation of quality and high market standards. These ideals lead Mr Li Hui to collaborate with the best expertise in China to achieve his goals and we wish to carry through with these ideals and guarantees of quality into the South African Market. After discussing and sending through proto-types/samples of knives that suit our kitchen, outdoor and hunting markets, Shibazi sent us an analysis (from their own testing center developed in 2002) of our samples and how they could produce and refine our ideas and desires we had, and bring the best possible knives to the South African Market. This has led to the launch of top quality Kitchen Knife Sets, Cutlery, Hunting, and Outdoor Kits in collaboration with a Company for which we have the greatest of respect. The story of Mr Li Hui's effort is outstanding as are his philosophies on life and the quality products Shibazi produces.
The skill, technology, material and craftsmanship put into their knives is bringing a new yet affordable standard to the market. LiteOptec highly values this collaboration with Shibazi and we are proud of our latest product range that we regard as highly as Premium European or Japanese products costing several times as much. We look forward to participating in the success of Shibazi in South Africa.