The Norkis I know-A A +A
Monday, September 10, 2012
LAST Saturday, one of the country’s post-war business firms celebrated the first half-century of its existence at the Ayala Cebu business center. Starting its trading operation in 1962, Norkis, owned by then audacious young proprietor, Norberto Quisumbing, was then into motorcycle marketing. When I met Tootsie later on, he impressed me as an optimistic young businessman.
I had come home to Cebu for a few days then from a trip to Davao as a young feature writer of the Sunday Times Magazine of the Manila Times.
Little did I realize that some 50 years after, I would remember that earlier meeting when he told me that he had to secure a P5,000 bank loan to keep afloat as a businessman. Tootsie was able to remain afloat across the decades, and turned his small motorcycle marketing business into a millions-of-pesos operation.
Norkis partnered in 1962 with Yamaha Motor Co. to sell the latter’s 50cc motorcycle, the first model Norkis imported. At that time, the 50cc unit cost only P350. The following year, taking the risk with an 80 cc Yamaha model priced at P550, Norkis developed what Filipinos then knew as the tricycle by attaching a sidecar to it.
In the early 1970s, I left the Times and joined the Weekly Graphic as branch manager for the Visayas and Mindanao. I wrote and promoted the tricycle. Norkis climbed to stardom in the motorcycle industry and dominated the industry since then. By 1971, a 100 cc Yamaha model started a series of models for single use, which could be ridden through rugged terrain. But it could have back-riders, the forerunner really of our present day habal-habal.
In the 1980s, bigger models came about like the DT125, which in turn fueled more interest in bigger singles that could penetrate more rugged terrain. Because of the dynamism and business integrity that Norkis showed through the years, the interest of motorcycle makers from other nations was on Norkis. Thus, in 1988, Norkis introduced in the Philippine market the 135 cc 2-stroke tricycle model.
When the biggest motorcycle maker of China thought of bringing its Haojue motors to the Philippines, it had Norks in mind. And so, the Norkis-Luoyang Northern EK Chor Motorcycle Co., Ltd. partnership was born. It is providential then that the partnership should come to be for it cemented the Norkis dominance of the industry.
Today, many motorcycle manufacturers in the world have chosen Norkis to be their marketing outlet in the Philippines. Tootsie’s risk-taking nature has paid off. And he has not forgotten to share his good fortune to others, too. He has set up many social organizations as outlet for his share.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 11, 2012.