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INDIGO BLUES(HKTDC , Vol 02,1999)

 


April 1999



INDIGO BLUES
Denim Fabrics

DELICATE DETAILS
Lace

SAFE & SECURE
Zippers

HANG 'EM HIGH
Hangers & Hang Tags

   

INDIGO BLUES
Denim Fabrics

INTENSE competition in the production of denim fabrics around Asia is motivating many textile companies in Hong Kong to look for new markets, but for buyers, the competition has made prices very reasonable.

Denim is just one of the fabrics made by Kingsway Textiles Fty Co Ltd and, according to director and manager Raymond KW Young, its production is now a very competitive business. "Competition is very keen in the denim market and as a result, prices are moderate and fair so every yard counts," he says.

Kingsway has three factories in mainland China, and sells most of its denim fabric to buyers who supply garment manufacturers.

CIF Hong Kong price for 10-ounce 100% cotton indigo, with 58/60-inch width, is US$1.83 per yard, while a 6.5-ounce 100% cotton with 58/60-inch width is US$1.30 per yard. A 10-ounce bamboo-weave 100% cotton with 58/60-inch width sells for US$1.65 per yard.

Stephanie Lai, merchandiser for Goodwill Textile Co, forecasts demand for denim fabrics to be the same as in 1998 or even slightly lower. "Demand was lower last year because less people were wearing denim," she says. According to Lai, a browse through fashion magazines last year revealed fewer denim fashion items.

But despite the downturn, Lai says demand is still robust for specific kinds of denim fabric, including 8-, 10- and 12-ounce denim as well as spandex, which is a popular choice for women's trousers and jeans due to its stretch qualities.

Goodwill has a minimum order of 1,000-2,000 metres if the fabric is on hand. For other orders, the minimum size is 5,000-6,000 metres.

Average FOB Hong Kong price for fabrics such as 100% dobby cotton denim and 100% Jacquard cotton denim is US$2.70 per metre.

Texful Textile Ltd specialised in denim fabrics when it was established in 1975 but has since diversified its production to include a range of cotton woven fabrics, including checks, stripes, dobby, herringbone and Bedford cord.

Sales manager Thomas Law says 1999 is going to be a challenging year for producers of denim fabrics. He says the increasing number of competitors and a shift in orders to countries with cheap labour and devalued currencies have made it more difficult for producers of denim fabrics in Hong Kong and the mainland.

Texful's major markets include the US, Japan and Europe, but in response to the growing levels of competition, the company has stepped up its search for new markets in non-quota countries.

Minimum orders start at about 3,000 yards, but Law says an order for a running item can be as little as a few hundred yards.

FOB Hong Kong price for a 7-ounce cotton indigo stretch dobby novelty fabric with 48/50-inch width is HK$20 per yard, while a 9-ounce cotton indigo stripe denim with 58/60-inch width sells for HK$16 per yard.

In addition to the Hong Kong factory where its fabrics are produced, the firm also has a garment factory on the mainland. It sources cotton yarn from Hong Kong, Pakistan and Taiwan. Delivery takes 30-60 days after order confirmation.

Texful has an Öko-Tex Standard 100 certificate for its denim fabrics made of 100% cotton (indigo and black dyed).

The Quicken Textiles Ltd produces close to two million yards of denim each month, and sales director Robert Tso says the company is combating the stiff competition with plans to develop newer denim fabrics that will cost a little extra.

"The market is down but I think there is still a demand - people are still wearing jeans," he says.

Most of Quicken's existing customers are in the US and Europe, but Tso says the company is looking worldwide in its search for new customers. The jean industry is still very fashionable, but buyers are looking for good prices and Hong Kong producers of denim fabric are competing against other countries that have export advantages, Tso says.

Quicken manufactures at its 300-worker, 20,000-square-metre Hong Kong plant, sourcing yarn and indigo and other dyestuff from Germany, Japan, the US, Hong Kong and Pakistan. Minimum orders start at very small quantities for running items and at 7,000 yards for individual orders. Delivery is 30 days after order confirmation.

One company forecasting better denim sales in 1999 than last year is Vepa Trading Enterprises Co Ltd. Managing director KC Lai says one reason for the downturn in 1998 was price competition from Thailand and Indonesia.

FOB Hong Kong prices per yard for 100% cotton indigo denim with a width of 58/60 inches are set at US$1.47 for 6.5 ounces, US$1.62 for 8 ounces, US$1.82 for 10 ounces, US$1.97 for 12 ounces, US$2.09 for 13.5 ounces and US$2.18 for 14.5 ounces. Vepa obtains 100% cotton yarn mainly from the mainland and the US, and delivers 25-35 days after order confirmation.

Written by Marissa Lague


DELICATE DETAILS
Lace

LACE can be both light and strong: it can reveal and conceal in equal measure. What other fabric can make such claims? From the slinky to the crimpy, Hong Kong manufacturers offer a wide variety of lace products.

Heng Long Textiles Ltd, founded in 1996, has a range of more than 500 items, which increases by about 15 new styles a month. It imports nylon, rayon, polyester and Lycra from Australia, which is also the company's principal market.

Director Tsoi Wai Kin explains the company's business arrangements: "We have a joint-venture production unit in [mainland] China where we have our looms. We also maintain a full-time design staff there."

A lilac stretch lace fabric decorated with white flowers sells for US$3.05 per metre FOB Hong Kong. Purple fluffy cells decorate a one-way stretch fabric, priced at US$2.90 per metre, and a fabric featuring red flowers on a stretch backing costs US$5.38 per metre. A stretch fabric featuring gold over black sells for US$2.68 per metre.

Samples of rayon chemical lace and cotton and tulle lace are representative of the line-up from Maxluck Industrial Ltd. Products include lace edging, flower-motif edging strips and orange stretch lace fabric.

Minimum order is 3,000 yards, for delivery in 3-4 weeks. Maxluck buys rayon and cotton from Taiwan, Japan and the mainland, and sells to Hong Kong, South Africa, the UK and Germany. It employs 100 workers at a 10,000-square-foot factory in Dongguan, on the mainland, and has offices in Hong Kong.

Manager Shirley Lau says there is strength in diversity. "We sell a trimming range to general customers. Most of our direct customers are foreign wholesalers. Prices vary according to order details, but these examples cost between HK$1.50 to HK$5.50 per metre," says Lau.

The range from 44-year-old Famory (HK) Ltd includes small white flowers embroidered on white; heavy navy-blue lace; coffee-coloured flowers on black backing; cream flowers on a backing with the same colour; and sheer black flowers on gauze.

Manufacturing lace, beaded dresses and wedding gowns, Famory uses polyester and silk from the mainland and exports to the US and Europe. It employs 2,000 workers on the mainland and is certified to ISO 9002. Delivery takes 60 days.

"We design and manufacture these high-quality products mostly for the manufacture of wedding gowns. Our production and sourcing are in [mainland] China, but our design input comes from all over," says manager and director Cai Yi.

Hin Sing Co manufactures chemical lace, chiffon lace, net lace, lace trimming, nylon lace, organza lace and PP lace. Typical prices range from US$2.30 FOB Hong Kong for a yard of embroidered lace all-over, to US$21.40 for a yard of Lycra net lace all-over.

Orders can be delivered in 3-4 weeks, and minimum order depends on the type and quantity of fabric. Hin Sing sells locally as well as exports to Europe, Asia and the US. Raw materials such as rayon, spun rayon, polyester and cotton are sourced in Taiwan and the mainland, then processed at its 2,000-worker, 30,000-square-foot factory on the mainland. The company holds an Öko-Tex Standard 100 certification.

"As a company we try to offer customer-orientated services - such as providing efficient standards, and offering a custom-made sample service and good after-sales backup. We also have a strong R&D team to meet customers' changing demands," says sales manager Louisa Lau.

Lipton Wong Co Ltd offers a range of lace trimming: a heavy white satin trim with sequins and artificial pearls on a white backing sells for US$10.30 per metre FOB Hong Kong; an open-weave flower-pattern lace with sequin trim for US$5.80 per metre; and a loop-design lace trim with sequins for US$6.70 per metre.

"In these times we maintain very close control of our product and our processes. We try hard to give our customers a feeling of security about their orders, and we find we can best do this by attention to quality and service," says director Stella Wong.

Founded in 1969 and specialising in lace trimming, the company has a minimum order of one TEU and delivers in 60 days. Its major markets are in Europe, Central and South America and the US. Lipton Wong sources plastic and glass beads on the mainland and lace from Taiwan, manufacturing at a 400-worker, 20,000-square-foot factory on the mainland.

Written by John Newson


SAFE & SECURE
Zippers

ZIPPERS are important parts of apparel and many other daily necessities, which can become worthless if their zip fasteners do not work. Hong Kong manufacturers produce a wide selection of zippers and work with customers to meet their requirements.

"We make all kinds of zippers," says Mono Chan, spokesperson for Beauty Bond Ltd, which produces 300 tonnes of zippers every month. "Our products cover different price segments."

Operating from a 1,000-worker factory in Dongguan, in southern China, the manufacturer uses nylon, plastic and metals such as brass and aluminium. "Our scale is quite big. We do almost all the procedures ourselves and therefore we have better monitoring of the production process. We produce fast and deliver on time," Chan says.

"We have our own dyeing division and can basically dye any colour," she explains. Beauty Bond also makes its own sliders in-house.

Minimum order is about half of a TEU, and delivery takes about 20-30 days after order confirmation, depending on the quantity. Established in 1991, Beauty Bond exports mainly to South America.

Hang Sang Zipper Co Ltd specialises in the manufacture of zippers in the medium price range, with FOB Hong Kong unit prices ranging from just over HK$1 to about HK$9. Its zippers are for clothes, travel bags, toys, pencil cases, sleeping bags, pillows and quilts.

Hang Sang sources yarn - such as polyester - from Taiwan, zinc alloy from Australia and steel from Japan. Other materials used for production include plastic and other metals such as brass and aluminium.

"We have existing product lines, and we can also design for customers," says manager Albert Tee. "We make zippers in all materials, sizes and colours." He adds that some products come in gold colour, generated from electroplating.

"Our customers are wholesale agents. We can meet customers' requirements, and design the pullers for them," Tee says.

Set up in 1986, Hang Sang makes five million zippers a month at its 200,000-square-foot, 200-worker factory in Shenzhen, in southern China. It has no minimum order and delivers in about 14 days. The company sells mainly to Europe and the US.

Sam Ming Zipper Trading Co Ltd's catalogue includes a series of autolock zippers, closed- and open-end plastic zippers, open-end aluminium zippers, open-end nylon zippers, and closed-end anti-brass zippers with roll pearl. These models represent only a tiny part of the product line from Sam Ming, which produces more than one million pieces a month.

The sliders are made of metal or plastic sourced in Hong Kong, while the teeth are made of plastic, nylon or metal such as brass, anti-brass and aluminium. "We usually make the sliders ourselves and import zipper chains from Taiwan," says export manager Martin Tse.

"Our prices are competitive," he says. Sam Ming's main customers are garment manufacturers and trading agents in Canada, the UK, Middle East, Malaysia and Taiwan. "Our customers give us their specifications and we produce for them. Delivery usually takes 10-14 days, and it can be one week if necessary."

Founded in 1982, Sam Ming imposes no minimum order. Its production base is a 40,000-square-foot factory in Shenzhen, in southern China, with more than 100 workers.

Modern Delta (HK) Ltd makes a wide range of zip fasteners, including strengthened metal zippers. "Their teeth are made of strengthened metal. They are especially useful for jeans - they do not burst," explains sales manager Karen Chau.

The company also prides itself on its lace invisible zippers. "Lace invisible zippers have lace frills and are mostly for night dresses, especially in Europe," Chau says. Modern Delta also makes standard metal zippers and standard invisible zippers.

The materials - including monofilament, metal and polyester - and dyeing agents are sourced mostly from Taiwan.

Minimum order value is about US$3,000. Delivery takes 7-30 days, depending on the colour and order size. "Prices are negotiable depending on the order quantity," Chau says. Modern Delta's major markets are Europe and South America. The firm, set up in 1986, runs a 100-worker factory in Xiamen in southern China.

Ho Ming Zipper Mfg Ltd concentrates on zippers in the medium to low-end price range. "We produce all kinds of zipper," says manager Michael Chan.

Founded in 1989, the company makes about HK$4m worth of zippers per month at its 30,000-square-foot, 200-worker factory in Shenzhen. It sources plastic and metal from Japan.

No minimum order is required, and delivery takes 10-15 days. "Customers give us their ideas and we design for them. We also have existing product lines," Chan says.

Ho Ming's main markets are the US and Europe, with customers being mostly garment manufacturers and importers of garments or garment accessories.

Written by Liza Lee


HANG 'EM HIGH
Hangers & Hang Tags

AS the fashion industry changes and evolves, so does the need for hangers and catchy hang tags. Demand for these accessories continues to grow and Hong Kong is a major supplier.

Qualidux Industrial Co Ltd was established in 1964 to manufacture predominantly plastic household goods. Its APOLLO range features three styles of hanger in four colours, all made from high-impact, durable polystyrene, and fitted with metal swivel hooks.

The Q1028 clothes hanger sells for HK$1.90 FOB Hong Kong each, model Q1029 clothes hanger with trouser crossbar is priced at HK$2.90, and the Q1313 adjustable deluxe hanger sells for HK$5.

Minimum order is 1,000 hangers and delivery takes about 25 days after order confirmation.

"We produce about 50,000 pieces per month of each of our hangers, for export and for the local market. We are also happy to manufacture our customers' own designs but, of course, this will affect the minimum order requirements," says senior marketing officer Peter Wong.

The company has a 26,000-square-metre, 5,000-worker factory in mainland China, which was certified to ISO 9001 in 1994.

Star Industrial Co Ltd makes a range of household products, including hangers, and celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

It offers three styles of polypropylene hanger, in bright colours. "We produce about 70,000 hangers per month, and will also tailor-make as required. We remain in business because we never cheat on quality and maintain good customer relations," says assistant manager (marketing) Veronica Leung.

The firm's hangers come in bundles of six and include model 428, which has cut-outs for dresses or skirts and is priced at US$1.17 FOB Hong Kong per set. Minimum order is 15 dozen sets, and delivery takes 4-6 weeks after order confirmation. Manufacturing exclusively in Hong Kong, Star Industrial sells mainly to North America and Europe.

Kai Yat Mfg Co Ltd, offers hangers and hang tags. "We have over 100 different designs of plastic hangers in our standard range, but also manufacture to order. Our tags are all made and printed to clients' specifications, for which we offer a high-quality and fast service," says export department manager Ivy Li.

Minimum order is 100 dozen, and delivery is within two weeks of order confirmation.

The hanger range includes the 17-inch model 780 at HK$21 FOB Hong Kong per dozen, 141/2-inch model 668 at HK$11.50 per dozen, and the 151/2-inch 569B at HK$27 per dozen.

Teamarking Ltd is one of Hong Kong's leading manufacturers of hang tags, and specialises in barcode tags. Marketing manager Patrick Siu says: "We use a special thermal transfer process, which allows us to rapidly and efficiently imprint all the variables of the piece of clothing onto the tag, such as size, colour and style."

The company has a 30,000-square-foot, 110-worker factory in Bao'an, on the mainland, while sales and marketing operations are based in Hong Kong.

Most tags the firm offers are made of paper which, Siu maintains, is still popular, although some PVC tags are also made. Prices, which depend on size, quantity and printing requirements, are available on direct request.

Top-Print (HK) Ltd has been producing accessories for the garment trade for more than 20 years, and specialises in soft and rigid PVC lenticular - image, pattern and colour changing - products.

"We have a capacity of up to 80,000 pieces per day and can, therefore, easily cope with even the largest orders," says manager Katherine Cheung.

Top-Print's PVC hang tags start at about HK$0.07 FOB Hong Kong each. There is no minimum order requirement and delivery takes 25-30 days.

The company has a 2,300-square-metre, 150-worker factory in Shenzhen, mainland China, which uses PVC sourced in Japan and Taiwan, and paper from Japan.

Written by Simon Saunders

 

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