1 March 1998
TRADE DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL EXPORT MARKETING AWARD (HKTDC Fashion - Fabrics & Accessories, Vol 01,1998)
EXPORT MARKETING AWARD
Fenix Hong Kong Ltd
FENIX Hong Kong Ltd, the first company in the Fenix Group, was set up in 1972 to focus on supplying buyers with a range of fashion and lifestyle products. Since then, the group has diversified into retailing and selling select food and general merchandise through a network of its own stores.
Fenix Hong Kong spearheaded the group's plan to enter the knitwear business. Consequently, Fenix Hong Kong makes and markets knitwear for the mid- to high-range of the market, with 20% of output comprising men's wear and the rest women's wear.
About 90% of its knitwear exports go to Japan. "We also export to countries such as South Korea, Vietnam and [mainland] China and to Sweden, Norway, Canada and the US, but Japan is our biggest distributor," says administrative manager Mary Law.
The company's customers are mainly chain stores and wholesalers. Eighty percent of its products are distributed through importers and 20% sold directly to apparel retailers.
"We plan to explore more export markets. In Southeast Asia we plan to look at countries such as Taiwan and [South] Korea," Law says.
The company also plans to expand in countries such as France, Italy and Norway by opening its own outlets under the names of brands owned by the Fenix Group Anteprima and Lordy Ferri. At present the brands constitute 2% of the group's turnover. "This is part of the group's diversification programme," Law says.
"Initially we used to sub-contract production to other factories, but subsequently we began to invest in the factories we used and became partners."
This gives the company a better grip on the production process. "We are involved in every step of the production process right from providing the designs and sorting the material to export marketing."
The company has invested in 15 factories, including two in Shanghai and one in Vietnam, with the rest in southern China. They employ a total of about 5,000 workers. Some of the factories are partially owned and some fully owned, according to Law.
The company imports its knitting materials from Australia and New Zealand but its major yarn suppliers are in Italy and France.
Fenix Hong Kong expects 97% of exports this year to remain in the Asia-Pacific region and the rest to go to the Americas and Europe.
The Fenix Group has a network of 40 boutiques in Hong Kong, Japan, Italy, France, Singapore, Taiwan and mainland China that stock international labels in apparel and accessories.
The group is exploring other Southeast Asian markets to expand its retail chain and promote its own brands. Managing director Anthony Keung says: "We started as an OEM company but now we need to develop our own brands and move ahead to invest in customers' brands and share in the marketing. We mainly deal in sweaters but we will diversify to other items of clothing."
Written by Austin Lobo
CERTIFICATE OF MERIT
IN EXPORT MARKETING
GP Wedding Service Centre Ltd
MORE than 30 years ago, GP Wedding Service Centre Ltd started out as a family business in Hong Kong. Today, the company's business extends to Japan its largest market, accounting for 35% of business. The US market makes up 25%, Hong Kong and mainland China 30% and Italy the balance.
As a result of the company's ability to provide customers manufacturers and wholesalers with strong design creativity, backed by high quality standards of workmanship, GP can draw on its wealth of experience in this field to carve a niche market for its services.
Managing director Brendir Yeung says GP's dealings with Japanese designers and wholesalers have improved the company's awareness of the high quality standards and requirements of the Japanese market. The application of this knowledge to the Hong Kong market has also improved GP's business.
"In order to make a wedding dress, about 30% of the work is done by sewing machine, while the embroidery and beading work, which makes up the balance of the work, is done by hand," explains Yeung. "We make the sample dresses in Hong Kong and, when we receive an order, our factory here makes the dresses, which then are sent to [mainland] China for the beading, which can take up to 120 hours per dress."
GP, which em-ploys about 60 people in mainland China for the beading work, is one of the market leaders in the wedding dress industry. It has two offices in Hong Kong, five on the mainland, and one in Vancouver, Canada.
Turnover grew 10.24% in 1996 over 1995, and the company expects a better growth rate for 1997.
"When a customer brings his design to us, we not only are able to manufacture what he wants, but we are also able to improve on his design. Besides, we also keep in touch with the latest trends in the market," Yeung says.
She says GP is planning to expand its business in Europe, especially to France. "Our sales people visit wholesalers and designers and do direct marketing of our dresses."
Written by Wong Joon San
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