1 June 2003
Top HeadGear(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 06,2003)
Sharp As A Pin
Hop Hing Hat Fty Ltd
Hats and caps are a great way to get ahead in business, according to Hop Hing Hat Fty Ltd
Founded in 1971, Hop Hing Hat Fty Ltd commenced life as one among many garment makers but opted to specialise in hats and caps. Today, Hop Hing offers a wide range of quality caps, hats and fashion accessories - including fishermen's hats, baseball caps, ski hats, sun visors, Ivy League caps, a slew of fashion hats, headwear for children and babies, and scarves, headbands and bags.
"We maintain a competitive edge by frequently changing styles and materials in keeping with the latest trends," says director Tim Lau.
From relatively humble beginnings, Hop Hing flourished along with the garments industry in Hong Kong and soon larger premises were required. "We opened a new plant in Shenzhen on the Chinese mainland in 1985," Lau says.
Hop Hing does what most other companies do to expand the business: advertise and attend exhibitions and fairs to meet new clients and generate new orders. "However," says Lau, "despite many requests for different items, we rarely stray far from the hats and caps business."
On the other hand, there has been evolution in the mainstream business. "Early production included simple cotton goods, while today we use a broad range of textiles and fabrics including stone-washed denim, leather, suede and fur. Most of the raw materials come from Taiwan (PVC), the mainland (cotton) and Italy (polyfleece and leather)," he says.
"We also discovered two main business lines - one producing mass market goods, including sporting hats and baseball caps with logos, and the other catering to a market for more fashionable headwear, basically a niche market."
The niche market took the company into a wider production area of fashion accessories and fashion-related items such as scarves, gloves and bags. Overall, exports go mostly to Europe (65%) and the US (more than 20%).
"Many of our customers have been with us for 20-30 years," says Lau. "Our main markets are European countries such as Germany and particularly the UK. The bigger suppliers tend to dominate the US market so Europe is better for us."
He says that whereas production once comprised 70% designs originating with clients and 30% in-house, today this has reversed. "This is what customers want and we are happy to provide them with innovative and modern designs and ideas. Most of our designers benefitted from overseas training, especially in the UK."
The company also provides special training to its mainland staff handling finished products. "The work is skilled and labour intensive, not like in the plastics industry where machines predominate," says Lau. "In hats and caps, especially, we need fully trained staff and we invest heavily in that area."
Monthly production stands at just less than one million items for mass-market products such as baseball hats. "However, the production figures for fashionable hats and caps are much smaller," says Lau. "We accept OEM and ODM business from importers and retailers and carry out production at a 40,000-square-foot, 300-worker factory in Guangdong Province. Our main operation is in Boluo, near Dongguan, where we manufacture 30,000-900,000 items a month," he says.
Hop Hing is flexible with minimum orders because of the poor economic conditions prevalent today. "Until recently, we demanded a minimum of 600 pieces for stock orders and 3,000 pieces for newly developed styles," Lau advises.
WRITTEN BY TONY HENDERSON
Hop Hing Hat Fty Ltd
Flat B1, 10/F, Block 2,
Golden Dragon Industrial Centre,
162-170 Tai Lin Pai Rd,
Kwai Chung, New Territories,
|Advertising Enquiry||Hong Kong Buyers Request Form||Overseas Buyers Request Form||More Publications|