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A CLEAN PRESS (HKTDC Houseware,1999)

 


Apr 1999



A CLEAN PRESS
Irons

SPACE SAVERS
Closet Organisers

TERRIFIC TOOLS
Kitchen Gadgets

DISPENSING COMFORT
Bathroom Sets

A CLEAN PRESS
Irons

ASSUMING that every household needs an iron, the world's demand for the appliance numbers billions - and Hong Kong manufacturers play an important role in helping to satisfy that need.

Steam irons made by Better Electrical Products Fty Ltd are exemplified by model B-387. Sales manager Ken Lee says: "It has a self-cleaning function. It is light and easy to handle. It has many steam vents on the sole-plate, giving an even steam function."

The company also makes irons with vertical steam, such as model B-288. "The steam is powerful and works within 2.5-3 feet. There is no need for the iron to touch the fabric's surface," Lee explains. "It can remove wrinkles on materials that cannot be ironed on a sole-plate. It's useful for curtains, suits and certain dresses." This model comes with a water beaker.

The B-387 and B-288 run on 220-240V and 1,000-1,300W.

Better Electrical Products also tailor-makes irons for travellers. Travel steam iron B-127 measures only 190x85x90mm when folded. "It has an auto-move-up handle, which springs up automatically when you press the button," Lee says.

The item has a detachable tank which can be removed from the iron for filling water, to avoid wetting the iron. "It emits powerful bursts of steam. It has a 360-degree swivel cord guard and a non-stick sole-plate. It has a soft rubber grip button for adjusting the temperature," Lee says. The model works on 220-240V and 880-1,000W.

The firm also produces travel dry irons, such as model B-82. "It has a dry/spray function. It is compact and has a detachable tank," Lee says. The appliance measures 160x112x52mm and runs on 220-240V and 200-240W. Unit prices stand at US$8-11 FOB Hong Kong. All items from Better Electrical Products have GS and CE approval.

Materials include PC, ABS, PT and PBT from Taiwan, Japan and Australia. Minimum order is one TEU per item. Delivery takes 45-60 days after order confirmation. The manufacturer, with customers mostly from western Europe, markets self-designed lines and also takes OEM orders.

Founded in 1985, Better Electrical Products produces three million irons a month at its ISO 9002-certified factory in Shenzhen, in southern China. The 80,000-square-metre factory employs 2,500 workers.

Steam irons SI-150 and SI-400 from Euro Suisse Int'l Ltd feature an ergonomic design. "They have a variety of options, ranging from dry/steam to burst of steam," says managing director Anish Lalvani. The models, running on 230V and 1,200W, provide variable settings for steam and temperature. The sole-plate of model SI-150 is made of non-stick Xylan, while that of SI-140 is made of stainless steel.

Lalvani says Euro Suisse is characterised by flexibility in the combination of specifications, resulting in many possible variations. For instance, it can combine different kinds of sole-plates - aluminium, non-stick and stainless - with different safety standards such as GS, BS, UL, GOST, SABS, SAA and "B" mark. "We are tremendously service-oriented," Lalvani adds.

Euro Suisse, a wholly owned subsidiary of Binatone Industries Ltd with more than 40 years' experience in the consumer electronics and domestic appliance industries, produces under the brand names Euro Suisse and Binatone. The firm also takes OEM orders.

Minimum order is one TEU per model (about 4,170 pieces). Delivery usually takes 60-75 days after receipt of a clean confirmed L/C. Major markets are eastern Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Widab Hong Kong Ltd offers its Professional Series, including model SI 503, a steam and spray iron. It has a brush aluminium sole-plate with a full-length button groove and three steam leading channels. The convex and bi-directional-shaped sole-plate improves the model's gliding ability.

The SI 503 has a central-swivel, two-metre textile power cord, thermal safety cut-off facility, and self-cleaning and anti-scaling functions. With a large see-through water tank, this GS- and CE-approved model runs on 230V and 1,350W.

Director Benjamin Chan says Widab produces under its brand names Widab and Wissel, and also takes OEM orders. Minimum order is one TEU, for delivery 30 days after order confirmation. Widab's main markets are Sweden, France and the UK. Established in 1994, the firm operates a factory in Shunde, in southern China.

Eltop Industrial Ltd manufactures steam irons priced at US$8-12 FOB Hong Kong. "Our irons have strong steam performance and good quality," says director Eric Lau. "The return rate is down to 0.1%." Eltop's irons run mostly on 220-240V and 1,200-1,380W.

Minimum order is about 5,000 units, with delivery in 45-55 days. The firm, which sells mainly to Europe, produces in-house designs and accepts OEM work. Established in 1989, it can produce up to 100,000 irons a month.

Written by Liza Lee


SPACE SAVERS
Closet Organisers

AN increasing number of Hong Kong firms have entered the business of household closet organisers, maximising their market share with products aimed at optimising space for consumers. They are offering all manner of organisers, from dress and suit covers and handbag organisers to shoe holders and multi-purpose hold-alls. Products span the spectrum of woven and non-woven materials, colours and designs, affording the consumer a wide choice.

Best Product Enterprises Ltd markets a range of organisers in 100% polypropylene, a recyclable non-woven fabric. Included in its range are a zip-up hanging cardigan organiser (137x36x31cm), a lightweight 75g underbed suitcase (102x51x16cm), a lightweight 75g blanket bag (58x53x17.5cm), a 75g shoe bag (48x84cm) and garment bag (63x115cm). All are manufactured to client specifications, including choice of colours, pattern and size.

FOB Hong Kong prices range from US$4 per piece for the cardigan organiser to US$0.90 for the blanket bag, with a minimum order value of US$3,000. Delivery takes 30 days after sample approval.

"The entire product range is waterproof but the material is also permeable, so it can breathe as well. The range sells in the Middle East and Europe, where consumers are sensitive to our environmentally friendly, fully recyclable, non-woven material," says spokesperson Francis Choi.

Established in 1995, Best Product uses materials from mainland China and Taiwan. It manufactures at its three-storey factory in Dongguan, on the mainland, employing 400 workers.

Witex Industrial Co also markets a wide range of non-woven household and personal organisers, including a shoe tidy (US$24.90 per dozen FOB Hong Kong), cloth organiser (US$12 per dozen), cushion organiser (US$14 per dozen) and handbag tidy (US$15.27 per dozen).

Says marketing executive Maria Mak: "The fabric is very light and extremely portable so consumers find uses for our products not just in the house but when they travel as well. Some even use them for shopping because they are [made of] a strong, waterproof material."

The material is also recyclable and sells well in the US and Europe, especially Spain, and also in Japan, all countries sensitive to environmental issues, says Mak. Minimum order is one TEU, with delivery guaranteed within 3-4 weeks.

Tony Wong, assistant merchandiser for Yuen Fat Int'l Ltd, is also keen to promote the environmentally friendly qualities of the company's products, which include hanging T-shirt organisers in either black or white PEVA. Customers can request any size or brand.

"Our products sell well in Europe and the US because they are recyclable and non-toxic. These are increasingly important considerations in the market nowadays because the consumer is becoming very sensitive to plastics," says Wong.

FOB Hong Kong price for the T-shirt bag is negotiable, and minimum order is 1,000 pieces. Delivery takes 40-45 days.

Established in April 1998, Yuen Fat produces at its plant in Guangzhou, on the mainland, which employs some 300 workers.

Heart Linked Corpn Ltd, with eight years of production under its belt at its plant in Huizhou, on the mainland, markets snazzy and stylish-looking zip-up suit covers and hold-alls made of non-woven PP.

Marketing executive Tanny Yu says the polypropylene products, in either bright yellow and black or black with brown trim, are largely sold in Japan, the US and Europe. They typically sell for US$0.65-1.45 FOB Hong Kong.

Written byTim Bryan


TERRIFIC TOOLS
Kitchen Gadgets

THE modern kitchen has evolved to save time and trouble. Designers of kitchen tools have often displayed ingenuity in the pursuit of this goal, but it still takes a good manufacturer to turn a bright idea into a great product.

One Hong Kong company making innovative kitchen gadgets is Bunhoi Co Ltd. Its Novelle Cuisine Blue Line includes a bottle opener selling for US$0.60 FOB Hong Kong; potato holder for US$0.55; multi-grater for US$2.29; mint and parsley grater for US$1.07; and a peeler for US$0.52.

Can opener model sells for US$1.15; garlic press for US$0.95; bottle opener for US$1.26; T-peeler for US$0.55; and a multi-grater set for US$1.95.

Founded in 1978, Bunhoi requires a minimum order of 6,000 pieces per item and delivers in 60-75 days. Exporting mainly to Germany, France and Italy, the company buys stainless steel and iron from Japan and Taiwan and manufactures at a 600-worker factory in Dongguan, mainland China.

Says managing director Harry Jackson Wong: "Our concern is always the mass market and we look for four things in our products: fashion, because European styling is out in front; quality, of course, because to sell to Europe you need European quality; use of technology such as new materials and techniques; and most importantly now that retailers are so big and can buy direct, we always offer a ready-to-sell range of products that can go straight on the shelf."

QCV Co Ltd specialises in kitchen scales and timers, such as a small blue plastic-and-chrome hand-twist mechanical 60-minute timer disguised as a coffee-grinder, priced at HK$10.30 FOB Hong Kong, and a chrome-and-transparent, plastic-finished 60-minute mechanical timer resembling a toy blender, selling for HK$10.

General manager Sylvia So explains the company's strong points: "We have control of our production, so we have some measure of control over our prices. Product quality is also continuously upgraded, and we maintain a large training facility to maintain our technical edge. Our managing director is an engineer himself, and he directly controls the design process."

The nine-year-old company promotes a range of 136 scales and timers, which it manufactures at a rate of 160,000 items a month. With a minimum order of 1,000 pieces and delivery in 40 days, QCV makes branded or unbranded goods at its 200-worker factory in Dongguan. Its most successful markets are South Africa, Italy, Spain, Germany and the UK.

From the long-established Abdoolally Ebrahim Housewares Ltd come gadgets such as a yellow-handled garlic press, green-handled can opener, thumb-operated ice-cream scoop with spring return, and seven-wire egg-whisk. These products all sell for about US$1 each FOB Hong Kong.

In the business of kitchenware and household goods in Hong Kong since 1842, Abdoolally secures about 80% OEM business and 20% regular orders for in-house designs. "We're an old company with established customer relationships, so the financial storms haven't hurt us so far," says merchandiser Lisa Ng. "As long as we continue to commission designs so as to offer new and stylish products, we feel that we will continue strong. Originality is the key to this market."

The company, whose main markets are in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, is flexible on minimum orders. Delivery takes 45-60 days.

Camford Metalware Mfg Ltd offers a range of kitchen tools with blue/black supergrip handles. Products include a semi-cylindrical grater, can opener with metal butterfly twister, double-sided peeler, flat grater on a handle, jar opener and revolving-head T-peeler.

President Terry Chan says: "These are not easy times to do business, so we do what we must. We are continually upgrading three things: customer service, product design and product quality. We follow new market trends very closely, so we are now manufacturing in the popular new plastic santroprene. We also ensure our products are part of a coherent range with a consistent appearance, because product identity is very important."

Founded in 1981, Camford manufactures 600,000 pieces of stainless steel and plastic houseware every month. Minimum order value is US$5,000, for delivery in 45-60 days. Camford-brand products sell well in Germany, the UK, France and the US.

The firm sources stainless steel from Japan and South Korea; santroprene from the US; and ABS from Japan, the US and Taiwan. It employs 700 workers at its factory in Zhenjiang, on the mainland.

Written by John Newson


DISPENSING COMFORT
Bathroom Sets

ARTICLES in the bathroom can make a difference to the feel of the private enclosure for relaxation and comfort. Hong Kong manufacturers produce bathroom sets of all kinds to cater for diversified markets.

Star Industrial Co Ltd makes plastic bathroom products using PP, SAN and PS from Japan, South Korea and Germany. "Our products are of good quality. They are durable," says assistant manager for marketing Veronica Leung.

Star's bathroom items include toothbrush holders, tumblers, cotton-ball holders, soap dishes, soap boxes, liquid-soap containers and tissue dispensers, available in a great variety of colours. Any of these items can be combined to make a bathroom set.

A toothbrush holder set (664) comprises a toothbrush holder and two matching tumblers in pearl green. The toothbrush holder has a green-tinted transparent dome-shaped cover with four perforations for toothbrushes. The set sells for US$1.40 FOB Hong Kong.

A pearl-blue cotton-ball holder (665) with a transparent hemispherical lid tinted in light blue is priced at US$1.10. A no-frills oval soap dish in pearly white colour (663) sells for US$0.55. "Any item can be made in the colour specified," Leung says. Minimum order is five export cartons per item. Delivery depends on the order quantity but normally takes 4-6 weeks. Major markets include the US, Canada, Europe and mainland China.

Star, which markets its own designs under the brand name Red A, is also engaged in OEM. Founded in 1949, the company operates a 250,000-square-foot factory in Hong Kong, with 300 employees. Moneyflow Int'l Enterprises Ltd makes porcelain and ceramic bathroom sets such as standard four-piece models comprising a toothbrush holder, tumbler, soap dish and liquid-soap container.

An 11-piece bathroom set (model BS044) consists of a soap dispenser, soap dish, tumbler, toothbrush holder, tissue holder, cotton-ball container, cotton-pad container, cotton-tube container, perfume container, toilet-brush holder and towel hook. The set is priced at US$8.10 FOB Hong Kong.

"Basically we can do our own design. We have R&D in [mainland] China. But most of the time the customers give us their designs," says director Aellen Lam. Moneyflow makes its bathroom sets to ISO 6486 standards, using soil from Chaozhou in southern China, where its 300,000-square-foot plant is located. "Chaozhou soil is suitable [for porcelain]," Lam explains.

Minimum order is usually 5,000 sets, but lowered to 2,000 sets for trial orders. "Our biggest market is France," Lam says, adding that other markets include Germany, Spain, the UK, Greece and the US. Customers include international cosmetic labels, Lam says.

Total annual turnover stands at about US$4m, of which bathroom products account for some 50%. Established in 1997, the company employs about 800 workers. It hires temporary labour when necessary.

Wing Fai Metal & Plastic Mfy Ltd produces soap dispensers, among other bathroom items. One of its creations is a dispenser for soap, shampoo and conditioner (WF-006), with separate compartments for the different liquids. This model carries an FOB Hong Kong price tag of HK$30.

"WF-006 sells well. It can be put in the bathroom at home, in public toilets and in restaurants' lavatories," says manager Lam Siu Kwan.

The company makes bathroom wares with GPPS, ABS, PP and PMMA from Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan. "We usually design our products. In some cases, the customers provide us with their own designs," Lam says.

"The minimum order differs from item to item, but is usually [worth] HK$12,000," he says. Delivery takes 30-45 days, to markets mainly in the US and Europe.

Wing Fai, founded in 1992, operates a 2,000-square-metre factory in Shenzhen, in southern China. Its 120-strong workforce can be doubled when necessary.

Eastrade Industrial Ltd's product portfolio, which features an assortment of 12-hook printed PVC shower curtains and PVC valances, includes a white shower curtain with magnets attached to its bottom (SC2). "It has three magnets at the bottom to fix its position," says director Amy Poon. The model sells for HK$37.50 a dozen FOB Hong Kong.

The company, set up in 1988, makes an average of about two million to three million shower curtains a month, depending on demand. The products can be transparent or in solid colours.

Minimum order is 120 dozen per model, and delivery takes 45-60 days. "Our main market is the US, but we also sell to South America and Europe," Poon says.

Eastrade's production base is a 46,000-square-metre factory in Shenzhen, in southern China, with about 1,000 workers

Written by Liza Lee

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