1 Nov 2003
A Ready Market (HKTDC Houseware, Vol 02,2003)
Vol. 2, 2003
Tri-King (Asia) Ltd
Sharp knives for keen business are just one item from the wide range offered by Tri-King (Asia) Ltd
The increasing number of recession-battered US shoppers heading for dollar-discount stores has been a boon for consumer goods company Tri-King (Asia) Ltd. Tri-King has found a ready market in these stores that usually sell items for a dollar or less.
Marketing director Kennie Fong explains that the US is the company's main export market, because that is where large volume orders can be obtained.
"We work with a lot of importers and large retailers, and in the US you get a lot of dollar stores because they are mainly looking for a good price,'' he says.
The company also exports to Japan, Germany and the UK.
Price is also the greatest challenge in the market at the moment. "This has a lot to do with the economy and is also a major reason why these dollar stores are doing well," he feels.
Originally founded by Fong's father, Tri-King branched into tools and gadgets 15 years ago. In 1996, it started to offer customers a diversified kitchenware range by producing cookware.
The 25-year-old company now produces a diversified range of household products including cookware, dinnerware, cutlery, tools and gadgets. Other lines are toys, printing products and seasonal products for Halloween and Easter.
Fong says prior to 1997 business was very good, but the situation has since become a lot tougher.
"The global economy has been in recession, so business is harder these days because of price competition. I don't know what business will be like this year because of the war issue in the US. If there is a war, I think people would rather save money because it will affect business. Material prices will be hit. If oil prices go up so too will item prices - and that will affect people's buying power," he believes.
Fong also sees growing competition from Chinese mainland-owned factories that are improving their manufacturing techniques to meet international standards. However, he has confidence Hong Kong's long experience in the manufacturing field will continue to give it an edge.
"The mainland factories are progressing especially well in techniques and quality, although they do not yet meet Hong Kong levels," he says.
Most of the company's cookware is made from stainless steel, including tri-ply, which consists of three layers of compressed stainless steel. Its most popular item is the household die-cast line of tools and gadgets featuring soft grip handles that are comfortable and easy to hold.
Tri-King, as a medium-sized company, works on an OEM basis and can tailor specifications to suit customers' needs. Fong says orders can vary from 3,000 pieces to 200,000 or more, while FOB Hong Kong prices, including items for dollar-discount stores, range from US$0.20 to more than US$10 for deluxe 20-piece stainless steel sets.
Prices for household tools and gadgets range from US$1-2, while cookware prices average US$8 and more depending on the set.
Plastic from Taiwan and metal from Korea are used to manufacture the company's products at its ISO 9002-certified Shenzhen factory on the mainland employing 1,000 workers.
WRITTEN BY SUSAN SCHWARTZ
Tri-King (Asia) Ltd
Units 401-4, Blk A,
Hong Kong Industrial Centre,
489-491 Castle Peak Rd,
Cheung Sha Wan,
Kowloon, Hong Kong
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