11 Aug 2004
Back To School Products(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 08,2004)
Back To School Products
Top Of The Class
Tiger Enterprise Corp offers this new range of schoolbags and single, double- and triple-deck pencil cases
The start of the school year sees youngsters flocking to stock up on the latest stationery, with variety, colour and attractive new designs scoring the highest marks.
This has prompted Tiger Enterprise Corp to offer more than 1,000 styles and models of stationery products such as pencil cases and pouches, schoolbags, slash bags, wallets and backpacks.
The 32-year-old company produces more than three million pieces a month for OEM customers and under its Tiger Family brand name at its 700,000-square-foot, 2,500-worker factory in Shenzhen on the Chinese mainland.
"Our most popular products are our single, double- and triple-deck pencil cases which offer coloured pencils, coloured markers, ball-point pens, erasers and sharpeners," says sales manager Betty Chan.
She explains that the triple-deck contains 12 pencils, 12 markers and a ball-point pen and costs about US$2.60 FOB Hong Kong per set, while the single-deck starts from US$0.99.
Chan says that sports, such as football and tennis, and animals, particularly horses, make popular decorative themes - and motifs are changed every year. "Currently, 3D is very popular and because we produce at our own factory prices are highly competitive."
Colours are also an important factor. "Assorted colours are popular, with blue, purple, red, orange and green attractive for boys, and pink and red favourites with girls."
Tiger Enterprise sources raw materials such as 3D lenticular, polyester, nylon, PVC, fluffy, suede, jute and leather from Taiwan, the mainland, Korea and Hong Kong.
Minimum orders of 500-1,000 pieces are delivered 30-45 days after order confirmation to key markets such as Europe, Russia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Europe is also a main market for 14-year-old manufacturer Hang Kin Co, where it sells about 80% of its pencil case sets. Other key markets for its products, which include schoolbags, cosmetic pouches and shopping bags, are Japan and North America.
Hang Kin manufactures some 150,000 pieces per month at its 2,500-square-metre, 200-worker factory in Wai Yeung on the mainland. "Business is good and we are planning to open a 5,000-square-metre factory by year-end," explains sales manager Roy Mak.
The company is mainly engaged in OEM activity. "Bright coloured pencil cases and pencil rolls are in strong demand, with materials like PVC and nylon printed fabric quite popular. For designs, customers like their own logos, action figures and animals," Mak says.
Pencil roll and case contents vary from a few pencils to a full set of coloured and lead pencils, coloured markers and stationery items such as erasers, rulers, sharpeners and geometry sets.
Unit prices for these products range from US$0.40-1.60 FOB Hong Kong for minimum orders of 3,000 pieces, delivered about 30 days after order confirmation.
Speedy delivery and more than 100 designs maintain veteran company Wah Luen Stationery Supplies Co Ltd's solid reputation in the paper, PVC and PP notebook, files and stationery products business.
Established in 1958, Wah Luen produces more than five million notebooks annually in a wide variety of colours and designs which it changes each year.
"Our most popular product is spiral notebooks and, for school children, A4 and A5 writing pads," says director Santy Tam. "Four-colour printing and fabric covers are very popular."
While customers usually specify their own designs and colours, Tam says flower designs are particularly popular. "But our capabilities go beyond process printing," explains Tam. "We add a lot of decorative treatments to covers, such as glitter, beads, shells and real flowers."
The company sources paper, PVC and PP from the mainland and paper from Thailand, Indonesia and Australia for minimum orders of 3,000 pieces. Delivery takes 30-45 days after order confirmation.
The company mainly exports worldwide to the US (40%), Australia (20%) and Europe.
Some items like coloured pencils are indispensable, and Konwell Industries (HK) Ltd produces about 20 million pencils a month.
The company specialises in quality stationery items such as coloured and lead pencils, coloured markers, ball-point pens, rulers and other stationery accessories, desk tidies, PVC pouches and bags.
Konwell has three mainland factories in Fuzhou, Dongguan, and Heshan that produce pencils, plastics, light metal items and PVC and nylon bags.
"Our most popular product is coloured pencils, which are a constant requirement for schools," explains managing director Albert Chu.
Most of the company's orders are OEM but it also produces pencils under its Qualis brand name. Konwell offers 36 colour choices in pencil packs of 12, 24 and 36 for 25,000-pack minimum orders delivered 35 days after order confirmation.
FOB Hong Kong unit prices range from about US$0.10 for a mini PVC pouch holding six coloured pencils with small sharpener, to US$0.24 for a 12-piece box, and US$0.70 for a box of 36 coloured pencils.
The US accounts for 40% of Konwell's business, followed by Europe (30-35%), where a key selling point is the company's conformity to the EN71 part 3 European non-toxic requirement.
It's this kind of attention to market requirements and consumer demand that keeps Hong Kong companies at the top of the class for quality student stationery.
WRITTEN BY SANDRA JENNER
Progressive Leather Products Mfg Ltd
Rm 1008, Tower 1
1 Hok Cheung St
Hung Hom, Kowloon
Tiger Enterprise Corp
Bold Win Ind Bldg
16-18 Wah Sing St
Tai Lin Pai Rd
Kwai Chung, New Territories