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Back To School Products(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 08,2006)

Top Of The Class

Kai Yum Int'l Paper Products Ltd supplies the US, Europe and Hong Kong with stationery items such as colourful notebooks and writing sets

The yard bells will soon be ringing, and that means it's time to restock on a wide range of back-to-school products. This is a sector where Hong Kong companies have firmly established themselves, offering everything ranging from pencil cases to school bags and art supplies.

For example, Tiger Enterprise Corp has decades of experience manufacturing products that are popular with schoolchildren. Established in 1972, the company is best known for its pencil cases, pencil pouches and schoolbags.

One favourite pencil pouch (Model 1136) in the shape of a shoe has been selling well for the past 10 years. The novelty factor of the design makes it appealing for five-year-olds and up, according to sales manager Betty Chan.

"We sell more than 100,000 of these pouches each year," she says. The FOB Hong Kong unit price of this item is US$0.55. "The shoe design and the colour of the zippered PVC pouch change each year. This year, the colour scheme is yellow and white."

With more than 100 other models to choose from, Tiger Corp's full complement of pencil pouches ranges in price from US$0.45-1.00 each.

The firm's pencil cases, typically filled with an assortment of pencils, markers, rulers, stencils, erasers and a notepad, are aimed at eight-year-olds and up. Made of polyester/nylon/PVC, the zippered cases sell for US$1.20-3.50 per piece. Schoolbags made of the same material and featuring one or two compartments inside are priced at US$6-12 per piece.

"Some customers like matched sets of pouches, cases and schoolbags," Chan notes. "Bright colours are hot with young children, while teens prefer darker, more conservative colours."

The ISO 9001-certified company uses a special system of spinal padding to make its schoolbags more comfortable, and also applies protective anti-bacterial coatings to the outside of the bag.

Minimum order value is US$5,000 per shipment, with deliveries mainly to Germany, Taiwan, Singapore, Japan and Turkey 30-60 days after order confirmation.

Meanwhile, bright, cheerful stationery sets from Lee Shing Fat Industries Ltd are perfect for adding some zip to a student's desk. The sets, made of GPPS and ABS, sell for up to US$2 each FOB Hong Kong and can hold pens, pencils, pencil sharpeners, rulers, paper clips, scissors, staplers and staple removers.

This 24-year-old company markets its products mainly to children under 15, says director George Lee. "We can mix the items in the stationery sets according to what the customer wants," he adds. "Some sets have only three or four pieces while others have up to 10."

For example, model 40442A is a seven-piece set that includes a ruler, stapler, staples and four kinds of paper clips, and is priced at US$1.25 per set.

"It's also possible to buy individual items within the sets. A 15cm ruler, for example, sells for US$0.15," says Lee.

Germany, Kuwait, the US and Canada are among the OEM/ODM firm's biggest export markets. Minimum orders of 1,000-2,000 sets, depending on the item, are delivered 45-60 days after order confirmation.

Backpacks are another indispensable item for today's schoolchildren, and Hang Lung (Lee's) Mfg Co Ltd has been satisfying its customers with backpacks, schoolbags, duffel bags, cooler bags, wallets and waist pouches since 1978.

This OEM/ODM firm has two factories in Shenzhen and Maoming on the Chinese mainland that employ 1,200 well-trained workers who turn out 200,000 items each month for export to markets such as Germany, the US, France, Italy, the UK and Malaysia.

Backpack model HL-18008, which sells for US$3.50 each FOB Hong Kong, is a typical example. The green and grey bag made of 600-denier polyester, 420-denier dobby and nylon mesh, features one main zippered compartment and an outside zippered pocket.

"Each of our backpacks utilises 3-5 different materials or fabrics to make them more attractive," says marketing manager Gordon Ma.

"Extra features include padded carrying handles, thick shoulder pads for extra comfort, rubber holes to allow headphone wires through and plastic buckles for hanging extra gear."

Unit prices for backpacks generally range from US$1.80-6.50 for a minimum order requirement of 1,000 pieces. Shipments go out 30-45 days after order confirmation.

For high-quality paints and art supplies, ColArt HK Ltd bills itself as a unique one-stop shop. A subsidiary of the UK's renowned ColArt Group, the Hong Kong arm concentrates on OEM and private label production.

ColArt's colours and brushes factory in Tianjin on the mainland is the country's largest. The firm also operates a factory in mainland Ningbo that produces and sources easels and canvasses.

Acrylic and poster paints are among the company's best-selling items. One standard set of poster paints (model 98485800) in eight 22ml pots with a brush and palette, sells for about US$2.50 each FOB Tianjin.

With the US and Europe the company's main markets, all products meet CE and ASTM export requirements. "We focus on safety and quality," says managing director Gerry Ma, adding that the minimum order is 5,000 pieces or sets for delivery 90 days after order confirmation.

When classes start this autumn, Hong Kong firms expect that many of their functional, competitively-priced products will once again make the grade.



ColArt Hong Kong Ltd
Suite 3109, Tower 1
The Gateway
Harbour City
25 Canton Rd
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2872-6029
Fax: 852-2872-6039
Web: www.colarthk.com

Da Mao Enterprises Ltd
4/F, Tower 2
Tern Centre
251 Queen's Rd Central
Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2544-4399
Fax: 852-2545-8676
Web: www.damao.com.hk

Hang Kin Co
Rm B1205
New Trade Plaza
6 On Ping St
Sha Tin, New Territories
Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2686-8889
Fax: 852-2686-8892
Web: www.hangkin.com

Hang Lung (Lee's) Mfg Co Ltd
Flats 1-3, 16/F
Million Fortune Ind Centre
34-36 Chai Wan Kok St
Tsuen Wan, New Territories
Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2499-7132
Fax: 852-2414-6071
Web: www.hllees.com

Kai Yum Int'l Paper Products Ltd
Fook Hing Ind Bldg
33 Lee Chung St
Chai Wan
Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2557-7112
Fax: 852-2557-7336
Web: www.kaiyum.com.hk

Lee Shing Fat Industries Ltd
Rm 1013
Peninsula Square
18 Sung On St
Hung Hom, Kowloon
Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2330-3370
Fax: 852-2766-3619

Tat Wing Int'l Industrial Co Ltd
Flat 1, 7/F, Blk E
Tuen Mun Ind Centre
76 Pui To Rd
Tuen Mun, New Territories
Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2462-3308
Fax: 852-2456-3159
Web: www.tatwing.com.hk

Tiger Enterprise Corp
Bold Win Ind Bldg
16-18 Wah Sing St
Tai Lin Pai Rd
Kwai Chung, New Territories
Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2423-3207
Fax: 852-2480-5841
Web: www.tiger-enterprise.com