10 April 2006
Cups & Mugs(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 04,2006)
When it comes to tableware, cups and mugs are among the most versatile products available, and savvy Hong Kong manufacturers have developed a multitude of designs and materials to maximise their appeal.
For example, China Pearl (HK) Co Ltd manufactures a wide range of porcelain and stoneware mugs and cups at its 1,000-worker, ISO 9001-certified factory in Henan on the Chinese mainland.
"Most of our mugs are in porcelain, but we also produce stoneware versions as high-volume promotional items," explains general manager Anna Lam.
Two new designs, Around the World and Hearty Bear, also proved popular at February's Frankfurt fair. "We featured Paris, Rome, London and New York in our Around the World range, and will likely add more cities due to customer enthusiasm," says Lam.
Other popular mug motifs include teddy bears, especially as Valentine's Day gifts, highly colourful holiday scenes for Christmas and Easter, and animals. "We produce a variety of mug shapes, but the conical version is most popular," Lam adds.
China Pearl introduces 20-30 new design series every four months, each featuring 4-6 designs. "The number of designs changes very quickly, with customers often selecting them as private brands to give their products a distinct image," Lam observes. "Currently, OEM accounts for 30% of our business but this could reach 50% within a year."
China Pearl's mugs cost approximately US$1 each FOB the mainland, including packaging, for minimum orders of one full TEU delivered 45-60 days after order confirmation.
Lam says the firm produces 300 FEUs per month of stoneware and porcelain dinnerware and related products, with the US accounting for 50% of demand.
Specialising in a very different material, HengSheng Melamine Ware Co Ltd manufactures melamine tableware and kitchenware for children and adults. The firm offers more than 100 mug and cup designs.
"OEM accounts for 60%-70% of our business, with own/licensed characters such as Batman and Bob the Builder being popular items," says sales manager Kentto Chan, adding that animals and flowers are also in high demand. "Customers generally want four-colour decals."
Chan says 60% of HengSheng's products are for the children's market, which is particularly suited to melamine as it is difficult to chip, is dishwasher safe and withstands a wide range of temperatures.
HengSheng offers FDA and 2002/72/EEC product safety test reports at its 1,500-worker factory in Fujian Province on the mainland.
Average unit prices for mugs are US$0.30, without packaging, FOB Xiamen, for minimum orders of 5,000 pieces per design delivered 35 days after order confirmation. "Europe takes 40% of our exports, the US 20%-30% and other markets, such as Australia, the remainder," Chan adds.
Catering to people on the move is 10-year-old Phoenix Industries Group Ltd, which produces insulated travel mugs and tumblers at a 500-600 worker factory in Zhongshan on the mainland.
"Two of our most popular models are insulated travel mugs in either plastic or stainless steel. We can do standard colours such as blue, green, red, purple and transparent, depending on the model," explains merchandiser Michelle Tang. "We can also produce in most other Pantone colours for orders of 5,000 pieces per colour."
Prices are available on request for minimum orders of 2,000 pieces per item per colour, delivered 45 days after order confirmation. "Some 40% of our business is OEM," Tang adds. "The US takes 70% of our exports, while Europe is our second-biggest market."
Concentrating on the elegant, traditional English style, Stechcol Enterprise Ltd manufactures fine bone china dinner sets, teasets, cups and saucers, mugs and giftware.
The 17-year-old, ISO 9000-certified company turns out one million pieces per month at factories in Shenzhen, Chaozhou and Tangshan on the mainland that have a combined workforce of about 1,200.
Stechcol produces for its own Stechcol brand as well OEM, explains sales director Chim Kim Chong. "We offer a highly flexible, full-line service and specialise in decorative decals," Chim notes. "We have thousands of designs and introduce 200 new ones each year."
Chim also says that 90% of the company's cups and mugs are made from bone china, and are available in more than 100 styles. "We specialise in the traditional English-look featuring roses and floral designs," she adds. "Our newest styles are highly colourful in bright magenta and purple."
Stechcol can meet virtually any international decal requirement, producing as a minimum the FDA standard. It can also produce to California standard PROP65.
"For the past four years, we have continually received the SGIA Screenprinting Gold Award for specially fine decal work," Chim notes. "We can produce very fine designs of up to 28 colours for one decal design. We have an in-house decal design team, a designer in the UK, and our own decal factory."
Unit prices for mugs and cups from this maker start at US$0.80 and reach up to US$2-3, FOB Shenzhen, depending on the decoration and colour needs. "Our biggest market is Europe (40%), with Russia, Korea and the US other important areas," says Chim.
So, whether it's handy travel mugs or fine bone china designs, Hong Kong manufacturers are committed to quenching the thirst of buyers in every market niche.
WRITTEN BY SANDRA JENNER