1 May 2003
Cups & Mugs(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 05,2003)
Electrical & Home Appliances
Cups & Mugs
A Thirst For Business
Winley Industries (Far East) Ltd's selection of classic mugs includes hand-painted styles like these featuring pear motifs and a landscape
The humble cup plays a role far more important than its name: allowing us to conveniently partake of a range of hot and cold beverages at ease. Used throughout the world, the market for cups and mugs is enormous, and Hong Kong manufacturers are to the fore.
Hong Kong generally supplies in-glaze cups and mugs to a market increasingly concerned with the lead and cadmium content of eating and drinking utensils.
One such manufacturer is Winley Industries (Far East) Ltd. "Most buyers and people in the industry generally already know about in-glaze and what is involved. It is important, but not a new technology," explains company regional manager Vivian Chan.
Winley is mainly a producer of dinnerware for export, both decal and hand painted. "We are a Hong Kong company with a network of manufacturing facilities on the mainland," says Chan.
The company has in the past eight years also turned its hand to direct manufacturing. "We create a wide range of porcelain, stoneware, dolomite or earthenware and bone china utensils. Our range of cups and mugs is available in all of these materials," says Chan.
The type of finish and decoration required also plays a part in determining which material is used. "Each material has its own characteristics," says Chan. "Porcelain or stoneware is used when a customer wants to fire a decal - like a pre-printed paper - of scenery where you have a lot of fine detail."
She says the in-house design team creates a new series of designs each quarter. "We take care of all our own packaging design, too, although we out-source the actual printing."
Stoneware cup and saucer sets and mugs (left) from Join Skill Development Ltd are sturdy enough for everyday use
Also looking to market cups and mugs is Join Skill Development Ltd, working in stoneware, porcelain and dolomite to manufacture dinner sets and drinking mugs from its mainland Chaozhou factory in Guangdong Province.
"We work from ideas from our in-house design team and also information received from overseas contacts and from OEM orders. We then hand paint them or decorate them using a decal depending on what is required," says managing director Thomas Kong.
He says unit FOB Shenzhen prices are US$0.35 for hand-painted mugs (models 971024 and 98C-274-1829); US$0.33 for a 180cc stoneware cup and saucer (model JS1244); and US$0.40 for a 360cc mug (model JSM1230).
Delivery takes place 30-45 days after order confirmation. Major markets are Europe, the US and South America and, closer to home, Malaysia. Kong says a minimum order is one TEU, "but we can accept orders for mixed items."
With new products in a market that has not seen great change over the years, Summers Beam Ltd thinks it has a winner that is bound to be popular. "We are producing several versions of two new designs, a Mystery Mug and a Magic Mug," says company manager Rosita Chu.
The Mystery Mug comes in several versions. One is the Mystery Glass Mug that resembles frosted glass at room temperature and which changes colour when a cold liquid is poured into it.
"When customers are marketing these glass mugs, we suggest they use a design relating to a cool theme such as using a blue background to suggest the sea so that when the mug changes colour it produces an impressive effect," she says.
Another model is the Mystery Soup Mug. "At room temperature this mug looks just like any other. However, when a hot liquid is poured into it, the whole surface changes colour. It can also be imprinted so that when full the mug will suddenly reveal the words 'Chicken Soup' for example. These mugs come in black or any other client-specified colour," she says.
The Magic Mug variety reveals different imprinted messages when empty or when holding hot liquids.
The unit FOB Hong Kong price for a basic Magic Mug (model 218W) is US$1.25 for orders of 1,000 pieces. The Mystery Glass Mug (cold colour change model 3203) costs US$2.50 also for 1,000 pieces; the Mystery Soup Mug (hot colour change model 3208) costs US$2.55 for orders of 2,000. The Mystery Mug (hot colour change model 3202) costs US$2.40 for orders in excess of 1,000 pieces.
A company doing its own exporting and introducing a new range of travel mugs every six months is Phoenix Industries, founded in 1998.
"We have more than 100 styles," says marketing manager Fiyon Ko. "Our travel mugs have special properties and can maintain the temperature of any liquid for up to four hours, whether hot or cold beverages. The handles are chunky and good to grip, and one of our newest designs has a square bottom so it sits nicely."
Ko says the materials used include stainless steel and plastic. "Typically, a travel mug will have plastic outside and stainless steel inside, with double walls. We also have models with rubberised external surfaces, and there are stainless steel double-wall types and plastic double-wall types." Monthly production is 300,000 pieces and the company uses 18/8 grade stainless steel from Korea.
The standard delivery time is 30 days after order confirmation for minimum orders of 2,000 pieces.
WRITTEN BY TONY HENDERSON
Wah Keung Houseware Ltd
Flat D/E, 24/F, Blk 3
Golden Dragon Ind Centre
172-180 Tai Lin Pai Rd
Winley Industries (Far East) Ltd
Winfull Commercial Bldg
172-176 Wing Lok St
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