4 April 2007
Distinctive & Delightful(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 04,2007)
Hobbies & Collectibles
|This collectible series of glass products with an animal/insect theme from Yancheng Aoman Arts & Crafts Fty of the Chinese mainland amuses many serious collectors around the world|
The increasing role of the Chinese mainland in toy affairs was a subject brought up by many visitors, while Hong Kong suppliers steadfastly declared that the market sought not only price but also quality - which factor they universally claimed for themselves.
Those taking a deeper interest in the hobby goods and games and related collectibles sector would have found a representative number of exhibitors fearless in regard to competition from the digital onslaught.
For example, mainland firm Yancheng Aoman Arts & Crafts Fty was doing brisk business in its range of glass collectible figurines.
"We have many kinds of characters among our glass craft items, and we offer shapes such as people, animals, flowers, trees, and even buildings. The options are endless. We sell a lot of these figurines in Europe, especially Italy," declared general manager Wang Yue, noting that the retail consumer is usually a young person looking for a gift, or perhaps a tourist looking for a souvenir.
Wang also confirmed little movement in either cost or selling prices. "One good point about manufacturing in glass is the price stability of the raw materials," the general manager added. "Crystal, for example, is far more expensive than glass and is used more for the high-end. At our level, glass is readily accepted by buyers."
Apart from the Hong Kong fair, Yancheng also attends the Canton Trade Fair. However, the focus is always on the international buyer and the firm is not looking to sell its products on the mainland.
Production of Yancheng's glassware and other lines, including dolls and soft toys, takes place at the firm's plant in Shanghai, Jiangsu Province.
Meanwhile, Malaysian company Sun Ta Toys SDN BHD, established in 1987, keeps in touch with traditional demand for toys with a line of jigsaw puzzles and some long-time favourite games such as checkers and snakes and ladders.
"We also have a range of self-assembly toys, sometimes called DIY toys, that children can build themselves," said special assistant A. C. Yaw, adding that this series includes a jeep, aircraft and helicopter all made from plastic and sold complete with a selection of paints for colouring the finished models.
"There is also a series of play sets - a baby room, a bedroom and a kitchen. In addition, we have everything from baby building blocks to table games such as pool and billiards for teenagers," added Yaw.
Sun Ta has a customer base in Europe and in the US. "So we must attend other fairs," Yaw advised. "For example, the Nuremberg Toy Fair is important to us, as are the April Hong Kong Gifts and Premium Fair and the October Hong Kong International Toys and Gifts Show. We understand that we need to spend a certain time, about three to five years, to build a healthy client list and to allow customers time to get to know us."
Sun Ta manufactures at a 250-worker, 30,000-square-foot factory in Melaka, Malaysia, and accepts minimum orders of one TEU for delivery 30-45 days after order confirmation.
Hailing from Europe, staff from the German company Carromco-Sport-Games, GmbH & Co KG, established in 1986, were very upbeat about the fair and the reception accorded the firm's goods. Carromco offers a range of sporting goods, including its flagship product line comprising a series of computerised electronic dartboards.
Martina Wolck, responsible for international marketing and sales, said the firm has been producing dartboards under its own brand name for 18 years. "We are highly proactive," she added, "and in addition to our head office in Germany we have an office in Hong Kong to handle all the production procedures. We manufacture on the Chinese mainland and Malaysia."
The company is selling in more than 20 European countries, Africa, the US and Asia. "Our electronic dartboard is very successful," said Wolck. "There are a variety of models and sizes suitable for different markets. They reach toyshops, department stores, sports supply shops and even hyper-markets."
The electronic feature lies in the game's scoring method, which is automatically tabulated and displayed on either an LCD or LED screen. Models show various data, including players' scores, the number of games available and their options.
Two examples are the Cobra 501, which includes 16 different games with 125 variations and an LCD readout. By comparison, model Scara 701 includes 31 games with 184 variations, and nine LEDs. These models are usually sold under the SMARTNESS label.
Carromco-Sport-Games also offers traditional dartboards, table soccer and table billiards games and, more recently, air hockey. After-sales service support is provided for technical help. Minimum order size is one TEU and delivery time is 45 days.
Locally, Hing Lun Industrial Co Ltd is a Hong Kong family-owned business that was established in 1982. "Our main product for the fair is a battery-operated sewing machine," said product manager Maggie Hui.
"Our full line of these toy sewing machines includes models that can chain stitch, either single or double thread, and operate in a way that children aged six years and up can handle. Although toys, children really can learn how to sew with these little machines. We have seven different colours available and our customers can select any colour within the seven if the quantities are about 1,000 pieces."
One example of the firm's range is battery-operated sewing machine model PU1867, which measures 25.7(L) x 10.9 (W) x 21.8cm (H). This model produces a straight chain stitch (single thread) and has a working light, on/off switch, drawer, carry handle, foot pedal control and manual operation.
PU1867 comes with four assorted spools of coloured thread and can use an AC adaptor or two D-size batteries (neither included). A needle threader and tape measure are included. The item is packaged in a window box, and can be supplied in packs of six or 12 per carton (each carton measures 63x44x48cm). Where requested, a customer can have a safety cover added to the product.
Hui says the company sells mostly to Europe and the US, and usually on an OEM basis. "We also offer various sewing accessories and several magnetic games, and we try our best to keep all product prices stable even though raw material costs rise."
While satisfied with business, Hui confessed that it is nonetheless very competitive. "We have both local and mainland competitors, depending on the product, but buyers know that the quality is still in Hong Kong," she asserted. "Some buyers who did place orders with mainland firms experienced problems with quality and so came back to us."
Hing Lun does not have a minimum order requirement, and promises delivery 35-45 days after order confirmation from its 60,000-square-foot, 150-worker factory in Shenzhen.
Among other notable exhibits were the Japanese Castle Collection Part 2 and the F-14 Tomcat in a modern fighter series from Doyusha Model Co Ltd of Japan; Sunshine Initiative Australia launched its futuristic 3D board game, Intercept, as the firm looked for business partners; while a classy collection of dinosaurs from COG Ltd - in its 10th year of participation - showed that, once again, Hong Kong can produce an incredible array of toys and games.
TEXT BY TONY HENDERSON
Hing Lun Industrial Co Ltd
5/F, Yip Hing Fty Bldg
332 Kwun Tong Rd
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Wonderful Toys (HK) Co Ltd
Beverley Commercial Centre
87-105 Chatham Rd
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon