1 Oct 2002
For The Smart Desk(HKTDC Gifts, Premium & Stationery, Vol 04,2002)
Grooming For Success
For The Smart Desk
Uni-Pac Int'l Ltd
|Uni-Pac Int'l Ltd views the stationery market for young people as large and lucrative. Shown are cute and compact acrylic stationery sets that double as gift items and are perfect for the younger generation.|
Two years ago, Uni-Pac Int'l Ltd, which began in 1996 as a manufacturer and trader named Sound Jade Investment Ltd, consolidated operations and restructured under the Uni-Pac banner.
"Uni-Pac is a dedicated manufacturer and exporter specializing in home and office stationery items ranging from desktop organizers and business card holders to hand-operated shredders, clips, punches and staplers among a host of items typical of the home or business office desk," says Uni-Pac director Brian Cheung.
"While we continue to source items for our regular customers as a form of service, we now concentrate on the manufacturing side," he says.
The company's manufacturing facility, located in Shenzhen on the Chinese mainland, employs 700 workers and boasts 60 injection-moulding machines. "When we have tight deadlines, we may have to work the production lines 24 hours a day and seven days a week," says Cheung.
Many products warrant hand-finishing and individual inspection as they roll off the assembly lines. "We need a large workforce to give each item that last check to ensure quality," he says. Most of the raw materials come from Taiwan.
OEM projects are always welcome at Uni-Pac, while a team of 10 in-house designers constantly provides new and innovative creations. "We keep the design team well informed of what is happening in the market and the latest trends, particularly in Japan where they produce some of the most appealing and stylish items in our field," Cheung says.
"The Japan market is also important for us as an export destination, as is the US, but the largest volumes go to Europe. Demand from Japan and the US is quite similar, but Europe is different. The former two want new, colourful products, usually in acrylic, while the Europeans tend to look for more traditional items," he says.
The company sends personnel to exhibitions and trade fairs featuring stationery items, frequently using a booth in a client's name. "Our sales manager and sales team attend these shows to determine what lines buyers appear most interested in and what the latest trends are. This information is passed to our design team to help generate new creations to best meet market expectations," says Cheung.
The director says his favourite words are participation and anticipation. "It is most important to participate in trade shows and to learn from the experience, and equally important to try and anticipate the market. This is our main strategy."
On the subject of competition, Cheung says he understands the importance of offering keen prices but insists "the designs also must be attractive; it is not just about price."
He says the younger generation, usually looking for upbeat and trendy-looking desk accessories, forms a hot market segment. "This market is highly design-intensive, with huge potential if you can judge it right."
Looking ahead, Cheung sees systematic expansion for Uni-Pac. "It is risky to overreach while economic conditions are not very good. However, we do recognize the need to strengthen our ability to be more competitive," he says.
WRITTEN BY TONY HENDERSON
Uni-Pac Int'l Ltd
Rm 1301-2A, ING Tower,
308-320 Des Voeux Rd Central,
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