1 April 2003
Home Helpers (HKTDC Houseware, Vol 01,2003)
Vol. 1, 2003
Mantex Industries Ltd
Mantex Industries Ltd offers a competitive combination of price and quality for its OEM and private-label range kitchen appliances.
MANTEX Industries Ltd got off to a head start in 1993 by inheriting the trading arm of a firm that had switched its focus from manufacturing ceiling fans to investing in property.
Two employees of that company - Wong Tak Ming and Tse Chak Man - seized the opportunity to go it alone and co-founded Mantex.
"Some of the factories we had worked with on the Chinese mainland wanted to cooperate with us and, as the former company also had some customers, we just kept the business going," says director Wong, who handles sales, marketing and shipping. Co-director Tse concentrates on product development, production control and inspection.
Although Mantex dropped ceiling fans early on, the company has since broadened its scope to include coffee makers, food processors, toasters, blenders, electric grills, hotplate cookers and fan heaters.
Pure trading accounts for about 80% of business while, on the manufacturing side, sales of coffee makers and food processors make up the balance. Major export markets are Greece, Italy, Turkey and Jamaica.
An OEM and private-label supplier, Mantex prides itself on offering a competitive combination of price and quality for its low- to medium-price goods.
"The products we trade are sourced from five or six factories in Guangdong Province on the Chinese mainland. We choose items that meet our quality standards and delivery schedules," says Wong.
Mantex began manufacturing its own merchandise several years ago. "Producing selected items offers the prospect of more stable revenues than pure trading, which is often seasonal," he says.
However, there is no intention of changing its trading to manufacturing ratio. "Trading offers greater flexibility and there are no worries about overheads," Wong explains.
Production is subcontracted to a factory employing 100 workers. "We produce a maximum of 50,000 items a month. The coffee maker, our latest product, is made of plastic from a design created by our engineers. We make about 20,000 of these each month, with 12,000 going to a customer in Greece," he says.
Another development has seen the company take a detour from its kitchen-oriented products into a more decorative front. Recently, it began producing painted, gold-trimmed ceramic eggs for European markets and now exports 100,000 eggs per month.
"Each egg opens up and you can store small items like jewellery inside. We won this business because a buyer had problems with his supplier," Wong says.
On-time delivery is a top priority at Mantex. "We make a judgement call about how soon we can deliver, and we stick to it," says Wong, adding that this is thanks to a careful choice of collaborating factories.
By pursuing a cautious, conservative business philosophy, the firm has weathered various economic difficulties over the years. On two occasions, for example, customers failed to pay for goods and Mantex suffered financial losses. "We learned from those experiences and imposed stricter payment terms as a result," says Wong.
The company's first two years in business were its best on record. However, the years 1996 and 2002 have also been strong. For the future, Wong would like to expand into new markets but, ever careful, he plans to do so systematically. "Our first concern is to find how we can serve our customers better," Wong adds.
WRITTEN BY ANDREA PAWLYNA
Mantex Industries Ltd
Unit 2108, Asia Trade Centre,
79 Lei Muk Rd, Kwai Chung,
New Territories, Hong Kong
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