13 Oct 2004
Hong Kong Gifts, Premiums and Stationery
Bar & Drinks Accessories
A Natural Business
Nirvana (Asia) Ltd uses MDF to its best advantage with this attractive pen stand, vase and ashtray
While modern plastics and metals dominate the packaging industry, wood continues to find a steady following among manufacturers and buyers of gifts. Furthermore, while MDF (medium density fibreboard) is growing in popularity for reasons of cost, natural wood gifts remain plentiful. Fortunately, Hong Kong offers both MDF and natural wood products.
Having entered the wood gifts business in 2002, Nirvana (Asia) Ltd now offers a wide range of MDF photo frames, tissue boxes, ashtrays and other tobacco-related items, vases and desktop knick-knacks.
According to assistant marketing manager Jean Man, Nirvana does not use MDF for any environmental reason but, rather, because it finds it more easy and advantageous to work with.
"For example, we can use veneered MDF to get the exact finish we require," he explains.
"Our current range includes all sizes of photo frames and a selection of desktop items such as pen stands and trays. We also offer accessories especially tailored for home dcor, and we make jewellery boxes besides larger items like mirrors, magazine holders and CD racks."
While all of these items are fully finished, Nirvana also offers knockdown models for compact transportation.
Production takes place at a 6,000-square-metre, 300-worker plant near Shenzhen on the mainland. The minimum order is 300 pieces per item, and delivery time is 35-45 days with exports going mainly to Japan, Europe and the US.
Man says that MDF, manufactured under pressure to compress fibrous materials into a chipboard-like finished product, is sourced on the Chinese mainland.
On the other hand, Sun Ngai Mfy Ltd comprehensively manufactures photo frames from natural wood.
Established in 1991, the firm welcomes clients' specifications for frames of any size, design and special features.
"We concentrate on natural wood photo frames and we try to meet whatever criteria a customer might have. Apart from frames, we also do wood photo albums shaped like books," says marketing executive Mandy Tam. "This year, we have developed an entirely new range of wood photo storage boxes and this is currently a best-selling line."
She points out that while the term "wood" often means the natural finish of the material, this is not always the case. "Not everyone wants the natural look and some markets prefer a coloured finish no matter the type of wood."
Sun Ngai frequently uses woods such as alder or pine, but also handles requests for other types. "Most of our wood is imported, some from the US, and we stick with common types and do not offer any rare or special varieties as the demand is simply not there," says Tam. "The main thing is, we do custom designs and when a client sends us a drawing we just follow the instructions."
Production takes place at Sun Ngai's 2,200-square-metre, 350-worker plant in Dongguan on the mainland. A minimum order is 100 cartons of assorted items with at least 600 pieces per item per colour. Delivery is 45 days following confirmation of order and major export markets include the US, Europe and Japan.
For elegant wood items without high costs, Oscar Collections offers a range of well-finished goods. "We get a lot of return custom," says proprietor Oscar Chan. "This year, we also attended our very first trade fair - the Hong Kong Houseware Fair - and were very happy with the number of buyers who visited our booth."
Chan says Oscar uses machinery to manufacture most items to ensure that products are uniformly shaped and have square edges and neat joints. "Our jewellery boxes are typical of our approach, as are our spectacles cases and watch boxes. These are not made from natural wood but from MDF, and feature a PVC wood-grain or leather-look finish," says Chan.
"We also do selected colours like gold or silver and, using MDF in this way gives consistency in quality while the products look natural but do not have the disadvantage of deforming in humid or excessively dry weather."
A minimum order is one TEU and delivery time is 21 days after order confirmation. Production takes place at the firm's factory in Shenzhen, using raw materials from the mainland and Malaysia. The finished products are exported worldwide.
Another manufacturer, 1992-established Hui Hua Co Ltd, offers various kinds of wood gifts, many priced at the low-end of the market.
"We have a range of polished wood ornaments," says export manager Martin Tsang. "These are suitable for hanging from fashionable belts, while others are used to decorate key rings. We also produce office items, although this is not a specially targeted area."
Hui Hua also focuses on pencil holders and name-cardholders, and offers pen sets in all-wood housings. "We use only natural wood," says Tsang. "Maple, walnut and oak come from the US, pine comes from New Zealand and rosewood from South Africa."
Tsang says that compared with plastic or metal boxes, Hui Hua's products are destined for a smaller, more specialised market and that "the FOB Hong Kong unit price range is US$0.15-5.00 per item".
Clearly, Hong Kong has all you need in a wide range of MDF and wood boxes, frames or gifts.
WRITTEN BY TONY HENDERSON
Charter Centre Co Ltd
889 Cheung Sha Wan Rd
Lai Chi Kok, Kowloon
Hui Hua Co Ltd
Unit 1, 15/F
485 Castle Peak Rd
Nirvana (Asia) Ltd
Heng Ngai Jewelry Centre
4 Hok Yuen St East
Hung Hom, Kowloon
11 On Lai St
Sha Tin, New Territories
Rock Lam Industrial Ltd
Rm 1610, Tower 1
Ever Gain Plaza
88 Container Port Rd
Kwai Chung, New Territories
Sun Ngai Mfy Ltd
Rm 29, 10/F
Thriving Ind Centre
26-38 Sha Tsui Rd
Tsuen Wan, New Territories
Win Channel Int'l Ltd
Flat 1, 14/F
Profit Ind Bldg
1-15 Kwai Fung Crescent
Kwai Chung, New Territories
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