31 March 2004
Hong Kong Gifts, Premiums and Stationery
For Special Occasions
Paddy's Collection Ltd creates these trendy handmade greeting cards for customers in Europe
Greeting cards and invitations have a timeless appeal, and their personalised messages celebrate milestone events such as birthdays and weddings, and bring families and friends closer during seasonal celebrations at Christmas and Chinese New Year.
At Veb Co Ltd the focus is on handmade cards with a one-of-a-kind look for that special person. "Our cards feature beads, sequins, fabric or plastic attachments," says sales manager Maria Young.
Primarily an OEM supplier established seven years ago, Veb's 1,000 workers at its Chinese mainland plant in Panyu turn out 600,000 cards and stationery items each month. Most are exported to the US and Europe.
The company's up-to-date facilities are equipped to handle a full range of products from low- to high-end. "We do dollar-shop items up to the kind of products that would sell in Neiman-Marcus," says Young, adding that all production processes are handled in-house.
Paper is imported from Indonesia and Europe, and accessories are sourced from Hong Kong and the mainland. A minimum order is 3,000 cards for shipment 30 days after order confirmation.
Prices depend on volume. "The larger the order, the lower the cost," says Young.
Simpler, less complicated cards are the priority at David Hot Blocking Press Ltd. "We used to do a lot of cards that had light bulbs or would play melodies, but too many people are doing them now and they've become low-end," says director Virginia Ho.
Revealing that the company has been in business since 1967, she adds: "We're now focusing more on four-colour cards that add value with embossing and engraving or gold foil and glitter."
The company's greeting cards celebrate Christmas, Chinese New Year, anniversaries and birthdays as well as Western, Hindu, Asian and Islamic holidays and are exported worldwide. "We are best known for traditional designs, but we also have more modern ones," Ho says.
The company's three-member design team and a team of freelance artists has developed an inventory of more than 1,000 designs. Embossing and engraving are favourites on invitation cards for weddings, birthdays, graduations and baby announcements.
David Hot Blocking produces about 200,000 cards per month, 70% in Hong Kong and about 30% at its factory in Zhongshan on the mainland.
"Machine-made cards are manufactured in Hong Kong and handmade ones on the mainland," says Ho.
"Cards are priced from HK$0.50-3.00 per piece FOB Hong Kong, while invitation cards cost more at HK$5-15 per piece because of higher quality paper and labour-intensive extras such as bow-tied ribbons," she says.
A minimum order is 10,000 cards but, for a higher price, the company will accept orders from individuals for as few as 100-200 cards.
Christmas card specialist Panastar Printing Ltd handles OEM orders, primarily from the US, Europe and Australia. More than half of the 400,000-700,000 boxed sets (20 cards and envelopes) that the company manufactures monthly are handmade at its factory in mainland Shenzhen.
Each card and envelope set costs from US$0.02-0.70 FOB Hong Kong. "With the success of the Internet, and email cards, we need to use special effects such as hot stamping, embossing, fabric and flocking to compete," says company sales manager Godfrey Lui. That, plus an emphasis on design, has helped enhance sales, he adds.
The firm works with a team of freelance designers and maintains an inventory of about 100 designs. "We try to combine Hong Kong and Western design ideas," says Lui, adding that about 30% of the cards produced carry the Panastar brand. The company also produces invitation cards on an OEM basis.
A minimum order is 3,000-5,000 pieces for delivery 30-45 days after order confirmation.
OEM company Kai Yuen Development (HK) Co is known for both handmade and machine-printed greeting cards. Two-thirds of the 400,000-500,000 pieces the firm manufactures each month at its factory in Shenzhen are machine-printed while the rest are handmade, says marketing manager Jacky Cheung.
"The trend is handmade, more complicated cards that have an electronic feature such as music or lights. As prices of ICs are coming down, so these cards are not as expensive," explains Cheung.
One new type of card introduced recently is a fibre optic light design. "The lights change colour and this design is very popular," says Cheung.
The firm sources its paper from both Hong Kong and Taiwan and exports its cards to the US and Europe. "We are planning to sell to Korea and Japan this year," he adds.
A minimum order is 5,000-10,000 pieces for delivery 30 days after order confirmation.
With a long-standing reputation for versatility and flexibility, Hong Kong's greeting card manufacturers pride themselves on the quality of their work and competitive prices.
WRITTEN BY ANDREA PAWLYNA
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