6 July 2004
Hong Kong Gifts, Premiums and Stationery
Uni-Lockey Mfg Co Ltd's key holders can double as (from top) voice recorders, bottle openers and photo frames
Hong Kong manufacturers have unlocked the vast potential of key holders and come up with new designs that appeal to buyers in many overseas markets. Offering different shapes, sizes and features, these have now developed into highly customised advertising mediums that also promote products, services and corporate images.
Drawing on its 25 years of manufacturing expertise, Uni-Lockey Mfg Co Ltd has continued to produce a number of innovative designs every month. "Functional key chains, which account for nearly half of our total output, are the market trend," says marketing manager Johnny Li.
"Quite a number of these products are generating good sales in Europe and the US." Sales in other potential markets such as South America, Japan and Asia are fast catching up, he adds.
One of the hot favourites from Uni-Lockey is a voice-recording key chain with an FOB Hong Kong unit price of US$1.80.
"The model can make a recording of up to 10 seconds, and also has a key-light function," Li notes. "We have a vast pool of inspirational ideas. Customers are free to mix-and-match a variety of features to create their own unique products."
The ODM manufacturer also boasts another popular design, a retractable key holder that comes in two materials. "The plastic version costs US$0.25 per unit and the metal one US$0.50," Li says.
"Users may clip the key holder onto a handbag or a belt and pull it out when they need it. There is a mechanism inside the holder that allows it to retract automatically."
Uni-Lockey's ISO 9001-certified factory in Shenzhen on the Chinese mainland covers 18,000 square metres. The firm employs 1,000 workers to manufacture products from an array of materials imported from Australia, Korea and Japan. The monthly production capacity is 2.5 million key chains. Minimum orders are 5,000 pieces for delivery 30 days after confirmation.
Multifunctional designs have been central to Yeung's Mfg Ltd's success. This policy has helped the company's key chains to become popular promotional gifts, says sales manager Stanley Yeung.
"To boost their promotional value, we try to add more eye-catching features like thermometers, compasses and can-openers," he adds.
Since its inception in 1997, Yeung's has gained a strong foothold in the OEM sector. "Though we are engaged in OEM, we have plans to do more R&D work to proactively present new ideas to customers," Yeung adds.
Designers at Yeung's have been very successful in developing new concepts using different shapes and materials, with manufacturing done at its factory in the mainland's Dongguan. An appealing design it introduced recently is a metal, 3D, spinning key chain priced at US$6-7 FOB Hong Kong per dozen.
The company ships an assortment of custom-made key chains to the US, Canada, Europe and Australia, where a mature advertising business prevails, Yeung says.
The company requires a minimum order of 120 dozen key chains, with delivery taking 20-30 days depending on the quantity.
At Charter Mass Industrial Ltd, in addition to new shapes and materials, the company excels in the application of new technology, claims sales manager Albert Lai.
"Our latest key holder collection incorporates various images on a lithophane graphic slide, which is an innovative technique applied to a piece of plastic," Lai explains. The face of the key holder reveals a 3D image when held against a light. Key chains in this series sell at US$0.15 FOB Hong Kong per piece, plus a US$2,500 mould charge per model.
"The best feature of this concept is that the technique can extend to the manufacture of other gift and premium items, and even educational materials," he notes.
Founded in 1992, Charter Mass's 30,000-square-foot factory in Shenzhen on the mainland needs a minimum order of 30,000 key holders. After a client confirms an order, delivery is made within 25-30 days to its major markets in Europe and the US.
Another maker of key chains is Maygrand Int'l Ltd, which specialises in high quality products for a number of big brand names.
"Over the years we have successfully sealed deals with many famous brands such as Disney, McDonald's and the organisers of the 2004 Olympic Games," says general manager Margaret Sin, adding: "The 2008 Olympic Games is the next target."
Having been in the field since 1991, Maygrand also produces many custom-made items for promotional houses in many countries. Among the company's in-house designs is a scenery series that costs US$0.85 FOB Hong Kong per unit.
The company has a 20,000-square-metre, 1,500-worker factory in the mainland's Guangdong Province. Its monthly production capacity of up to 500,000 key chains is mostly destined for Japan, Europe and the US.
Maygrand delivers a minimum order of 500 pieces per design within 15-20 days of order confirmation.
Companies looking for an innovative promotional product to unlock vital markets can always rely on Hong Kong makers of key holders.
WRITTEN BY JIM SMITH
Henryford Metal & Plastic Mfg Co Ltd
Unit 4, 15/F, Blk 4
Tai Ping Ind Centre
51A Ting Kok Rd
Tai Po, New Territories
Maygrand Int'l Ltd
Rm 4, 32/F
Cable TV Tower
9 Hoi Shing Rd
Tsuen Wan, New Territories
Uni-Lockey Mfg Co Ltd
Unit E, 18/F
World Tech Centre
95 How Ming St
Yeung's Mfg Ltd
Sun Kwong Ind Bldg
1059-1061 Tung Chau West St
Lai Chi Kok, Kowloon
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