31 March 2004
Hong Kong Household
Vol. 2, 2004
Timed To Perfection
Harvest Way Ltd combines a digital clock with its green lizard-shaped kitchen timer, complete with four suction caps on its feet and a tail-like hook
There's nowhere in the house that needs accurate timers more than the kitchen, but that doesn't mean these practical items are only functional. Indeed, many Hong Kong manufacturers put "fun" into function by giving timers eye-catching twists in terms of shapes and colours.
Harvest Way Ltd is one such company. This gifts and premiums manufacturer carries two electronic timers in plastic - one in the shape of a lizard and a second that looks like a mini toaster.
"We concentrate on good design but we also make sure the items are practical with, for example, clock and timer functions," says marketing manager Cora Tse.
"We do OEM and ODM work for customers ranging from wholesalers to retailers and premiums companies in the US and Europe. This style also suits the Japan market where we are increasing our share. We offer total solutions including design, tooling, moulding and assembly," she adds.
Unit prices are less than US$1.50 FOB Hong Kong, the minimum order is 2,000 pieces per model and delivery is 30 days after confirmation of order.
"These timers are produced at our mainland Shenzhen factory, which is ISO 9001-certified," Tse says, adding that the 40,000-square-foot plant employs 200-300 workers and produces about 100,000 timers a month.
Typically, the unit price for an unusual oval-shaped timer incorporating aluminium and rubber is US$1.50. All prices are FOB Hong Kong, the minimum order is 3,000 pieces and delivery is 45-60 days after order confirmation.
Europe (especially Germany and France) and the US each account for about 40% of exports, although the two markets are very different. "We produce some traditional timers because they still sell well in the US," she says. "However, Europeans prefer the trendy items."
The balance goes to Asia, mainly Japan, and Cheung says that Vigor is keen to increase business in the region and is targeting Korea.
Meanwhile, Tonzex Technology Stationery (HK) Ltd manufactures and distributes a wide range of electronic items including timers suitable for use in the kitchen.
One model is a straightforward electronic countdown timer, while another has four functions - calendar, timer, alarm and temperature - each accessed by turning the timer switch through 90 degrees.
Both models come in ABS sourced from Taiwan or the mainland. The unit price for the simple timer is US$0.65 and that of the multifunction timer US$1.40 FOB Hong Kong for orders of 10,000 pieces.
"However, the minimum order is 5,000 pieces," says sales manager Eric Ng. "Delivery is about 30 days after order confirmation."
Tonzex's factory is in mainland Dongguan and boasts a floor space of 40,000 square metres and more than 3,000 skilled employees. The plant is ISO 9002 certified.
"Our strategy is to build long-lasting relationships with business partners by manufacturing the best products and providing competitive prices," Ng says. "We develop new products to meet the needs of changing markets, and R&D and marketing are very important. We also attend exhibitions overseas."
Another manufacturer, TBV Technology Co Ltd, specialises in digital electronic kitchen timers. "We design products that have added-value functions that make them more convenient," says sales manager Andy Choi.
TBV carries two styles, one with minutes/seconds and the other hours/minutes functions. Each has a magnet on the back and some have a vibrate function. "For catalogue purposes we show four colours of each, but we can mould different colours to suit customers," says Choi.
FOB Hong Kong prices range from US$1.00-1.50 depending on function, production takes place at a 1,000-square-metre mainland factory staffed by 200 workers, and ISO 9002 certification is pending.
"The minimum order is 2,000 pieces and delivery is about three weeks after order confirmation," Choi says. The company produces about 100,000 items a month, including OEM work and its own TBV brand using ICs from Taiwan, LCDs from Hong Kong and plastic from Korea.
"Our OEM customers are US distributors as we are flexible and happy to take customers' ideas and help them create a new look. The majority of customers are in the US, with others in Southeast Asia and the UK, and we are looking to increase sales in Europe," says Choi.
Good timing is everything and, with their emphasis on trendy design and seeking new opportunities in the market, Hong Kong's kitchen-timer manufacturers can be counted on every time.
BY ANN WILLIAMS
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