10 Jan 2007
Household Gifts(HKTDC Gifts, Premium & Stationery, Vol 01,2007)
|This retro pay phone and CD-phonograph from Armstrong Industrial Ltd make perfect household gifts for antique lovers|
Everyone loves to decorate their home with household items of all shapes and sizes, all of which make perfect gifts for consumers all over the world.
Buyers looking for everything from small crystal figurines to large oil reproductions of old masters or funky new themes that could spark the latest trend know they need look no further than Hong Kong to fill their order books.
Well-established manufacturers such as Masatex Enterprises Ltd create household gifts that find favour with discerning clients worldwide.
Masatex produces bonsai made from semiprecious stones and other manufacturers simply cannot compete, claims director Pedro Han. "The latest design features bonsai with lapis lazuli, but other manufacturers don't use lapis because it is more expensive," Han maintains. "All our designs are created in-house, and because they are unique it gives us an edge over our competition."
Besides bonsai, Masatex also manufactures a variety of attractive gift items utilising the natural beauty of semiprecious stones, such as watches, clocks and accessories.
"Currently, the trend is towards decorative items but watches and clocks are popular year-round," Han explains, adding that he believes bonsai is a future fashion.
He says product colours follow fashion trends and green, purple and orange are currently in vogue, although different markets favour different colours. "For example, Italy, France and the Netherlands are our major markets, and blue is a popular choice in Europe at the moment," Han notes.
Masatex, which has specialised in semiprecious stone products since 1984, produces 100,000-150,000 items a month at its 2,500-square-metre, 300-worker factory in Guangdong Province on the Chinese mainland.
"We require a minimum order of 500 pieces per item, and can deliver within 30 days of order confirmation," Han says, adding that FOB Hong Kong is available and unit prices range from US$1-60 per style.
Colour is also a key creative element at Union (HK) Metal Products Ltd, which manufactures home decorative items, gifts, houseware and silverware from a combination of metal, Swarovski crystals, glass, coloured enamel and wood with different types of plating.
"Coloured crystals are coming into fashion," confirms manager Alison Luk.
She says the 36-year-old company's major markets are the US, the UK and Germany, with the customs and tastes of the different markets impacting trends. "There are, however, certain similarities in the US and the UK, with both liking gold-coloured items, while gold and silver are popular colours in Germany," she explains.
Luk adds that Union (HK) Metal is starting to use more coloured crystals in these markets, and finding that these customers also like 3-D figures with enamel trim. "Currently, table decorations are popular," she reveals. "Our four most-popular items are iron table decorations with crystals."
Union (HK) Metal operates a 60,000-square-foot factory in Dongguan that is ISO 9000-certified and employs 500 workers. "Our minimum order is 500 pieces delivered 60 days after order confirmation," Luk says adding that FOB Hong Kong unit prices range from US$1-80.
Europe and the US are also major markets for Giftsmax Co, but marketing manager Nornique Chan sees distinct differences between its customers in both areas.
"Our North American clients are more interested in home decoration products while our European customers veer towards artistic products," she believes.
However, Chan says price is also a major factor. "The price strategy is different between the two markets - our North American clients want lower prices," she explains.
Giftsmax meets the differing needs of both markets with a variety of stylish products ranging from fountains and Chinese antiques to eye-catching canvas paintings. "Our aroma products, such as essential oil burners, are the most popular items at the moment," Chan says.
Giftmax's factory in Fujian Province, which employs around 300 workers, produces minimum orders that depend on the size of the item but can be delivered 40 days after order confirmation.
"Large products, like canvas paintings, only require an order of 100 pieces per style," Chan explains, adding that FOB Xiamen prices vary and also depend on the product size.
Paintings also play a prominent role at P U K Ltd, which only produces 100% hand-painted oil paintings on canvas or wood panels and also finds key differences between the European and US markets.
"Europeans are more conservative, preferring neutral colours, with more traditional subject matter," manager Coral Lai claims. "They like harmony and are interested in museum-quality paintings, while Americans will accept any theme or colour combination."
She says P U K produces a lot of reproduction oil paintings and is also famous among its clients for its modern paintings. "We always keep a stock of 40,000 paintings in our office for selection and immediate shipment," Lai adds.
P U K's Dongguan factory employs 300 workers, who produce some 30,000 paintings per month at FOB Hong Kong prices ranging from US$1.50-250.00 per piece. "We don't require a minimum order and can deliver 2-4 weeks after order confirmation," Lai says.
When it comes to household gifts that run the gamut from intricately-designed miniature table decorations to large canvas paintings, Hong Kong is the place for perfect presents.
WRITTEN BY SHARMILA GOPINATH