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Looking Good On Paper(HKTDC Gifts, Premium & Stationery, Vol 01,2002)

Vol 1, 2002

COMPANY PROFILES

Looking Good On Paper
Hing Wo Industrial Co

Trade Development Council Export Marketing Award
Starlite Development (China) Ltd

 

Looking Good On Paper

Hing Wo Industrial Co

Design-focused Hing Wo Industrial Co has increased the number of new packaging styles it launches each year, as well as shortening their shelf lives.
"WHY should fashion be only for people?" is the question asked by marketing manager Lucy Chiu as she talks about the products of Hing Wo Industrial Co, a packaging manufacturer since 1983.

Not surprisingly, design is the prime focus of Hing Wo's four main lines - paper boxes, PVC, PET and PP boxes and cards, soft PVC pouches and presentation cushions.

Custom-made packaging is also available for gift and premium items, fashion jewellery, toys, stationery, electronic items, watches - and more recently - cosmetics and home appliances. In packaging, it seems, anything goes.

"In the past, for example, we produced only standard paper packaging for such items as lipstick; now we concentrate on making packaging that looks good," says Chiu.

In keeping with its focus on design, Hing Wo has increased the number of new styles launched each year, as well as shortening their shelf lives. Designs are now released for only a few months instead of for a year. Its Hong Kong-based designers work on product designs and give advice on the choice of materials, but the graphics side is left to the clients.

Hing Wo was founded at a time when packaging companies were few and customers were many. But in today's market, change and adaptation are crucial to survival. "If we don't change we will disappear," says Chiu. "Packaging products are not like any other product. Since there are no specific functions, designs must be forever changing."

Just over 50% of Hing Wo's current products are recyclable. "I see this figure increasing in the future," predicts Chiu. However, she admits that in the current economic climate it is hard to pinpoint a date.

To fulfil different requirements of individual customers, Hing Wo will accept small orders if stock materials are in hand. Shipment time averages 7-12 days after order confirmation.

Hing Wo covers all price ranges. For orders needing higher-end products, materials are sourced from Japan, the US, Europe and Taiwan. For lower-end orders, materials are sourced from the Chinese mainland.

Finding the perfect finish is an ongoing challenge for the company. To minimize costs to clients, Hing Wo concentrates on creating new product looks through different printing effects rather than through using new materials. For instance, the festive season saw packaging with glitter finishes, while the post-festive trend moved on to graphic printing effects.

Hing Wo's factory in Guangdong Province on the Chinese mainland is a mid-sized facility where output varies depending on processing, printing and finishing needs. Printing types include offset, silk-screen, pad and hot stamp, as well as logo pressing.

Hing Wo's Chinese mainland sales office in Guangzhou began as a backup to the Hong Kong sales operation, but now appears to be expanding faster than the Hong Kong office. Chiu says the main attraction of the Guangzhou location is that buyers can inspect the manufacturing process first hand at the nearby factory.

In a business that is all about appearances, it seems first impressions do count.

WRITTEN BY TAMARA CHEUNG

Hing Wo Industrial Co

Flat M, 9/F, Block 2,
Kingswin Industrial Bldg,
32-50 Lei Muk Rd,
Kwai Chung, New Territories, Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2481-4183
Fax: 852-2410-9895
E-mail: hingwo@mailexcite.com
Web: www.hkenterprise.com/hingwo



 

Trade Development Council Export Marketing Award

Starlite Development (China) Ltd

Within three years, Starlite Development (China) Ltd has made a name for itself as a supplier of quality educational and children's products.

Starlite Development (China) Ltd was a winner at the recent Trade Development Council Export Marketing Awards 2001. We present a profile of this outstanding company here.

Starlite Development (China) Ltd

ALTHOUGH paper product and children's book supplier Starlite Development (China) Ltd has been operational for just three years, it is already part of a publicly listed multinational with more than 3,000 staff serving customers in the US, Europe and Asia.

Its parent company, Starlite (Holdings) Ltd, was founded in 1970 and is a major print and packaging manufacturer. Until 1998, the Starlite group sold mainly package printing to the local market. Company founder K.Y. Lam decided it was time to branch out and provide expanded services to the holding company's worldwide customers through a new company, Starlite Development. This company's main lines now include children's novelty books, scrapbook albums, accessories and kits, calendars, other educational printed products, greeting cards, paper products and labels.

Starting the company from scratch was a great challenge, one that senior vice-president Stephen Wong relished. "The great thing was being able to define what we wanted to do and working freely with customers to give them what they wanted," he says.

According to Wong, one reason for Starlite Development's success is its approach to working with customers. "We get involved right from the start," Wong explains.

This differs markedly from the core packaging-printing business, where printers are only involved at the end of the process, which is when they work with customer files to make end products to a customer's specifications. "We aim to understand our customers' needs and provide professional advice in the product-development process to meet their market requirements. Our customers welcome our contributions and involvement as they end up with a product that is both well thought out and cost effective," says Wong.

Working on the basis that customers know the end market best, Starlite Development often attends trade fairs with customers, as well as conducting regular meetings with the clients' own sales staff. "We're there to listen to and act on comments and ideas and see how products are performing in the marketplace," Wong says.

The company's strategy is succeeding. After just three years, Starlite Development achieved export sales of HK$110m (US$14.1m) in its last financial year, up 280% on its first year's figures.

The company's plans involve continuing the shift from being a production-driven factory to a customer- and market-driven organization. Starlite Development has made arrangements with several major US customers to allow the company to sell suitably modified versions of some of the licensed products it manufactures. Target markets are in Southeast Asia, Europe and the Chinese mainland.

"This represents a new era for Starlite Development's operations," Wong says proudly.

WRITTEN BY CAROLINE BIEBUYCK

Starlite Development (China) Ltd

3/F, Perfect Ind Bldg,
31 Tai Yau St, San Po Kong,
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2726-0325
Fax: 852-2352-3928
E-mail: starit@starlitegroup.com.hk
Web: www.starlitegroup.com.hk

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