15 Jan 2008
Making A Mark(HKTDC Gifts, Premium & Stationery, Vol 01,2008)
Writing & Drawing Instruments
|BiroDolf Industrial Co Ltd offers a selection of high-end, 30-gram, engraved roller-ink barrel pens|
The paperless office may have been touted as the future, but every modern office still exhibits an almost insatiable demand for pens, pencils and paper
There are many things in daily life that information technology just cannot handle, which forces most people to fall back on tried and trusted methods of communication.
First and foremost among these are humble writing and drawing instruments, which have proved their usefulness throughout the ages and show no signs of going out of favour any time soon.
This perennial popularity is music to the ears of Hong Kong manufacturers who exported the countless pens, markers, sliding pencils and holders that made up 16.6% of total stationery exports worth HK$4.64bn in the first six months of 2007.
From the classic fountain pen that would grace any contract-signing ceremony to the constantly evolving novelty pen, Hong Kong's designers and makers of writing instruments are on a roll.
A key reason is Hong Kong manufacturers' ability to offer great value for money in the competitive writing instrument market, with companies such as TTI Industrial Ltd viewing the creation of new, unique, high-quality pen products as the key to maintaining competitiveness.
The ISO 9001-certified company - the first pen factory in China to be awarded the SA8000 global social accountability standard - manufactures a range of plastic and metal ballpoint pens, stationery and gifts that include a number of own-design patents.
TTI places great importance on in-house advanced printing techniques such as imprints and heat transfer onto metal pens, which produces eye-catching results such as the elegant and stylish model TMR016. "I am always saying to buyers that they are getting more than they pay for," says Manager Amy Li.
Tailor-made products and ODM/OEM projects are welcomed, she adds. "Presently, we export to more than 60 countries and our customers include many big companies and leading international brands," Ms Li notes.
She adds that the company has its own TTI brand, and claims that it has gained a "very good" reputation for the durability and reliability of its products and its "excellent" imprint service.
"We have our own sophisticated inspection team which guarantees our goods are high quality," Ms Li explains, adding that TTI Industrial is always looking for new markets.
This prompt responsiveness to market demands and trends is another vital aspect to the success of Hong Kong companies such as Well Asia Development (H.K.) Ltd.
Providing mid-level priced pens that are tailor-made to reflect a company's brand profile is key to Well Asia's success, says Sales Executive Jacky Cheung. "If they are an IT-oriented company, they want a more cyber-style pen, but more conservative buyers prefer classic styles," he notes. "We can cover the full range."
The company focuses on OEM/ODM products with 20%-30% of its pens designed in-house, which means keeping a keen eye on market trends, competitors and getting constant feedback from its customers.
Feedback from the fast-moving teenage market gave Well Asia the idea for the Carabiner Dual Colour Ball Pen with its bold metallic body, silicone grip and multiple choices of ink colours.
"A lot of young people have lanyards for their mobile phones or to attach things to their rucksacks," Mr Cheung reasons. "We thought that people would be more likely to keep a promotional pen that doesn't need a pocket."
Taking a more traditional tack, GP (HK) Ltd sources wood for its pencils from certified logging sites in Asian countries such as Thailand and Vietnam in order to obtain a clear and sustainable market advantage. "We are happy to provide certification of the ethical sources of our raw materials to any buyer who asks," assures Director Vickie Fung.
Added to this is the creativity of the in-house design team that develops one strong idea annually, such as the innovative range of products under the patented brand Skool Tools.
The Skool Tools range includes Jolly Jungle and Little Farm boxed pencil sets, which are aimed at young students and provide 12 wood pencils in a colourful PP box.
Most of GP's buyers, which include Disney, have been tailoring the company's products to their own image for years. "Some companies get ideas from their customers - we give ideas to our customers," Ms Fung claims.
So, whether buyers are looking to supply boardrooms or classrooms, they can rely on the unique blend of experience, innovation and value for money that Hong Kong writing and drawing instrument manufacturers continue to provide.
TEXT BY CHRIS WHITE
Year Established: 1989
Eagle (Int'l) Development Co
Year Established: 1991
|GP (HK) LTD
Chinachem Leighton Plaza
29 Leighton Rd
|Year Established: 1994
Major Product Categories: pencils, erasers, rulers, sharpeners, office stationery
Brands & Certificates: Skool Tools
Minimum Order: -
Monthly Production Capacity: -
Delivery Time: 60 days
Factory Size & Location: 6,000 square metres; Shanghai
Year Established: 1994
Year Established: 2000