4 April 2007
Nice Numbers(HKTDC Gifts, Premium & Stationery, Vol 02,2007)
|Highlights among the huge array of premiums from Area Plus Ltd include an acrylic eight-digit calculator (front) and a 10-digit model in ceramic housing|
As usual, Hong Kong companies are at the forefront of modern calculator production, effortlessly combining form and function in ever more creative and stylish ways.
One Original Industrial Design Ltd sees its marketing and creative talents as its competitive edge, and focuses on "innovative ideas and fun design styling" according to creative director Sue-Anne Leung. "We are able to refine quality production using different materials, standing alone or in combinations," she claims.
A classic example of the seven-year-old OBM/ODM company's ingenuity is the self-explanatory Grade AA eggs calculator, which uses egg-like buttons instead of a standard keypad in a variety of bright, colourful combinations that will suit the fussiest buyer.
Choices include, for example, a blue calculator with white eggs, a grey with brown egg alternative and even bone models that come in white, brown and pink versions.
The primary materials used to create these contemporary, attractive and fun calculators are ABS and rubber sourced from Taiwan and the Chinese mainland.
"These calculators appear under the One Original brand and are popular in the US, Europe, South Africa and much of Asia," Leung explains.
Some 80% of One Original Industrial Design's production takes place at a plant in Dongguan on the southern mainland, with the remaining 20% shipping from Taiwan.
Prices range from US$2.65-2.90 per piece FOB Hong Kong, and delivery of minimum orders of 3,000 pieces is 30-35 days after order confirmation. "We have been selected by many local and international companies for their promotions and redemption programs," adds Leung, who reveals the company's main marketing strategy is to exhibit worldwide.
"We are often appointed by a list of prestige corporations to create and produce gifts and premiums exclusively for their corporate or branded label products for various purposes."
Another Hong Kong manufacturer focusing on corporate gifts and promotions is Shun Wai Industrial (HK) Ltd, which offers a range of calculators in fun shapes and bright, cheerful colours.
Shun Wai's catalogue includes such essential office tools as pocket, ruler, carabiner and an eye-catching bubble calculator; all of which can be customised and supplied with a logo and branding specified by the customer.
Founded in 1988, the company manufactures at its 7,328-square-metre, 520-worker factory in Fujian Province on the mainland, which produces 500,000 pieces a month of the ruler calculator that is its most popular model.
Prices range from US$0.35-0.65 per piece FOB Hong Kong and the minimum order is 5,000 pieces, delivered 25 days after order confirmation to markets throughout Asia as well as Europe and the US.
However, it is the mainland which is "becoming bigger and bigger, and is our fastest-growing market," according to sales executive Linda Wong, who believes "the trend for innovative designs and cheaper prices will continue."
She explains that "the single biggest factor affecting price is the exchange rate", a sentiment echoed by May Industrial Co sales manager Jacky Lai.
"Achieving the right balance between design, price and quality is essential," Lai insists. "A poor exchange rate means cost pressure and requires innovative design in order to meet customer requirements."
Established in 1990, May Industrial Co produces a staggering range of calculator models at its 10,000-square-metre mainland production site in Guangdong Province, where 500 workers produce one million pieces a month.
The company divides its calculator range into hand-held, desktop, portfolio, multifunction, organiser and gift set models and has a broad selection in each category - including mouse pad, desktop and pocket calculators, the latter coming with their own pouch.
All feature smart, stylish designs and have mainly eight-digit displays, but there are also half a dozen 12-digit desktop designs and a 12-digit hand-held model, as well as two 10-digit multifunction versions.
Prices range from US$0.50-1.00 per piece FOB Shenzhen and main markets include the US and Europe, with Germany by far the biggest market within Europe. "We require a minimum order of 5,000 pieces, delivered 30 days after order confirmation," Lai adds.
A similar lead time is necessary for orders from Best Time Mfg Ltd, which has been manufacturing calculators, clocks, radios, game sets and electronic products since 1996.
Best Time uses ABS, zinc alloy, acrylic and aluminium in its latest range of calculators, which includes such esoteric choices as a pocket-size, eight-digit model; desktop 12-digit dual-power version; hand-held, eight-digit dual-power style and even an aluminium name card case dual-power creation with eight "big digits".
One particularly ingenious item is the 138x30x187mm 12-digit desktop calculator with three USB ports and numbering pad that simply plugs into the PC for mobile calculations.
They are all produced at Best Time's 4,000-square-metre, 250-worker factory in Shenzhen that is SGS- "GPMS" certified and has a monthly output of 300,000 units, according to marketing manager Portia Wong.
"We export to Europe, the US and Japan," Wong explains. "FOB Hong Kong prices range from US$2-5 for minimum orders of 2,000 pieces for standard items, delivered 30 days after order confirmation."
Brainy buyers who do their sums know they definitely have a winning formula when they choose from the nice numbers available in Hong Kong.
TEXT BY ANDREW GRAHAM
One Original Industrial Design Ltd
18/F, Wing Hing Commercial Bldg
16 Sutherland St
Shun Wai Industrial (HK) Ltd
No.11, 7/F, Blk B
Hi-Tech Ind Centre
5-21 Pak Tin Par St
Tsuen Wan, New Territories