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No Penny Pinching Here(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 06,2007)

Money Banks




Bright colours characterise the porcelain money banks from A-One Enterprises Co Ltd of the Chinese mainland, such as these chickens in red floral patterns

Gone are the days when money banks conjured up the image of a porcelain pig with large eyes and bulging cheeks designed to win over children. Today's money banks take different forms, often serve multiple purposes and might cater to children and adults alike.

Bright colours characterise the porcelain money banks available from A-One Enterprises Co Ltd, a Chinese mainland manufacturer based in Xiamen.

Among its popular items is a pink bear (JD4596A). "This is a cute model, and babies and children seem to like pink," says director Dick Huang, adding that another eye-catching item is a red seal playing with a ball (JD4995A) made from porcelain sourced on the mainland.

Selling to wholesalers and retailers, major markets are Europe, the US and South America, and both of these items are priced at US$0.65 each FOB Xiamen. "We have many products," says Huang. "Some are our own designs, and we can also produce to customers' wishes."

Set up in 2000, monthly production at the firm's 10,000-square-metre, 150-worker plant in Dehua County - one of China's three porcelain capitals - reaches 100,000 money banks in peak season. The minimum order is 2,500 units for delivery within 45 days of confirmation.

Those after a more rustic feel will delight in the barrel-shaped coin boxes from UK-based Nauticalia Ltd. "These are fashioned after traditional barrels, the sort that have been used to carry rum," says managing director Chris Murdoch. "They are made from hardwood with brass bands, and are designed to take all current UK coins."

The grain of the wood barrels is highlighted by clear varnish, while the brass bands are highly polished. The contents are accessible via a screwed flap. These money boxes come in two sizes: Captain (7210) is 180mm high and 150mm in diameter, while Crew (7230) is 110mm high and 100mm in diameter.

"The captain usually has more money than the crew, which is why the Captain model is larger," Murdoch smiles, adding that Nauticalia produces 1,000 money boxes in this series each month using raw materials from India.

"We have been selling them in the UK for about a year," he reveals. "They are very popular and our customers include wholesalers and retailers."

The minimum order is four units of Captain or 12 units of Crew. At those quantities, unit prices quoted to retailers, for example, are US$21 and US$10.50 respectively ex-warehouse the UK. "We can supply fewer numbers, but the price is probably 10% higher," Murdoch notes. "Orders can be despatched within seven days of order confirmation, depending on the shipping method and distance."

Under the Nauticalia brand name, the 32-year-old company designs all its products for both domestic sale and export to markets such as Italy, Germany and Australia. "We are previous winners of the Queen's Award for Exports, and we now want to diversify into Asian markets," Murdoch reveals.

With office-cum-warehouse premises of 120,000 square feet in Shepperton-on-Thames near London, the 100-strong company outsources production to factories in lower-cost territories, such as China, India and some parts of Europe.

Meanwhile, fans of cheerful colours should check out Happy Birthday (model 13257), a money box launched by Hong Kong firm Poly-Gift Co Ltd. This money bank is in the shape of a double-layer birthday cake complete with five candles and decorated with butterflies, ladybirds and flowers that are attached by springs that can be set in motion with a light push.

"This is really colourful, and the spring feature makes it even more interesting," smiles managing director Gabriel Cheung, adding that it is marketed under the company's Rock Petrus line.

Another money bank is Moose (model 12292), which takes the form of a moose in green attire complete with a map and an axe in its hooves and a rucksack on its back. A major selling point is the legs, which are made from braided rope. "This moose is going camping," says Cheung, "and the legs add a distinctive look to this interesting design." The Moose bank is sold under the firm's Wildwood label. This manufacturer also offers a Lion money bank (model 10267) under its Zoo's World brand.

All three models, made from polyresin sourced in Taiwan, sell at prices in the US$1.50-2.50 range each FOB Hong Kong according to the design and the order quantity. The minimum order value is US$5,000, and delivery takes 30-45 days from confirmation. The US accounts for 70%-80% of sales turnover, while the firm also exports to Europe.

Established in 1992, Poly-Gift runs a 10,000-square-metre, 500-worker factory in Dongguan on the Chinese mainland. The facility has a monthly capacity of 500,000 money banks, alongside other products. Apart from manufacturing its own designs, Poly-Gift also welcomes OEM orders. "OEM accounts for more than 60% of our products," Cheung notes.

Wood is the raw material of choice for the latest range of money banks on offer at Bangkok-based Room-mate Co Ltd.

One abstract series is in the form of a man bowing. "The idea came to me when a Japanese friend bowed to me, and I decided to design coin boxes based on the form of a bowing man," reveals managing director Worathep Ngamvilaisiriwong.

The boxes are made from walnut wood from Thailand, whose grain resembles that of an actual walnut. "This collection is different as not many money banks come in wood," the managing director says. "The line comprises two series and three sizes: a simple money bank (H3022) and a variant doubling as a photo frame (H1068). All models have a removable lid."

Assuming an order of 500 units, the FOB Bangkok unit price is about US$7.50 for the small size, US$10.60 for the medium size, and US$14.75 for the big size.

"Our products are stylish and modern," the managing director says. "Many people believe form should follow function, which is why designs are dictated by consumer tastes and why different designers come up with similar products. But I believe form should follow passion, which ensures every design comes from inside the designer and is therefore unique," Ngamvilaisiriwong says.

Set up in 1999, this Thai manufacturer has a monthly production capacity of 20,000 money boxes in addition to other products. A minimum order is 500 units per size per model per colour, on a lead time of about 60 days. Under the Room-mate brand, the enterprise exports largely to Spain (about 90% of all sales). It also sells to Portugal, the UK, Australia and Canada.

Back on the Chinese mainland, another manufacturer of porcelain money banks is Fuzhou Credit Houseware Co Ltd, headquartered in Fuzhou city.

The mouse is a main theme for one of this company's colourful lines. "They are hand-painted," says manager Zheng Xingong says of a model with a mouse in a red racing car sporting a gold dollar sign (06224) that is priced at US$0.69 each FOB Xiamen. A variation is a mouse in a red car that displays the word Love in gold (06226) and which sells for US$0.62 each.

Another model with a mouse in a boat laden with gold coins (06223) goes for US$0.72, while a money bank in the shape of a fat, golden mouse holding a big Russian coin (7112-2) sells for US$1.90 each.

Inaugurated in 1996, and using porcelain from the Chinese mainland, the firm makes about two million money banks annually at a factory in Dehua that has a floor area of 6,000 square metres and employs 200 workers.

Fuzhou Credit requires a minimum order value of US$3,000, aiming at delivery 60 days after order confirmation. "Europe is our biggest market, making up more than 70% of our sales, while we export to the US," Zheng says.

Dazzling alternatives come in the form of shining silvery coin banks designed and made by Hong Kong-based Trempest Ltd.

Among this company's range is a train (T848-0483), comprising a locomotive, a carriage with decorative patterns and a coal-laden truck. "It is die-cast, silver-plated and hand-polished," explains operations manager Thomas Lam.

The coin-banking function is performed by the locomotive, while the two other cars, with opening tops, serve as storage. "These two carriages come with velvet lining and are perfect for holding jewellery or other small items," Lam explains. "The item has drawn very good response."

Another hot product in the series is a football-shaped coin bank (T853-09). "Europeans especially like this model because they love soccer," Lam says, adding that the collection also features a sculpture-like item in the shape of a horse's head (T860-05), and that the zinc alloy used to make this range comes from Australia.

"In contrast to the general perception of the money bank being a child's item," he points out, "our money banks are mainly for adults. They can be used as corporate gifts, promotional items and desk decorations. Some banks, for example, like using them for promotional purposes as corporate logos can easily be applied."

Founded in 1976, Trempest produces about one TEU of money banks each week at its 240-worker factory in Nanhai on the Chinese mainland. Apart from its own range, sold under the Queen Victoria brand, the company also engages in OEM. A minimum order is 1,500 units, with delivery expected 45-60 days after order confirmation to major markets such as the US and Europe.

With such a wide range of fascinating savings banks on offer globally, buyers will have little difficulty in finding value for money.

Contact Details:

A-One Enterprises Co Ltd
Suites J/K/L, 8/F, Huangda Bldg
No.28 Houdaixi Rd
Xiamen, China
Tel: 86-592-5188-976
Fax: 86-592-5188-989

Fuzhou Credit Houseware Co Ltd
1001, 17/F, South Bldg
China Town Plaza
162 Wusi Rd, Fuzhou
Fujian, China
Tel: 86-591-8787-8684
Fax: 86-591-8787-8654

Nauticalia Ltd
Ferry Lane, Shepperton-on-Thames
TW17 9LQ, United Kingdom
Tel: 44-1932-244-396
Fax: 44-1932-241-679
Web: www.nauticalia.com

Poly-Gift Co Ltd
Units 1-3, 5/F, Remington Centre
23 Hung To Rd, Kwun Tong
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2687-1011
Fax: 852-2687-1058
Web: www.poly-gift.com.hk

Room-mate Co Ltd
393/262, Soi Ladprao 94 (Panjamit)
Ladprao Rd, Wangthonglang
Bangkok 10310, Thailand
Tel: 662-9344-353
Fax: 662-9344-199
Web: www.framesetter.com

Trempest Ltd
Suite 810, Tower 3, Phase 1
Enterprise Square, 9 Sheung Yuet Rd
Kowloon Bay, Kowloon
Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2756-7988
Fax: 852-2750-1332
Web: www.trempest.com.hk