12 March 2007
Pen Power(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 03,2007)
Super Hyper Ltd
|Pens in all shapes and sizes are a speciality of Super Hyper Ltd|
"We started in 1990 as a trading company and after a short time we opened a 2,000-square-metre, 200-worker factory on the Chinese mainland in Shenzhen," recalls general manager Monica Li.
Early success laid the foundations for a business which has worked hard to establish itself as a leading supplier of quality gift and premium items to discerning buyers in international markets.
Today the company designs and makes a range of products, mostly for promotional purposes, on either an OEM or an OEM/ODM basis.
In addition to pens, product lines include key chains, desktop items, metal clocks, photo frames, card holders, memo clips and even candleholders.
"Our major markets are in Europe - particularly Germany - the US and some Asian countries and territories such as Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong," Li explains, noting that "about 30%" of sales are local.
Many of Super Hyper's secondary product lines were developed to be presented with its pens in sets, for which Li says there is an increasing demand. "Customers now are looking for more added value," she believes. "Just a pen on its own doesn't really sell, so sets are very popular."
Typical gift sets might include a pen and watch or a pen and keyholder, but the company also makes tie-clip, cufflink and lapel pin sets as an additional service to premium buyers.
Keyholders range in design from simple metal rings with pendants to more ornate designs incorporating crystals, which verge on being items of costume jewellery.
"Traditional key rings are not really selling well just now," Li admits. "The trend is towards more colour and more different combinations."
Similarly under cost pressure are other Super Hyper lines, particularly desktop timepieces. "Clocks are coming down in popularity because of price," Li explains. "Our clocks are made of metal and the cost of metal keeps on rising."
Pens, however, continue to sell briskly with the white, black and coloured crystal-studded metal mini ballpoint pens in a wide range of designs proving particularly popular.
Super Hyper's metal pen range includes ballpoint pens in a range of colours with shiny chrome-plated trims or matt chrome finishes, roller pens with leather-wrapped barrels, chrome-plated barrels, black barrels with gold-plated trim, and ballpoint pens which double as keyholders.
"People are getting tired of monotones," states Li, maintaining that the trend is towards colour and multifunctionality. "There are pens offering more than one colour, and pens that can double as laser pointers."
Packaging is also important, she stresses, noting that customers like to have a range of options so Super Hyper makes its products available in tube, plastic, tin and felt boxes and paper gift boxes with magnetic closures. "The right box also adds value," Li adds.
The company's extensive range of plastic pens are lower- cost items, but nevertheless are designed to be eye-catching and comfortable to write with.
"We make about 70,000 pens per month but that can go up to 100,000," Li reveals, noting that Super Hyper's cheapest product is a simple plastic pen starting at around US$0.08 FOB Hong Kong and the most expensive would be a crystal pen costing around US$12 each.
She says Super Hyper is in the "middle to upper" area in terms of quality. "From confirmation to delivery of an order usually takes around 35 days, and we ask for minimum orders of 1,000 for plastic pens and 500 for metal," Li explains.
Although the company is known for the quality of its original designs, Super Hyper has no brand-building ambitions. "We are involved mostly in OEM projects," Li admits, noting that pens and other products are mostly intended as promotional items so it's not necessary for them to be branded. "We have three designers, one on the mainland and two in Hong Kong, and we also work with freelancers."
Future plans include developing new overseas markets - Super Hyper is now doing business in South Africa - and building OEM/ODM business in existing areas.
"It's a highly competitive field - particularly the pens -but we have some advantages in terms of our designs and the quality we can offer," Li concludes.
WRITTEN BY ROBERT PIERCE
Super Hyper Ltd
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