5 Jan 2006
Photo Frames & Albums(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 01,2006)
Metal, wood, leather and polyresin sourced in Asia are used by Asia Trading Co to produce photo frames and albums such as this bright orange and yellow collection
Asia Trading Co was established in 1969, and has since gained extensive experience in photo frames, photo albums and stationery. "Our products are popular sellers in the US, Europe, Japan and Australia," says marketing executive Veronica Wong. "However, each market has its own requirements. Japan looks for quality and design, and is careful about the types of materials used, Europe looks for simple but elegant items, while the US seeks trendy photo frames and is willing to try new ideas. Also, as US customers are more keen to print digital photos at home, we have been developing more stylish photo frames for them."
Most frames manufactured by Asia Trading utilise various metals, wood or medium density fibreboard (MDF), leather and polyresin that are all sourced in Asia. "As it is expensive to have products made of genuine leather, we tend to offer bonded leather frames or faux leather for promotional items," says Wong.
Asia Trading has a monthly production capacity of over three million items at its 400,000-square-foot, 1,500-worker factory in Dongguan on the Chinese mainland. Minimum orders of 1,000 frames/albums per item and colour are delivered 45-60 days after order confirmation and may feature the firm's 21st Century brand name.
Also proud of its lengthy involvement in the picture frames business is 1983-established Kwok Keung Metal Works Ltd. As the firm's name suggests, its greatest strength is in rolled and stamped metal products.
"Our photo frames use a combination of metal, glass and wood and continue to find ready markets overseas," says marketing executive Ivy Lo. "We try to make our range as attractive and appealing as possible, while remaining open to customers' requests for finishes such as silk-screen colours or patterns on glass."
Most in demand from Kwok Keung is the classic, simple photo frame. "However, as we target mainly the mid- to high-end of the market, in addition to classic frames we also offer collections or themed frames suitable for weddings or graduation photographs for example," says Lo.
"Buyers in Europe prefer our wood frame collections," she adds. "The wood used comes from the US, while steel and aluminium are sourced in Korea and we buy glass from the mainland."
Frames and albums are exported worldwide to major markets such as the US. The firm has a monthly production capacity of about 1.5 million items at its 27,000-square-metre factory in Shenzhen on mainland. Minimum order value is US$8,000 or 480 pieces, and delivery time is 60 days after order confirmation.
Jingle Metal Products Co Ltd was established in 1972, and began as a manufacturer of metal and plastic nameplates for electronic and electrical items. Today, the company makes regular metal photo frames, versions with clocks and even albums combined with frames.
"We are strong in metal photo frames and albums, especially in steel, solid brass and extruded aluminium, and we are currently offering a new model using a plating process that results in a pewter-like effect," says marketing director Stephen Chow.
"We also use aluminium sheet, bonded leather, acrylic and die-cast zinc alloy," he adds. "Our product range also includes certain associated products of photo frames, such as frame-front albums, flip-through albums, frame clocks and photo storage boxes."
Steel and aluminium come from Japan, zinc alloy from Australia and bonded leather from the US, and monthly production reaches 10 million frames at a 300,000-square-foot, 1,000-worker, ISO9001-certified factory in Dongguan on the mainland.
The firm accepts minimum orders in excess of US$5,000 in value or 600 pieces per model and size for delivery 45-60 days after order confirmation. Major markets are North America, Europe and South Asia.
Tong Yeung Offset Printing Fty Co Ltd, established in 1986, has substantial experience manufacturing paper-based photo frames. However, the firm can produce items using PVC, plush or leather to customers' requests.
We usually export paper photo frames, made from card and cardboard, to Europe and the US," says marketing manager Agneta Ko. "While some buyers request that we outsource these frames and have them wrapped in plush, we usually print them off in different colours using our four-colour offset printing machines."
The paper and the plush are bought on the mainland. "Otherwise, if a customer wants a special paper for a particular effect, we can simply import it. However, there is usually an abundant choice in Hong Kong and on the mainland," says Ko.
Paper frames are reinforced with grey-board. "This adds overall strength so the frame will stand, and we can also offer different colours,"Ko explains. She says the minimum order size is 5,000 pieces per model and delivery is 30 days after order confirmation from the firm's factory in Dongguan.
This demonstrates that when a photo needs framing, Hong Kong can put you right in the picture.
WRITTEN BY TONY HENDERSON
Kwok Keung Metal Works Ltd
Rms 2903-07, Tower 1
223 Hing Fong Rd
Kwai Chung, New Territories
Sun Ngai Mfy Ltd
Rm 29, 10/F
Thriving Ind Centre
26-38 Sha Tsui Rd
Tsuen Wan, New Territories
Tai Cheong Metal Plastic Mfy Ltd
Flat J, 9/F, Blk 2
Golden Dragon Ind Centre
162-170 Tai Lin Pai Rd
Kwai Chung, New Territories
Tong Yeung Offset Printing Fty Co Ltd
443-451 Castle Peak Rd
Kwai Chung, New Territories