1 Oct 2002
Refreshing Appeal(HKTDC Gifts, Premium & Stationery, Vol 04,2002)
Keeping in Touch
An angular ceramic mug in solid red (bottom) is one of the more unusual shapes in the sample range offered by Fung Lin Wah Enterprise Ltd.
THE humble coffee mug has undergone a revolution in recent years, in keeping with a general boom in coffee drinking. Hong Kong makers of mugs, now as much a part of dinner sets as cups and saucers, offer an array of patterns and images that keep designs current and appealing.
China Pearl (HK) Co Ltd works with its own designers, locally and on the Chinese mainland, and with freelance designers in Italy, France, the UK and the US to ensure a constant flow of fresh ideas.
General manager Anna Lam says mugs often form part of full dinner sets, but that buyers also demand the stand-alone variety.
"Stand-alone mug designs change frequently, sometimes every month, and we need to invest a lot of time and effort in creating new designs. Even so, we always have new items on offer," she says.
There are different needs for each market. "Our major market is the US, where consumers go for country-style or Americana themes. However, we also ship to Europe where the taste is for brighter colours," she says.
China Pearl sells mugs under its own brand names, China Pearl and Thomson Pottery, and accepts OEM orders. A minimum order is one TEU, and prices, FOB Xingang, are around US$0.30 per mug for open stock/bulk packing.
Shipment of stock items takes place within 30 days of order confirmation, while custom designs require 45-60 days. All products are microwave and dishwasher safe.
Variety is also the key to good business for Fung Lin Wah Enterprise Ltd, offering mugs in more than 100 shapes including musical designs and mugs that change colour when filled with hot liquid.
Marketing manager Ricky Tong says the company also introduced a reactive glaze - using a technology that produces a finish similar to the well-known Denby glaze - and a deglazed print style that gives an embossed effect.
"Due to competition on the Chinese mainland, where prices are generally low, we decided to combine variety with different glazes. Our reactive glaze and deglazed print style mugs utilize new technology in terms of manufacturing on the mainland, and that gives us an edge," he explains.
Fung Lin also works with a variety of materials, from stoneware and porcelain to bone china.
Prices, FOB Shenzhen, range from US$0.20-0.90 per mug. A minimum order is 2,000 pieces and the company ships worldwide. Major markets are Europe and North and South America.
The decoration of mugs is another area where manufacturers are trying to stay ahead. While mugs decorated by machines are nice, hand painting is increasingly popular. Migo Ceramic Ltd specializes in hand-painted mugs.
The company uses machinery imported from Italy to process materials sourced on the Chinese mainland. This results in mugs with a more refined, super-white body colour and sharper colours and better finish on hand-painted designs.
"Hand-painting is a new trend in the market and is more popular than machine printing because the quality is better and designs have a higher value," says Migo Ceramic's managing director Gordon Wong.
Much of Migo's business is in premium and promotional items, but there are also mugs for retail with such brand names as Migo Houseware, Gordon Design and Artist Treasure. Wong says these mugs offer better value for money compared with similar European hand-painted mugs.
"The raw materials available in Europe are inferior to those obtainable on the Chinese mainland, while European costs are higher," he says. "Even after paying ocean freight and any import duties, our products are still cheaper and the quality is superior."
The prices of Migo's mugs, FOB Xingang, are about US$0.25 per hand-painted design and US$0.16 per machine-printed version. The minimum order is one TEU and delivery is 45 days after receipt of L/C or deposit.
Wing Tai Ming Kee Co Ltd is another company offering hand-painted designs and different shapes, depending on what the market wants. The company manufactures its own designs, under the Jim's brand or per OEM specification.
There are 9-oz and 10-oz fine bone China coffee mugs and 11-oz stoneware coffee mugs. "We can make samples quickly, in around 7-10 days, and if a client wants to try different shapes we can also do them," says manager Jim Wing Fung.
She says the company employs more than 7,000 workers at its partner-factory on the Chinese mainland.
Prices, FOB Shenzhen, range from US$0.20 to more than $1, while a minimum order is one TEU. The company sells worldwide and shipments take place 45 days after order confirmation.
WRITTEN BY KATHY GRIFFIN
Artrading Industrial Co Ltd
15/F, Rm A
Chun Wo Commercial Centre
23-29 Wing Wo St
Central, Hong Kong
China Pearl (HK) Co Ltd
Lippo Sun Plaza
28 Canton Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Fung Lin Wah Enterprise Ltd
Hang Cheong Centre
138 Bedford Rd, Tai Kok Tsui
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Migo Ceramic Ltd
Guangdong Finance Bldg
88 Connaught Rd West
Sai Ying Poon, Hong Kong
6/F, Rm D, Blk 1
Camel Paint Bldg
62 Hoi Yuen Rd, Kwun Tong
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Topchoice Industries Ltd
China Resources Bldg
26 Harbour Rd
Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Wing Tai Ming Kee Co Ltd
Kin On Commercial Bldg
49-51 Jervois St
Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
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