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The Natural Look(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 03,2008)

Artificial Flowers & Plants

Photo
Europe is the major market for LC Int'l Ltd, which offers a wide choice of artificial potted flowering bushes and plants that look real

While real flowers and plants have a limited lifespan, artificial varieties remain colourful and fresh year after year thanks to creative techniques and innovative design

Flowers and plants are an important component of home decor, but the real thing can be hard to obtain, prohibitively expensive and need careful nurturing.

But thanks to Hong Kong manufacturers, there is a huge variety of designs and finishes that mirror the beauty of natural flora at a fraction of the price.

Acutely aware that variety is the spice of life, LC Int'l Ltd produces between 100-150 new designs of artificial flowers, plants, and trees each season, says Director Marco Van Leersum.

The company supplies flower stems, flower bushes, garlands, hanging plants, potted items and artificial trees, such as orange, peach and pear. "Single items such as stems are in most demand and flower bushes and flower pots are popular," notes Mr Van Leersum.

"Customers opt for seasonal varieties - for example, tulips are very popular for spring," he says, pointing out that some flowers have a perennial attraction. "The rose, in all colours, is always the most popular flower, and calla lilies and gerberas are in demand."

Mr Van Leersum emphasises that recreating a natural look with highly natural flower colours is most important.

Some 95% of the firm's artificial flora is made of fabric, although it also supplies plastic pots on request. Single-stem items range from US$0.10-1.50 per piece FOB China. "Europe is our major market, accounting for 90% of exports," Mr Van Leersum adds.

Variety is also critical to the success of artificial flower and plant manufacturer Yick Mei (FE) Industrial Co Ltd. "We produce flowers, plants, sprays and bouquets, but specialise in the production of quality artificial flowers," says Director Natalie Cheng.

"More than 70% of our business is flower stems, and we offer more than 1,000 styles including stems, bouquets, candle rings, garlands, pots and bushes.

"Most of our customers like single stems under 70cm in size, as these are the easiest to sell in the market. Currently the rose, peony and poppy are in high demand."

The firm's artificial flowers range in price from US$0.50-5.00 per stem FOB China or Hong Kong. "Our most expensive stem would be an intricate and complicated design with more costly, first-grade material used for the flower, stem and foliage," she explains.

Yick Mei's most popular foliage is ivy, and its items with pots and vases account for about 10% of production. "The more natural trend has carried through to this line of items, with fake soil providing a more realistic touch," Ms Cheng notes.

The supplier's major market is Europe, which accounts for roughly 60% of exports. The US contributes 30% while Japan, Korea, Taiwan, South America and the Middle East make up the remainder. "While the economic situation in the US has led to that market decreasing, our business in the Middle East is increasing and we are also looking for new buyers in South America," Ms Cheng adds.

Also offering an opulence of designs is Far East Bosan Industrial Ltd, which provides some 400-500 items a season. "Our main products are artificial flowers - in the form of stems, bushes and pre-made wreaths and swags - and foliage, including bushes and pots," explains Product Development Manager Jason Wong.

"Our most popular flower is the geranium, while for foliage it is ivy, potho and willows in medium to large sizes," he says, adding that most of Far East Bosan's business is ODM. "We produce hundreds of samples each season for our customers to modify."

Noting that the industry is highly competitive, Mr Wong says: "To compete, we create as many different floral arrangements as possible and offer about 100 different flower types alone."

He maintains that another key factor is price, which at Far East Bosan ranges on average from US$1 FOB Hong Kong for a single blooming stem to US$50 for a very large arrangement approximately three-foot high in a fancy container.

Some 80% of the company's exports go to the US, with the remainder to Europe. "Germany and the UK are our bigger markets there, and we are also looking at the Middle East as a new potential market," Mr Wong adds.

In contrast, Europe is the biggest market for Hing Wai Co Ltd, accounting for 60%-70% of its exports of artificial flowers and plants, according to Manager Charles Tam.

"France is our largest market in Europe, while other important destinations are Canada, the US and South Africa," he notes, adding that Eastern Europe offers big potential as a new export destination.

Flowers are the enterprise's biggest sellers, both in single stems and mixed bushes. "Small to medium sizes are the most popular, such as 24, 36 and 48 stems in a bush, although we also offer 54 stems," notes Mr Tam, adding that Hing Wai offers about 2,000 items every season.

Whatever the request, Hong Kong manufacturers have the proverbial green fingers when it comes to producing colourful and creative artificial flowers and plants that reflect the natural look.

TEXT BY SANDRA JENNER

FAST FACTS

Century Cheer Ltd
Rm 7H
Yuet Ming Bldg
129 King's Rd
North Point
Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2697-8273
Fax: 852-2695-9901
Email:
sales@centurycheer.hk
Web: www.centurycheer.hk
www.tdctrade.com/centurycheer

Year Established: 1984
Major Product Categories: flower rings, bushes, table centres, garlands, pots
Brands & Certificates: -
Minimum Order: 240 pieces
Monthly Production: -
Delivery Time: 45 days
Factory Size & Location: Jiangmen
Workforce: 180

   

Far East Bosan Industrial Ltd
23/F, Blks B & C
Mai Luen Ind Bldg
23-31 Kung Yip St
Kwai Chung, New Territories
Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2429-5111
Fax: 852-2489-1396
Email:
info@febosan.com
Web: www.febosan.com

Year Established: 1978
Major Product Categories: artificial flowers, foliage and trees
Brands & Certificates: ISO 9000
Minimum Order: -
Monthly Production: -
Delivery Time: 75-90 days
Factory Size & Location: Dongguan
Workforce: -

   

Hing Wai Co Ltd
Unit 8, 12/F
South China Ind Bldg
1 Chun Pin St
Kwai Chung, New Territories
Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2418-9830
Fax: 852-2426-9983
Email:
info@hing-wai.com.hk
Web: www.hing-wai.com.hk

Year Established: 1994
Major Product Categories: artificial flowers and plants
Brands & Certificates: -
Minimum Order: one TEU
Monthly Production: -
Delivery Time: 90 days
Factory Size & Location: China
Workforce: -

   

LC Int'l Ltd
Unit 504
Shui Hing Centre
13 Sheung Yuet Rd
Kowloon Bay, Kowloon
Hong Kong
Tel: 852-3157-1280
Fax: 852-3157-1281
Email:
info@lcinternational.com.hk
Web: www.lcinternational.com.hk

Year Established: 2002
Major Product Categories: artificial flowers
Brands & Certificates: -
Minimum Order: one TEU
Monthly Production: -
Delivery Time: 60-90 days
Factory Size & Location: -
Workforce: 500

   

Nice Industrial Co Ltd
14/F, Blk G
Golden Bear Ind Centre
66-82 Chai Wan Kok St
Tsuen Wan, New Territories
Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2499-6339
Fax: 852-3376-1762
Email:
sales@niceind.com
Web: www.niceind.biz.com.hk

Year Established: 2003
Major Product Categories: artificial plants and flowers
Brands & Certificates: -
Minimum Order: 10 cartons
Monthly Production: -
Delivery Time: two months
Factory Size & Location: 11,500 square metres; Shenzhen
Workforce: 480

   

Tai Fong Trading (HK) Ltd
Unit 4, 11/F, Blk B
Hoi Luen Ind Centre
55 Hoi Yuen Rd
Kwun Tong, Kowloon
Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2375-8208
Fax: 852-2951-9392
Email:
tf2004@yahoo.com.hk
Web: -

Year Established: 1977
Major Product Categories: artificial flowers
Brands & Certificates: -
Minimum Order: -
Monthly Production: -
Delivery Time: -
Factory Size & Location: Kaiping
Workforce: 200

   

Yick Mei (FE) Industrial Co Ltd
Flats E-H, 24/F, Phase 2
Superluck Ind Centre
57 Sha Tsui Rd
Tsuen Wan, New Territories
Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2345-4043
Fax: 852-2343-6367
Email:
ym@yickmei.com
Web: www.yickmei.com

Year Established: 1973
Major Product Categories: artificial flowers, plants
Brands & Certificates: -
Minimum Order: spray items: 5 cartons each item colour; bush items: 10 cartons each colour
Monthly Production: -
Delivery Time: 90 days
Factory Size & Location: Shenzhen
Workforce: 1,000