1 Dec 2002
The Right Mix(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 12,2002)
Vol 12, 2002
The Right Mix
Innovation Lights The Way
R&D Success Factor
Hung Sang Metal Plastic Fty Ltd
|Among best-selling products from Hung Sang Metal Plastic Fty Ltd are stainless steel kitchen items including juicers, pepper mills and oil sprays|
Hung Sang Metal Plastic Fty Ltd, which celebrates its 40th anniversary next year, puts its longevity down to several factors. These include being very customer-focused and keeping abreast of changes in market conditions, says sales and marketing manager Isabella Lee.
The company began operations in 1963 as a 300-square-metre factory in Hong Kong equipped with two machines producing sundry plastic items. Over the years, it has moved several times to improved premises. In the mid-1980s, production facilities shifted to the Chinese mainland to take advantage of cheaper land and labour costs. Today, the plant comprises two main complexes of eight buildings, with 1,900 workers, more than 120 injection-moulding machines and ISO 9002 certification.
One of the most important moves Hung Sang made, however, came in 1983, when it began supplying items for sale through TV channels in the US. It also started to specialise in kitchenware. From 1995, the company turned its attention to the European market and a demand for higher quality goods.
"The split between [exports to] the US and Europe is changing," explains Lee. "Until recently, it was 60-30%, now it is 40-40%, with the balance going to markets such as Dubai, South Africa, South America and Japan." Hung Sang has plans to do even more business in Europe as the EU grows in size, he adds.
"Our business strategy is to concentrate on variety, as we are like a one-stop shop," says Lee, noting that the company owns 2,000 sets of moulds. "We also specialise in high quality and we are increasing the number of engineers we employ and investing more in R&D."
Among the company's best-selling products are stainless steel kitchen items including juicers, pepper mills and oil sprays. As well as kitchenware, the company also produces a range of houseware items, such as shoe racks, CD racks and hook rails, as well as sundry items including gardenware and toys.
The company is open to ideas from customers. "We are very flexible," says Lee. "You name it, we can make it. We are also very customer-oriented."
Approximately three new products emerge every month. "At present, the product cycle is very short. It used to be three or four years, now it is only six months," she adds.
Hung Sang, which enjoys a steady annual turnover of about US$130m, faces increasing competition from companies on the mainland, although Lee says that this spurs the drive for higher quality products.
"Competition is a good thing," she notes. "The industry will not improve otherwise. For example, we have produced well over 10 million pieces of our Patty Trio product and others are now copying it. What we have to do is to keep introducing new products."
The majority of items are on an OEM basis, mainly for big European chains or for marketing through US television channels. Some are sold under the company's Kitchen Club brand name, introduced in 1990, or the more recent Posh Gear by Kitchen Club Collections, for higher quality products.
Staff are taking a more active approach to marketing activities, including trade shows and email campaigns. "We will exhibit at the Hong Kong Houseware Fair for the first time in 2003," says Lee. "This will give us greater exposure. We are also investing more in computerised marketing."
WRITTEN BY ANN WILLIAMS
Hung Sang Metal Plastic Fty Ltd
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