4 April 2007
Well Packed(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 04,2007)
Tiger Enterprise Ltd
|Tiger Enterprise Corp is a leading OEM manufacturer and in-house brand name for backpacks, schoolbags and pencil cases|
Despatching fully 90% of its production to buyers in Europe, Tiger's lines have graduated from simple school day fun to serious city personal transporters, all manufactured in the slickest of modern materials on the far side of smart.
"Our very earliest products were simple purses and wallets for the US market. However, having been around for almost 40 years, we have had plenty of time to perfect our products," says executive vice-chairman Anthony Chan.
"With exports off to a good start, it was only a matter of time before we launched another line - pencil cases, which took us into the school market. Next came pouches to carry more school-related essentials, and we soon developed a very good feel for the schools supplies sector and noted the ever-ready annual demand," he adds.
"So we started into production of school bags with lots of enthusiasm and energy. Our design team cut its teeth making these items, and came out with lots of innovative and novel creations that young children found useful, attractive and even fun and exciting," Chan says.
"Kids everywhere loved them and the market opened right up, especially in Germany. That was about when our products began selling more heavily in Europe than the US."
However, Tiger also soon found out that school bags came with one clear disadvantage - the bulk of retail sales took place in July, August and September (in the northern hemisphere).
"We had to keep our factory and workforce employed all the year round, so we started producing backpacks for hiking and general purpose uses that sold throughout the year. Also, while school bags were being bought mostly for 6-14 year olds, the new backpacks were selling to people of all ages - and happily we had reached a new market," Chan says.
"From there," he adds, "it was not a great leap to designing and manufacturing bags for college and university students, and upmarket backpacks suitable for city use by business men and women."
Indeed, today, the emphasis on great designs and quality keeps Tiger and its products to the fore. "While prices must always be reasonable and competitive, good design and appearance are the ways to attract people to buy our products," Chan says.
"In addition, with such a high proportion of our goods going to Germany, our products have tended to follow demands for quality such as meeting the GS standards, which is good for us and our customers."
Tiger also has high expectations of its Tiger Plus range of backpacks, launched especially with the US market in mind.
"Our latest products use a smart material with an antibacterial coating that is also water-repellent, UV-protective and odourless. We developed the material in cooperation with Hong Kong Polytechnic University," says Chan.
"The original idea was that nylon-polyester bags treated with this antibacterial coating would help prevent germs coming into the home from schools and other places. This is a value-added sales feature that works in addition to the design elements, such as the handy inside pockets and the highly reflective safety colouring," he adds.
"The new styling and use of nylon and polyester and other modern materials is a peek into our future," Chan comments, "and how we intend extending our range of school bags and backpacks with new in-demand features including bright colours, and lightweight fabrics, especially for school bags."
Chan says that during 2007, Tiger will pursue its long-term vision of health and safety with all products treated with the antibacterial coating. Moreover, in line with the latest EU requirements, the company is also promoting the use of non-toxic, environmentally-friendly materials.
When not manufacturing under OEM terms, the company sells under its Tiger Family and Tiger Plus brand names. "OEM business apart, we aim for the high-end market," says Chan.
Production takes place at the firm's 60,000-square-metre, 2,000-worker, ISO 9001-certified factory in Shenzhen on the Chinese mainland. Production capacity is 100,000 pieces per day and standard delivery time is eight weeks. The minimum order value requirement is US$10,000.
Tiger is certainly in the schoolbags sector for the long term and its expanded lines will keep both children and adults happy too.
TEXT BY TONY HENDERSON
Tiger Enterprise Corp