1 Oct 2003
Computer Bags(HKTDC Fashion - Leather Goods & Bags, Vol 04,2003)
Black In Style
Eternal Trans Far East Co carefully selects nylon, polyester, PVC sponge and leather from Taiwan and Korea for its quality computer bags
Computer bags may all look the same at first glance - tough, black and practical nylon carriers with plenty of pockets for all those essential accessories.
However, a closer inspection of what's on offer from manufacturers in Hong Kong reveals a surprisingly wide range of bags and a strong awareness of what consumers are seeking.
Customer feedback is one of the key design tools for Storage Pro Ltd, whose sales team in Hong Kong is constantly looking to improve and refine the style of its bags.
The company mainly uses nylon, microfibre and PVC, sourced from Hong Kong, the Chinese mainland and Taiwan. "Most of our materials are high endurance fabrics, and our bags include sponge padding to give better protection," says director Jonathan Lam.
Recently the firm has noticed a slight increase in demand for "young, casual looking" bags, including some in more unusual colours. "But our best sellers are still black and dark, prudent colours, including grey and green," adds Lam.
Storage Pro's factory in Dongguan on the mainland employs 380 people and produces 30,000 computer bags each month - about a tenth of overall production, which also includes camera bags, PDA cases and CD wallets.
The company mainly sells to Europe (especially the UK, Spain and Germany), Hong Kong and the US, and produces on an OEM basis.
Prices vary according to the styles and numbers ordered but Storage Pro's minimum order size for computer bags is 1,000 units and delivery is usually "about 28 days" after order confirmation.
Thirty-year-old Hollco Int'l (HK) Ltd has also tapped the market for non-standard computer bags. "We wanted to do something different," says marketing director Rodney Waller, "so we are not only manufacturing to customers' specifications, but also working together with a design company to create completely original products."
These include a case in a metallic material, which is "primarily suited to the middle-end US retail market," explains Waller, who adds that the company also produces large quantities of more standard computer travel bags for the promotion and general retail markets.
In addition to the US, Hollco sells to Europe, South Africa and Australia, producing bags entirely on an OEM basis, although "we are looking to have our own brand within another year or two," says Waller.
Hollco has three wholly-owned factories on the mainland, with 30,000 square metres of ISO 9001-certified production space, and approximately 3,800 employees.
"What distinguishes us from our competitors is the scale of our production," claims Waller. "We can handle large volumes very easily and we manufacture a broad spectrum of products - from low to middle-end - with each of our factories specialising in a particular product type."
Hollco's minimum order size for computer bags is 1,000 pieces delivered 30-60 days after an order is confirmed. Prices range from US$5-18 FOB Hong Kong or a Chinese mainland port.
Materials are more important than designs when it comes to computer bags, says Eternal Trans Far East Co's managing director Peter Wan. "It's our materials that are special," he insists.
"Most people buying computer bags pay attention to durability, not design, so we mainly use tough and durable nylon and polyester to make our bags extra strong but lightweight." Wan adds that black is the most popular colour, "but some customers prefer navy blue or brown".
Eternal Trans produces entirely on an OEM basis, with its major markets being Europe and Australia. "We can export to any market," claims Wan, who adds that the company would like to do more business in the US and Japan.
Production rates vary at the company's 5,000-square-metre mainland factory in Zhongshan, but its 600 workers usually produce about 15,000 computer bags every month. These range in price from US$3-50 FOB Hong Kong.
Eternal Trans has no minimum order size while delivery times, which depend on materials and styles selected, are generally 30-45 days after an order is confirmed.
Black is also the most popular colour computer bag produced by 18-year-old Lap Shun Mfe Co Ltd. The company uses 600-denier polyester from Taiwan for its bags, which mainly appear under the Jenova brand name, although it can also work on an OEM basis.
"Our bags are fully padded for shock protection, with a padded, adjustable divider," says sales manager Derick Ng. Styles are developed "to meet customer needs", says Ng, noting the computer bag's interior pocket has been specially designed "to carry most office accessories".
Lap Shun has an 8,000-square-metre factory with 500 workers in Zhongshan. Minimum order size is 300 bags per model, with delivery 30-45 days after order confirmation.
Ng says that prices range from US$15-18 FOB Hong Kong for laptop carrying cases and about US$32 FOB Hong Kong for trolley laptop cases. "Our computer bags are sold mainly in Europe and the mainland, but we would like to move into new markets in Latin America," Ng adds.
Proving yet again that while all computer bags may look the same, Hong Kong manufacturers are constantly calculating innovative ways to develop new models, features and markets for a product that has become a necessity.
WRITTEN BY SUZANNE MOORE
Eternal Trans Far East Co
Pacific Trade Centre
2 Kai Hing Rd
Kowloon Bay, Kowloon
Hillway Corp Ltd
Rm 27, 2/F, Blk B
Proficient Ind Centre
6 Wang Kwun Rd
Kowloon Bay, Kowloon
Kee Po Bags Mfg Co Ltd
Flat D, 7/F
Leapont Ind Bldg
18-28 Wo Liu Hang Rd
Fo Tan, New Territories
Lap Shun Mfe Co Ltd
Unit R, 2/F
Int'l Ind Centre
2-8 Kwai Tei St
Fo Tan, New Territories
|Hong Kong Buyers Request Form||Overseas Buyers Request Form||More Publications|