1 Feb 2002
Versatile Reliabilty(HKTDC Fashion - Footwear, Vol 01,2002)
Vol 1, 2002
If the Shoe Fits
Champion Wealth Industrial (HK) Ltd
|Sandals and slip-ons from Champion Wealth Industrial (HK) Ltd closely follow fashion trends.|
RUBBER sandals and slip-ons never go out of style. They can be worn at home, on the beach, out shopping or almost anywhere. Not so long ago, cutting-edge fashion celebrities were stepping out in rubber flip-flops as the footwear accessory of the moment.
Champion Wealth Industrial (HK) Ltd makes a wide range of PVC footwear for men, women, children and infants. The styles vary from simple to designer chic.
"We have been in this business for 11 years. Initially, we had a 300-person factory. Now we employ up to 800 people at our new factory," says sales manager Ida Yeung.
Champion Wealth's new factory is a 9,000-square-metre facility in Dongguan on the Chinese mainland. "We have 30 plastic injection machines. Assembly lines occupy the first two floors, with four lines on each level," says Yeung. Higher floors accommodate the printing and polishing sections.
Quality control occupies a combined laboratory and test room. "We test all our products here before shipping to avoid problems for customers," says Yeung.
All products must be of excellent standard for the company to earn long-term business. "If our customers have trouble we have trouble, so we take precautions," says Yeung.
Champion Wealth's monthly production is about 500,000 pairs. Minimum order is 3,000 pairs per design for shipment after 30-45 days.
"To maintain business stability and foster ongoing relationships with customers, we offer products that are fashionable, well-designed, high quality and competitively priced. Reliable service and timely delivery are also important," says Yeung.
Prices range from US$1-3 FOB Hong Kong. Main markets include the US, South America and Europe. Champion supplies various famous designer brands.
"We have eight people on our research and design team producing more than 100 designs per season. We also have technical and sample teams," says Yeung.
"We do OEM and ODM. Some customers have their own designers, and we do produce licensed products."
Fishermen's sandals remain a popular design. "Every year we have orders for this item. All that changes is the colour or the material," Yeung says.
Other popular items vary according to fashion trends. Some slip-ons feature floral themes while other styles are translucent with patterns.
"We keep up-to-date by checking fashionable clothes and matching our shoes to them. We also keep customers abreast of trends," says Yeung.
The company anticipates rising sales to Europe, South Africa and Japan. "The US is our leading market, with up to 40% of our business going there, but we do recognize the importance of expanding," says Yeung.
European markets hold strong potential, says Yeung, especially when trade quotas are lifted following the Chinese mainland's entry to the World Trade Organization. In Europe, as elsewhere, strong business and fashion sense should keep Champion Wealth a step ahead of the competition.
Champion Wealth Industrial (HK) Ltd
Qualfoot Co Ltd
|Qualfoot Co Ltd fulfils the fondest wishes of shoe aficionados by producing every conceivable style from fashion and casual models to sports shoes and slippers.|
"We began in the shoe business 12 years ago with an office staff of only six people. Now we have 20 people supervising production at more than 25 factories on the Chinese mainland," says director Ammon Luk.
The company aims to keep at least one production line exclusive to maintain better product control.
"We have 10 inspectors active throughout the Chinese mainland to handle our quality control," says Luk.
Main markets for Qualfoot's annual turnover of US$12m-13m include the US, Europe and Australia. Expansion plans are forming for South Africa and South America. "Buying power in those markets is getting stronger and there is not yet much competition," says Luk.
About 20 design lines per season are released. "We contract a designer in Italy whose designs are exclusive to us, and we do both OEM and ODM work," says Luk.
Patchwork designs are popular and have sold well for the past two seasons, according to Luk. This pattern appears on knee-high boots, calf-length boots and high- or low-heeled shoes.
Interwoven shoes are rising in popularity. "These are casual, stylish and easy to wear," says Luk. This style features wedge heels in pastels, red, blue and earth colours.
"One design popular year-in and year-out is the Mary Jane, which appeals to girls and women. For boys, the moccasin is always a classic," says Luk.
Qualfoot uses PU and soft leather sourced from Taiwan and South Korea. Other raw materials come from the Chinese mainland. Minimum order is 1,000 pairs per model for shipment after 40-60 days.
"Our low-end to medium-range shoes are for the US market. These are sold through the retail chains Target or Avon. The medium- to high-end shoes are for European markets," says Luk.
Price ranges are US$3-5 FOB Hong Kong for sports shoes and US$5-8 for fashion shoes.
Diversification helps make the company successful. "A strong presence in such markets as Europe, Australia and Canada is important because, if business in the US is slow, we must focus on sales elsewhere," says Luk.
Luk anticipates that a stronger euro currency in future will bring in orders from Europe. Qualfoot is also endeavouring to enter Japan.
"New designs, good service and competitive prices are all important in order to attract and maintain customers. So is being honest and earning a good reputation," says Luk.
By following this business philosophy, Qualfoot usually succeeds in putting its best foot forward.
WRITTEN BY MELISSA G WESTCOTT
Qualfoot Co Ltd
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