29 Nov 2005
Children's Clocks(HKTDC Watch & Clock, Vol 01,2006)
Stainless Steel Watches
Among the huge range of timepiece products produced by Yes Promotion Co Ltd are these funky LCD alarm clocks
Today's clocks have to be more than mere timekeepers - they need to look good, stimulate the imagination and even engender warm feelings in the user. Hong Kong companies are keeping up with the times and offering a variety of children's clocks that do much, much more than simply tell time.
Correo Ltd, for example, finds that characters - even unknown ones - are easy to sell. "But the more well-known they are, the easier they are to sell," says Alexander Chan, managing director of the 11-year-old company. "Our idea is to add characters to our designs to try to bring more life to the products."
There are so many products available that it is difficult to get people interested, so "we try to give more feeling to the customers," he adds, noting that Correo's most popular children's clock is an animated model that looks like a bear.
About 20%-30% of the watches, clocks and electronics produced at Correo's 150-worker, 2,000-square-metre factory in Shenzhen on the Chinese mainland are ODM clocks, marketed under the Oreoreo and Coppens brands.
"Clocks are too big to make out of metal, which would make them too heavy, so we use plastic," Chan explains. "It is better in terms of price, easier for production and good for colouring."
Correo expects minimum orders of 2,000-5,000 items, depending on the product, which cost about US$5 per piece FOB Hong Kong and can be delivered to major markets like the US, the UK, Italy and Japan 30-45 days after order confirmation.
Cute characters are equally popular with Double Chin Ltd, which offers a variety of children's clocks featuring TV and movie characters including Mickey Mouse.
According to managing director Raymond Chan, the trend in children's clocks is towards TV and movie figures with Disney characters particularly popular at present.
"We manufacture for Japanese companies Bandai and Seika, and they let us know which characters they want us to produce," he explains.
Fifty per cent of the 25-year-old company's production for its Japanese and European clients is OEM, with clocks making up 30% of all production at its 90,000-square-foot factory in Shenzhen.
Chan says Double Chin's prices range from US$3-4 per piece FOB Hong Kong and the minimum order is 5,000 pieces. "Delivery is 40 days after order confirmation," he adds.
Double Chin's philosophy is echoed by T & G (HK) Holding Ltd marketing manager Christine Mak, who maintains that branded, educational characters such as Disney, Looney Tunes and Sesame Street are easier to sell and more popular.
"Different markets, however, have different tastes and different trends," she notes, adding that Japan is "far more fancy" and children's clocks there are also for young teens. "However, children's clocks in Europe and the US are more like cartoon figures and mainly for children."
T & G has held cartoon licences for many years and most of its products carry the Walt Disney trademark, although it also does OEM projects for other customers. "We handle both OEM and ODM projects - production is about 50/50," Mak adds.
Clocks make up 30% of the gifts, clocks, watches and fashion accessories the 12-year-old company manufactures at its 40,000-square-foot factory in Dongguan on the mainland. "Most of our clocks are made of ABS from Taiwan, but we also manufacture wooden and metal models," Mak explains.
Prices range from US$0.80-8.00 per item FOB Shenzhen for minimum orders of 1,000-3,000 clocks, depending on the model, delivered 30-45 days after order confirmation.
However, while cartoon characters sell well for some companies, Wan Tung Plastics Mfg Co Ltd sales manager Alex Lam maintains that cute, user-friendly, colourful, multifunction clocks that stimulate a child's imagination are more popular.
"Trends are more or less the same in different markets, but the outlook is different based on different cultures," he says, explaining that US consumers' tastes and styles differ from their European counterparts. "A pig, for example, will look like a real pig for the European market, but the proportions will be different for the US and it won't look like a real pig at all."
The 12-year-old company manufactures gifts, stationery, "bathroom buddies" and clocks, with clocks making up 10% of all production at its 10,000-square-metre, 700-worker factory in Shenzhen.
"Forty per cent of our production is OEM projects, while the rest is ODM designs," Lam says. "We require minimum orders of 1,000 clocks, which we deliver to markets worldwide 25 days after order confirmation."
Given the wide choice available from Hong Kong manufacturers skilled at producing cute, colourful and creative clocks, kiddies worldwide are going to continue having lots of fun learning to tell the time.
WRITTEN BY SHARMILA GOPINATH
Rm 501, New Victory House
93-103 Wing Lok St
Double Chin Ltd
Flat A, 18/F
Kam Man Fung Fty Bldg
6 Hong Man St
T & G (HK) Holding Ltd
Units 10-11, 4/F, Blk B
Hi-Tech Ind Centre
491-501 Castle Peak Rd
Tsuen Wan, New Territories
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