1 June 2003
Designs On Success(HKTDC Watch & Clock, Vol 02,2003)
Designs On Success
Adding Value Boosts Sales
Bondman Time Ltd
|Bondman Time Ltd produces both high-end brass and stainless steel watches and low-end premium alloy items|
Creating eye-catching designs that fit in with global watch trends is the key to success, according to Bondman Time Ltd. The Hong Kong-based manufacturer is investing more time and money in its design capabilities so that it can keep existing customers happy, extend its customer base, and fight off increasing competitiveness in the market.
Twenty-year industry veteran Raymond Tsoi established Bondman Time in 1998. It has grown rapidly and now has a staff of 18 in Hong Kong and another 300 at its 1,500-square-metre manufacturing plant in Shenzhen on the Chinese mainland.
The company has the capacity to produce about 200,000 pieces per month. "We produce gents', ladies' and children's fashion watches," says sales and marketing manager Sylvia Ki. "We have two different product lines: low-end watches such as premium items in alloy, and high-end brass and stainless steel models."
Bondman Time also manufactures a limited quantity of clocks, generally small table clocks in alloy, for existing customers.
Ki says that up until about a year ago the US was the company's largest market, accounting for 60-70% of production. Now it is evenly split between the US and Europe (about 40% each), with a sizeable proportion also going to South Africa (around 20%) and small quantities to Japan and other Asian countries.
The focus changed because of the economic situation in the US following the terrorist attacks while the European market took off at the same time, particularly in Germany, Spain, France and the UK.
"We will concentrate on low-end products more for the US market," says Ki. "Customers there - who include importers and department stores - are looking for fashionable designs that change often.
"In Europe, some countries want models that are more durable. They want good quality, especially in the UK and Germany. Of course, quality standards are different in Europe and we need to comply with certain safety regulations, for example with regard to nickel content."
The company is currently focusing on strengthening the high-end range, though it will continue to produce lower-end designs and develop products for the promotions market.
Ki adds that Bondman Time is also putting more effort into increasing its customer base in South Africa and South American countries, where the company sees good opportunities for expansion.
Given the current global economic situation and price competitiveness in the watch industry, Ki says Bondman Time has devised a marketing strategy that focuses on two aspects: the customer and the product.
"We need to keep existing customers happy so that they stay with us while at the same time looking to increase our customer base," she says. "It is not just about price, however, but quality and good service too. We are investing more in design so we can offer our customers more variety. We try to create something different from other companies."
Service and quality are also very important to Bondman Time, says Ki. "For example, we must keep customers up to date with new models and with what we are doing. At the same time, we must get information on what they need and what is popular in the market and try to work on that in order to help our customers and help ourselves."
WRITTEN BY ANN WILLIAMS
Bondman Time Ltd
Rm 305, Shun Fat Ind Bldg,
17 Wang Hoi Rd, Kowloon Bay,
Kowloon, Hong Kong
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