1 Aug 2007
Fashion & Flair(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 08,2007)
|Tung San Metal Works Fty Ltd lays claim to being one of the largest manufacturers of metal, imitation jewellery in Hong Kong|
Bracelets and bangles were the first metal accessories manufactured by Tung San Metal Works Fty Ltd, established 1970. While continuing to produce those two items in profuse forms, the company now lays claim to being one of the largest manufacturers of metal, imitation jewellery in Hong Kong, with a monthly production capacity in excess of 2.5 million items. A diverse line of photo frames is also manufactured.
"By the early 1980s," relates assistant marketing manager Simond Lee, "we found there was too much competition from both Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland - especially from factories in the mainland's far north with very cheap labour and land prices. As they were all engaged in simple metal accessories, we started to develop new lines at a quality that also took us out of that highly competitive situation."
In the ensuing years, Tung San has also increased its workforce from 200 to the present-day 1,800. "We are now vertically integrated," adds Lee. "Apart from having our own design and R&D teams, we handle all production steps in-house, from electroplating and mould-making to final assembly and packing." Other processes include stamping, lost-wax injection, die-casting and roll-forming - the latter mainly for metal photo frames.
"We offer more than 10,000 items of metal imitation jewellery that are variously adorned with Austrian crystals, CZ or freshwater pearls according to the design and demand. OEM orders are also welcome," says Lee.
"We also became involved in gift items in 1999, when we started to produce metal photo frames, and we continue to expand in the gifts sector," he adds.
Initially, Tung San products went to a middle-age market sector. "However, several years ago demand started to increase for fancy imitation jewellery for teenagers," Lee states. "Fashion trends dictated purchases, and items such as decorative metal belts and bangles found favour with a younger market. The belts remain a major selling line, this year especially."
The imitation metal jewellery lines come in many forms. "We have matching sets such as a bangle with earrings, pendants and necklaces," Lee says, adding that many of the firm's products find homes as promotional items used by cosmetics manufacturers and suppliers.
"However," he continues, "we can also supply high-end goods and meet the needs of different market segments. For example, outside of the women's market we now find accessories for men an expanding sector that we can cater to. In the past two years, we have produced more cufflinks and tiepins and so forth."
Stainless steel, brass and various alloys are common raw materials used by Tung San in its costume jewellery lines. "We are also very proud of our hand-painted epoxy items and I would say we are one of the top manufacturers in this field, both in Hong Kong and on the mainland."
Extreme reliance on metals has its downside, and Lee says that Tung San has been negatively affected by the tremendous price rises in the materials. "But so are the others," he observes. "Maybe we came out stronger and more capable in a market where the weak succumbed. Our strong design and sales teams are central to our empowerment."
Tung San pays attention to quality, style and customer service. "We were ISO 9000-certified in 2001," says Lee. "To further increase efficiency, we have invested in an ERP system and aim to integrate all data and processes to help us improve the quality of service by having highly relevant and accurate data always onhand."
The march to modernization includes a comprehensive range of machinery covering all the important production process. For example, the tooling department has an advanced Italian-made CNC machine centre and American-made rapid prototyping machines. "Our production department has a German lost-wax machine, stamping machine and die-casting machine," Lee adds. "We also have a semi-automatic electroplating production line and epoxy machines."
Production takes place at Tung San's 400,000-square-foot, 1,800-worker factory in the Foshan area of Guangdong Province. Minimum order value is US$5,000 per shipment of 20-30 styles and delivery is 40 days after order confirmation.
"We hope to do more business in direct customer sales, which will be more profitable and allow us to provide exactly what the buyer needs," says Lee. "At the same time, we fully intend to continue to grow corporate gift lines."
A typical Hong Kong success story, Tung San Metal Works Fty Ltd appears to have all bases covered.
TEXT BY TONY HENDERSON
Tung San Metal Works Fty Ltd