30 Aug 2007
Rich Relationships(HKTDC Watch & Clock, Vol 03,2007)
|Wealthy Industrial Co uses Czech stones, Swarovski stones and CZ in its eye-catching fashion timepieces|
Long-term customer relationships and a steady focus on proven markets has helped a relatively young company carve its own niche in the global fashion watch industry.
Wealthy Industrial Co has only been in business since 1999 but has already built a firm foundation for its thriving international business.
"Of course, we are interested in new markets, but our first priority is to maintain our business with regular customers - that is very important," explains general manager Tony Cheng. "They know they can rely on us - in fact, around 60% of our customers have been with us more or less from the beginning."
The company manufactures an extensive and ever-growing range of watches at its factory in Shenzhen on the Chinese mainland, which employs approximately 150 people.
"We make around 15,000 to 20,000 watches per month," Cheng says, noting that Wealthy does mainly OEM and ODM work - although it does have plans to establish its own brand in future. "Generally, customers see our designs and then order watches on that basis, but we can also work from their designs as we are very flexible."
FOB prices for Wealthy's watches range from US$15-32 each, although the company has the expertise to manufacture special designs, which are more expensive.
Models in the current range cost around US$45 each, due to the relatively higher cost of the materials or labour-intensive manufacturing processes involved. "High-priced watches are a relatively minor part of our business," Cheng concedes.
Wealthy's major markets are North America, the Middle East, Asia and Europe. "We have looked at Eastern Europe and South America, but the risk of payment problems has prevented us from working towards serious exposure in those markets," Cheng admits.
The company does, however, devote considerable resources to ensuring that its design team is kept fully abreast of trends and tastes in markets where it has worked hard to establish itself and where it continues to maintain strong relationships.
For example, Cheng travels extensively on business, attending major watch fairs - including the critical Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair in September and BaselWorld in April - and briefs the mainland design team on his findings on his return.
"Each month we have three designers working full-time on creating 15-20 new models for our customers' selection," Cheng reveals. "Our ability to generate new designs has always been very important."
As a result, business is brisk, with steady demand for different styles from different regions. "Fashion watches are popular with ladies almost everywhere, but our biggest orders at the moment come from Europe and from major Asian markets such as Japan and Korea," Cheng explains.
He confirms that different markets prefer different styles. "For example, they like big watches with many stones in the Middle East, while in Japan and Korea the preference is for slimmer, simpler styles," Cheng notes. "However, Europe and North America prefer simple watches with fewer stones."
Wealthy's watches typically feature brass cases, mostly sourced in Japan, while other parts and components come from the mainland and Hong Kong suppliers provide the leather straps.
The company offers a choice of Swiss or Japanese movements, but Cheng says most customers opt for Japanese movements that offer good quality at a competitive price.
"The major issues for most customers are quality and price," Cheng insists. "You have to deliver a good product but you also have to compete in the market."
Flexibility and reliability of service are also strong suits for Wealthy. "Delivery time depends very much on which style or styles a customer has selected," Cheng explains.
If one order comprises just a few items - for example, 3-5 pieces - the company can provide it in 45 days. "However, some customers ask for as many as 20 models in one order, and that can take up to 60 days," Cheng says. "Our minimum order is 100 pieces, but customers can select two to three different platings such as gold, silver or rose gold."
Wealthy uses Czech stones, Swarovski stones and CZ for the ornately colourful, jewellery-like finish of many of its eye-catching timepieces.
"CZ stones are set while the others are glued," Cheng explains, noting that CZ is "very popular" this year. "Many customers like these on watches and they have been popular for several years, regardless of other fashions."
Wealthy Industrial Co
30 Shing Yip St,
Kowloon, Hong Kong