1 Sept 2004
Titanium Frames(HKTDC Optical,2004)
Chuen Fung Spectacles Services Mfy Ltd offers a wide choice of titanium frames including full rim, half rim and rimless models
The light weight, durability and sophisticated look of titanium makes it an ideal material for frames with newer, flexible alloys allowing more creative and fashionable designs. Hong Kong manufacturers are cashing in on international demand for classy titanium frames.
Enjoying good business, Chuen Fung Spectacles Services Mfy Ltd produces more than 25,000 pure titanium frames a month in addition to 100,000 other frames in metals such as stainless steel, memory steel, Monel, nickel silver, aluminium and combinations.
This nine-year-old ISO 9001-certified company moved into titanium some three years ago and produces women's, men's and children's semi-rimless and rimless titanium and beta-titanium frames at a 5,000-square-metre facility in Dongguan on the Chinese mainland.
"Titanium frames account for about 30% of our business," says sales executive Erica Lai. "Customers like this high-end, long lasting material, particularly for classic styles." Standard black, gold, silver and gunmetal are most popular for adults, and light blue, green and red are attractive for children.
Europe is Chuen Fung's biggest market, accounting for more than 50% of the titanium business. Other important markets include the US and Japan.
Titanium looks set to remain a popular choice. "There should be a good market for titanium for the next few years. Beta-titanium is very popular and accounts for half our titanium sales," says Lai. "Its elasticity makes it more flexible for styling rimless models." The titanium comes from Japan.
The minimum order is 300 frames per model. Delivery, after confirmation of order, takes 90 days for pure titanium frames and 60 days for other versions.
Titanium frames are also an increasingly popular export for Hoi Tat Optical Mfy Ltd, a 30-year Hong Kong veteran of the optical frame business. Some 500 workers in a factory in mainland Dongguan produce 200,000 frames a month, of which about 10% are titanium and beta-titanium.
"We have produced titanium frames for more than five years and business is growing at around 5% per year," says assistant marketing manager Verinder Cheng. "We have more than 100 models in men's, women's and unisex frames, mainly in pure titanium."
Classic styles are the most popular, as are gunmetal, gold and brown for men and gold and pink for women. Major markets are the US, accounting for some 60%, and Europe with 35-40%. "We are also looking at Japan and South America," adds Cheng.
Hoi Tat has a 10-strong design and R&D team and plans to explore new titanium parts and electroplating methods to enhance the look. "We want to develop more unisex models with inlaid titanium in the temple and bridge parts to create more appealing looks for the younger market," she says.
Prices for titanium frames start at US$10-17 per pair FOB Hong Kong, while the minimum order is 300 pairs per size per model in three colours for delivery 60-90 days after order confirmation.
Equally enthusiastic about titanium is Mech-Tronic Precision Mfg Ltd, which plans to launch a new brand at the Hong Kong Optical and Silmo fairs. "The brand is unique and carries an image centred on traditional Chinese themes, with the name 'Qin', taken from one of the Chinese dynasties," general manager Raymond Leung explains.
"This traditional Chinese image will be carried right through graphics and packaging, and the frames, many of which are titanium, will be exquisite, high value items."
This company's ISO 9001-certified mainland factory in Huizhou produces 60,000 frames a month, of which about 15,000 are titanium. About 50 new models/designs are added each month to the 600 already available.
"We started producing titanium frames five years ago," says Leung. "We began with pure titanium and developed material and colour treatments, such as beta-titanium, ionised plating, sand blasting and processes, to provide an antique-look finish. Fashionable frames for women are pink, light green and light blue, some with laser engraving, while for men it's the square or rectangular look in gold, dark blue and black with matt finish."
Leung says titanium is popular in Europe, which accounts for two-thirds of the company's exports, while other important markets are Taiwan, Singapore and South Africa. "We are also looking at potential customers in the US." The titanium comes from Japan.
The minimum order requirement is 300 pairs per model delivered 60-90 days after order confirmation.
Also looking on the bright side is Kelfred Optical Ltd, producing some 10,000 titanium frames a month including pure and beta-titanium. Production takes place at a factory in mainland Shenzhen, where 300 workers produce 300,000 metal and acetate frames and sunglasses monthly.
"The cost of titanium is quite high for spectacles and there is very strong price competition from companies in the southern mainland," says Ken Kwok, sales manager for the 18-year-old company.
Major markets are Europe, the US, Canada and Japan, attracting customers appreciating corrosion-free titanium and its ability to withstand high temperatures. "We also import Tivec -- a unique nickel-free titanium alloy -- from Japan to ensure high strength and quality." The minimum order requirement is 300 pairs per model for delivery 75-90 days after confirmation of order.
When it comes to titanium, Hong Kong-made frames clearly set trends and enjoy bright sales.
WRITTEN BY SANDRA JENNER
Chu Kong Optical Mfy Ltd
Rms 1106-1108, Tower A
63 Wo Yi Hop Rd
Kwai Chung, New Territories
Chuen Fung Spectacles Services Mfy Ltd
Rms 9-10, 3/F
Po Hing Centre
18 Wang Chiu Rd
Kowloon Bay, Kowloon
Forigroup Co Ltd
Unit A, 7/F
Howard Fty Bldg
66 Tsun Yip St
Kwun Tong, Kowloon
Hoi Tat Optical Mfy Ltd
Flat K, 10/F, Blk 1
Kwun Tong Ind Centre
472-484 Kwun Tong Rd
Kelfred Optical Ltd
Rm 14, 12/F
Wah Wai Ind Centre
38-40 Au Pui Wan St
Fo Tan, New Territories
Mech-Tronic Precision Mfg Ltd
Unit W, 7/F
Valiant Ind Centre
2-12 Au Pui Wan St
Fo Tan, New Territories
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