1 Jan 2002
Company Profiles(HKTDC Toys & Games , Vol 01,2002)
Tiny Toys, Giant Fun
Trade Development Council Export Marketing Award
Wing Mau Products Development Ltd
"We aim to create products with substantial play value. Instead of making toys that are mere decorations, we develop toys with functions. As a result, we have such items as assembly toys, pencil toppers and key-rings," says research and development director Daisy Wong.
Engaging in ODM and OEM work while also making licensed products, Wing Mau produces a wide range of small toys, most of which are made from plastic and for use as premiums.
"Our leading products include sticky or stretchy items, mechanical and articulated items, as well as assembly or electronic toys, including licensed items," says Wong.
Wing Mau produces custom-designed toys and handles special projects for promotional items. The company includes many major fast-food chains and soft-drink companies among its customers.
Wing Mau's wares include figurines and animal-shaped toys, robots, vehicles and even UFOs. Its electronic line includes flashlight key-rings. To mark the 2002 Soccer World Cup, the company will soon launch a soccer collection with figurines, spoons, plastic balls and key-rings.
"We have a team of in-house designers and more than 3,000 ODM products on offer. We launch about 10 new items every month," Wong says.
Wing Mau's 20-member research-and-development team garners its design ideas from trade shows, the Internet and trade magazines. The assortment of plastics, including hard plastics and PVC, used in production are sourced from Japan and the Chinese mainland.
"We provide a one-stop service. Customers need only give us their rough ideas or artwork, and we take care of the rest. This covers developing hand samples and tooling through to final production," says Wong.
Quality is a priority before, during and after production. "We have engineers in Hong Kong and in Dongguan on the Chinese mainland to make certain we solve any technical problems as soon as they occur. We also position ourselves with the most competitive prices," Wong adds.
Customer service, product safety, on-time delivery and client satisfaction are all priorities too.
Since founded by company president John Wong in 1975, Wing Mau has expanded steadily and now has offices in Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Chinese mainland. The Hong Kong office employs 80 people, with 4,000 more at the production facilities in Dongguan.
As part of its expansion drive, Ming Wau is building a 67,000-square-metre industrial estate in Dongguan to house all its factories upon completion in 2004.
"By grouping all our functions together, we will have better control of our costs and quality while at the same time increasing our competitiveness," Wong explains.
The US market accounts for 35% of Wing Mau's business, followed by Europe (30%), East Asia and Japan (20%) and South America (15%). Each year the company strives to increase its turnover by 5-10%.
WRITTEN BY LIZA LEE
Wing Mau Products Development Ltd
Manley Toys Ltd
Manley Toys Ltd was one of the winners of the 2001 Trade Development Council Export Marketing Awards. We present a profile of this outstanding company.
ALTHOUGH competition is fierce in the toy trade, Hong Kong toy maker Manley Toys Ltd has beaten off many major companies to claim a remarkable 46% share of global sales in the robotic toys market during 2001.
Since the June 2000 launch of Manley's Tekno brand toys, the company has grown from a virtual unknown into one of the top-ranking toy makers supplying the US. In 2000, Tekno products dominated the US market and a Tekno toy was among the best-selling toys in the country. A Tekno toy was "Toy of the Year" in both the US and the UK and was named as "The Number One Selling Toy" by the US magazine Time.
Chairman and chief executive officer Samson Chan attributes Tekno's success to the company's long-term product and marketing strategies.
"We have been upgrading our range for some time and have put large resources into R&D," says Chan. "This not only results in wonderful products; it also means paying a great deal of attention to two other areas - market intelligence and customers' requirements."
Manley's marketing strategy takes on several forms. A strong network of distributors is backed by close relationships with the "big six" toy retailers that hold more than 68% of toy sales in the US (Toys'R'Us, Wal-Mart, Kmart, KB Toys, Ames Department and Target). Manley has established EDI connections with these retailers to monitor sales and market trends.
Manley constantly analyzes product design and market trends to stay abreast of technological and engineering developments. Because Manley recognizes the importance of feedback, it conducts pre-launch demonstrations to major clients for reaction to new ideas and products.
The product range and market intelligence are supported by in-store promotions. Manley also spends heavily on coast-to-coast TV advertising in the US, home to 60% of its sales. The company plans to develop the European market.
Use of electronics turned the toy sector into one with a 12-month shelf life. Manley was quick to recognize the big impact electronics would have and cleverly positioned itself as a maker of techno toys.
"Pressure keeps building as the toy fashion cycle gets shorter, but we have grown up as a company and can deliver consistently," says Chan.
Manley began in 1976 with just four staff members but today has offices in Hong Kong, Los Angeles, New York and Des Moines. Product design is a collaboration between the Hong Kong and Los Angeles offices, and production is subcontracted on an OEM basis. "I'm proud to say our R&D team and our specialist engineering unit based in Hong Kong have got it right," says Chan.
With Manley's turnover for 2000 rocketing to US$308m (up from US$118m in 1999), its Tekno products are setting the pace for the techno toy world.
WRITTEN BY JOHN NEWSON
Manley Toys Ltd
8/F, Hong Kong Spinners Industrial Bldg,
818 Cheung Sha Wan Rd,
Kowloon, Hong Kong
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