19 July 2005
The Party Line(HKTDC Toys & Games , Vol 02,2005)
Look, No Hands
The Party Line
M.T.C. (HK) Ltd
|M.T.C. (HK) Ltd is affiliated with some 500 factories on the Chinese mainland|
Among Hong Kong's pacesetters in this busy sector is M.T.C. (HK) Ltd, which has enjoyed multiple growth since being set up by partners William Man and Daniel Chan just 12 years ago.
"We've never stopped expanding since the two founding partners set up business in a 400-square-foot room in 1993," says executive manager Iris Ng. "They saw a developing niche and seized a golden opportunity, starting with a small number of products and using shelves in the office as a showroom. As business grew, they soon moved to bigger premises and began hiring staff - especially talented young designers with plenty of bright ideas."
Today, M.T.C. operates in a spacious 2,500-square-foot office in Hong Kong and is affiliated with 500 factories on the Chinese mainland.
Ng states that all children love a party, and that no party is complete without a variety of party accessories. "Celebrations take place in every part of the world, and parties are thrown for all kinds of reasons including birthdays, engagements, promotion, farewells, house-warming and other significant events. There are also many publicly celebrated events such as Christmas, Easter, Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras, Halloween and St Patrick's Day."
Unsurprisingly, the company's biggest markets are in the most prosperous countries where party giving is commonplace: the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and, in Europe, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK.
"We specialise in items such as whistles, horns, squeakers, poppers, crackers, trumpets, tambourines, flutes, maracas, masks, cowboy and police badges, small plastic toy-sets and so on," says Ng, "plus such necessities as coloured paper plates, cups, straws and serviettes and, of course, invitation cards."
The firm also emphasises variety of design and colour in order to provide a wider selection for buyers. "However, while our products undoubtedly help create a joyous atmosphere, we are also concerned about the safety of the consumer and we make sure that everything complies with the standards and requirements of the US Food and Drug Administration," says Ng.
M.T.C.'s best customers are the dollar stores in US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, where nothing costs more than US$1. "These companies have a constant throughput not only of our party lines but also a wide range of other items that we handle such as toys and novelties. Many people go to these outlets to stock up on party supplies and other novelties," says Ng.
"We also see great market potential in Eastern Europe as the economy starts to expand, and we hope to build a customer network in Russia, Poland and Hungary."
Ng notes that party ware tends to be used just once, which means that the next time a company or family throws a party they have to buy new items. "For this very reason, demand tends to be constant."
However, the demand factor - and the success it has generated for companies like M.T.C. - also leads to fierce competition and price-cutting from newcomers looking to force their way into the business.
"Our business is continually under attack from competitors on the mainland," Ng laments. "We fight back in the best possible way by emphasising the quality of our products and our dependable on-time delivery schedules of 30-45 days from confirmation of order."
Ng says the company will continue to maintain its competitiveness and position even if it means cutting profit margins to the bone, "which is very hard with soaring oil prices putting extra pressure on production costs. Things are really tough out there today."
No matter how tough it gets, though, M.T.C. is determined to remain at the forefront of the party business.
WRITTEN BY GEOFFREY SOMERS
M.T.C. (HK) Ltd
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