1 Jan 2003
Toy House(HKTDC Toys & Games , Vol 01,2003)
PVC And Beyond
PMS Int'l Far East Ltd
|Just a small selection of the wide range of toys and plush items that PMS Int'l Far East Ltd sells worldwide to some of the biggest brand names in the business|
Originally established in Essex, England, PMS Int'l Far East Ltd has been trading in Asian merchandise for three decades. Over the years, the company has expanded the scale of its activity in the region.
PMS, which began its Hong Kong operations with a staff of 12 in 1992, has expanded operations into a 16,000-square-foot office employing 50. An additional 18,000-square-foot office opened in Shanghai in early autumn 2002.
Despite PMS's expansion, its core product range remains largely unchanged. "We specialise in toys, houseware, sundries, stationery and Christmas decorations," explains director Paul Beverley, adding "there's probably more OEM now".
He says soft toys currently serve as PMS's main product range, where it is one of the world's top three suppliers of "amusement plush" shipped to amusement parks across the US and Europe.
PMS largely relies on its own production sources, and this assists with both communication and competitive pricing. "Proportionately, our OEM business is growing as we have some joint ventures in certain injection moulding and rotation factories, an assembly factory and three joint venture software factories," says Beverley.
The company also has joint ventures with medium-sized factories in Guangdong Province, Beijing and Nanjing on the Chinese mainland, each with about 400-500 workers.
Important export markets include Europe, the US, Australia and New Zealand, all of which are growing satisfactorily. "Our sales are still going up each year. We are growing in Europe - and in the US, where we've only been active for about four or five years," he says.
Above all, Beverley believes value is the key to PMS's success, especially in the fixed-price retail market offering discounted products at a set price of two euros [US$1-2].
"Value is the equating of price and quality," he says. "Probably 80% of our customers are major retail discounters around the world who come to us looking for an acceptable quality level but fantastic prices."
As a result, every major discounter from almost every country in Europe buys from PMS, he says. In addition, the company has penetrated the US discount market with accounts like Dollar General, Family Dollar and Dollar Tree, he states.
"Current challenges include the ongoing cautious consumer sentiment in the US, and a massive rise in shipping rates since 2001," he adds. Possibly the company's greatest milestone was the acquisition of the Spice Girls licence in the late 1990s, leading to a significant leap in turnover and profits. "This really got us into the US more seriously as it opened a lot of doors," explains Beverly. "In six months, we sold significantly in excess of US$20m."
PMS also prides itself on its "craze lines", ranging from a reincarnated version of Star Wars' Yoda to Butt-Ugly Martian and Hula-Hoops, or from miniature radio-controlled cars to aluminium scooters.
"People expect us to have these items," says Beverley. "Whenever there's a craze around, we're normally in the middle of it, from quite early on."
Indeed, he believes that PMS's strength is that it is still small enough to be able to arrange that "something special".
WRITTEN BY SUSIE LUNT
PMS Int'l Far East Ltd
2/F Empire Centre,
68 Mody Rd,
Tsim Sha Tsui East,
Kowloon, Hong Kong
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