7 July 2006
Virtual Reality(HKTDC Toys & Games , Vol 02,2006)
Kai Jal Industrial Ltd
|Kai Jal Industrial Ltd believes its "true-to-life" play sets offer ardent gamesters a chance to learn as they play|
While large numbers of children today spend a lot of time in a virtual world of computer games, Kai Jal Industrial Ltd believes its "true-to-life" play sets offer them opportunities to learn as they play.
The firm manufactures a range of "real" play sets with themes drawn from fascinating medieval myths and popular adventure stories.
"Children enjoy assembling our castles, dressing the knights with helmets and armour, putting them onto their horses, and inventing their own dialogue and imaginative tales," says managing director Tony Yeung.
Kai Jal made its debut in 1990, offering plastic toys for summer outdoors. "Unfortunately, the response to our first play set, a castle launched in 1999, was not very encouraging," Yeung recalls. "Happily, we booked four times as many orders a year later and have since made thematic play sets our signature products."
Yeung believes it will always take some time for the market to adjust to a new product, and also for buyers to build up confidence in a firm's design and quality capabilities.
"Our play sets are made up of numerous components, all of which are carefully engineered to fit well and be easily constructed and played with," he assures.
"We do a lot of business dealing direct with a range of customers encompassing importers and department stores," he adds. "We ship as many as 120 FEUs of play sets, outdoor game items and small battery-operated toys each month in peak season."
With the US and Europe as major markets, the company's designers draw inspiration from well known tales and legends. Among the most popular themes are Noah's Ark, Viking Boat & Island, Coliseum, Great Adventures of Lost Kingdom and Trojan Horse & Castle.
"Our latest design is Dragon Pirate Ship & Island, a play set featuring an intricately-designed dragon's head pirate ship with a balcony and cabin, 10 pirates and military figures, cannons, different kinds of pirate weapons, treasure chests, and various accessories such as trees, caves and sharks to make an exotic island environment," describes Yeung.
"We offer two or three new designs a year in large sets, and 8-10 new themes in the small-to-medium collection," he adds.
Each design takes at least a few months to complete, from the initial concept to making the first sample. Yeung compares the painstaking procedures to making a movie. "There is a large investment in R&D and background studies as we try to ensure the setting and appeal of the new theme is as close as possible to the myths or historical details," he says.
"We also try to give different personalities to the characters when we create new roles, and build in playful and educational features as seen from the child's perspective," Yeung adds.
Not only does Kai Jal put great emphasis on the overall design, it is also keen that its two ISO 9000-certified factories in Dongguan on the Chinese mainland perform up to expectations.
With a total floor area of 100,000 square feet and some 700 workers, the manufacturing facilities house various departments including product design, moulding, assembling, painting, quality control, engineering and packaging under one roof, empowering Kai Jal to produce everything in-house under the same stringent quality control.
"Quality control is of premier importance to us," Yeung stresses. "Every component is made with great precision to ensure it can be assembled easily when used as part of a theme set."
He says the QC team comprises 30 people, strategically placed on all assembly lines and starting from the plastic injection moulding process.
Kai Jal also uses non-toxic paint and raw materials including GPPS, ABS and HDPE from the US, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. Yeung says that only directly-imported materials are used to avoid any possibility of contamination by shippers.
"We also conduct numerous tests on the raw materials and the finished products so that everything complies with international safety standards such as ASTM, EN71 and RoHS," Yeung states.
He puts a sample of one of the firm's earliest play sets next to a castle set from the latest generation and points out how the workmanship and quality of the products have improved over the years.
"Just look at the details on the figures, the textures of the ancient wood and stones, and the three-dimensional designs of the castles or the dragon boat," he exclaims. "We are proud of the way we have evolved."
This growth is also a blueprint for the success that Kai Jal now enjoys and, with collectibles for adults coming we can soon all start to enjoy virtual reality.
WRITTEN BY WINNIE HUI
Kai Jal Industrial Ltd