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BOXING CLEVER (HKTDC Packaging,1999)


Sept 1999





HK Enterprise Internet

BOXING CLEVER
Jewellery Packaging

HEAVY METAL
Tin Packaging

AN EYE FOR DESIGN
Spectacle Cases

MOVING WITH THE TIMES
Recycled Materials


BOXING CLEVER
Jewellery Packaging

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FIRST impressions count, which is why the way a gift is packaged is crucial.

Giving and receiving a gift is all about presentation. And the way jewellery products are presented in retail stores can also dramatically affect sales. Suppliers offer a multitude of designs and finishes with interiors fashioned for elegance and protection.

Among the wide selection offered by Man Yue Hong Plastic Fty are novelty Christmas gift boxes in Santa, snowman and cat designs made of plastic and flock. These split at the waist to show jewellery sitting on a round satin base and they brighten up gift-giving in their festive colours of red, green, gold and white. The swan and cat are each priced at HK$4.17 FOB Hong Kong, while the car is HK$3.42 and the snowman sells for HK$4.58.

The company also produces novelty packaging, such as beach buggy boxes, pink swans and treasure chest-style boxes, as well as traditional square and rectangular presentation boxes.

"We like to make our designs so that they stand out. But it is also important to be able to provide traditional boxes for customers as well. If the customer has their own design we can make boxes to order. Clients can also modify our products from our catalogue to meet their needs," says manager Gary Lau.

Minimum order is 100 dozen per design and colour, and delivery usually takes 40-50 days after order confirmation. Major markets are the US, Europe, the Middle East and South America.

"We are planning to produce totally new products for the future with more animal shapes and fancy designs on offer. Plus, we are working on a special range for the new millennium," says Lau.

The firm has a 15,000-square-metre, 600-worker factory in Dongguan, mainland China, which can turn out three million boxes a month.

Crown Jewelry Box Mfg Co, set up in 1994, offers jewellery and gift boxes, pouches and folders. Sales director Kim Yu says: "We are very creative and are expanding all the time. Each year we come up with three or four new designs and currently have more than 100 items to choose from."

Among the range are white plastic boxes that are split at the top, have a curved lid hinged at two sides and a metal pop stud closure. A bronze-coloured box with an old bookcase-style presentation also has a metal pop stud closure. Yu says FOB prices "vary, depending on the materials used and quantity ordered, between US$0.30 and US$20".

Minimum order is 1,000 items per design and delivery takes 30-45 days.

Main markets are the US, Japan and Europe. The firm's 1,000-worker factory on the mainland sources materials in the US, Europe, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

Among the extensive range from Tai Tung Jewellery Box Mfy Ltd are round plastic ring boxes with an inset magnifying window, leatherette earring and ring boxes, and small and large plastic pendant boxes.

The company, set up in 1971, produces jewellery boxes, watch boxes, pouches and gift packaging for markets worldwide. Minimum order is 1,000 items per design and delivery is usually within 4-6 weeks of order confirmation. Tai Tung has a 7,000-square-metre, 600-worker factory in Dongguan, on the mainland.

Fame Products Ltd, established in 1996, offers the Fames Collection, which includes neat pocket-size square jewellery boxes made of paper with a marble-effect finish, bevelled edges and hinged at the top. The black velvet-style interior is designed to offset the jewellery inside. Ring boxes are priced at US$0.32 FOB Hong Kong each and necklace boxes are US$1.15.

Minimum order is 1,000 boxes and the major markets are the UK, Germany and France.

The company has a 300-worker factory in Guangzhou, on the mainland, turning out 200,000 gift, jewellery and watch boxes a month.

Universal Metal Plastic Trading Ltd concentrates on boxes for jewellery and watches. It offers boxes that resemble a traditional round chocolate box decorated with red snakeskin-style covering and a neat red ribbon. Another is fashioned like a small antique wooden box, hinged, and has a metal button clasp. Materials are plastic, leatherette, pigpell and flock.

Minimum order is 100 dozen items per design and delivery takes 35 days. The company has a 1,500-worker factory in Guangdong, on the mainland, turning out about three million boxes a month for markets worldwide.

Written by Mike Nesbit


HEAVY METAL
Tin Packaging

TIN packaging suppliers import materials from worldwide sources, aiming particularly for top-quality anti-rust-treated iron sheet. One company offers tins made of Promica, a material developed by British Steel.

Sum Fung Li, account executive at Colour Honest Industries Ltd, says: "We get our raw materials from [mainland] China, and [South] Korea -- tin sheeting. The kind of treatment we give is to varnish the sheet to protect against rust. We make any kind of tins, you just tell me the size and we do it, [any] OEM orders. We produce around 500,000 tins a month and market all over the world. Delivery time, after receiving confirmation of an order, is about 30 days. The minimum order is 5,000 per item."

The company employs 150 workers in its factory in Dongguan, on the mainland, and introduces about 6-15 tin models each month. Major markets are the US and Germany.

GM Metal Packaging Ltd, established in 1991, imports raw materials for tins from the UK, [South] Korea, Japan and Brazil, according to director Sunil Gidumal. ¡§The base metal steel plate is iron. They call it tin sheeting because of the top coating, the shiny silver, which is tin. We receive it plated, the mill has got to do that directly," Gidumal says.

"The plate is formed into cookie tins, candy tins, basically, containers, for either stationery or liquor bottles, bottles of wine, for chocolates, those kinds of things. We actually manufacture metal packaging, we don't only use tin, we use galvanised sheeting." The company also uses a new material, developed by British Steel, called Promica. This uses a plastic PET coating and is reflective. Another material is for holographics, a similar construction as Promica, and is coated onto the metal. This features a film of PET and does not peel off.

Gidumal says pricing depends on what grade material is used. "You can work on anything from US$0.12 to US$0.24 for the smallest possible tin, which could be say 44x44x60mm, or, up to US$3 or US$4 for a large biscuit tin.

"The price depends on three areas: one -- the quality of material used, as there are various grades of materials, tin-free steel, etc; two -- depending on the quality of print run that you do; and three -- how you actually want to pack the product. Do you want to polybag the tin? These all affect final cost," Gidumal says.

"Also, how many can you get out of a tin sheet, the more you put on a sheet the cheaper your unit comes out to be. The larger the tin the more expensive, and also wastage.

"Hong Kong is good in the tin packaging industry because we try to utilise every possible part of the tin sheet, cutting down on wastage. This results in a more reasonable price," Gidumal says.

Yee Hing Metal Fty, established in 1982, offers a range of shapes, including a butterfly, and lunch boxes. Sales representative Gi Gi Leung says, "We get the electrolytic tin plate sheet from [South] Korea and the Philippines. Rectangular and round are the commonly requested shapes, but also some special shapes. We have a car shape and a duck shape, for example, these are the special shapes we can handle. For all these we use stamping machines."

The firm does the printing, stamping and applies an anti-rust coating at its 500-worker factory in Dongguan, which can turn out 2.8 million units a month. Minimum order is 6,000-12,000 tins and delivery takes 40 days. Main markets are the US and Europe.

Ricky Cheng, marketing department spokesperson at Sunpower Can Products Co, has 20 years' experience in the tin packaging industry. He says, "We can buy the tin sheet worldwide, though we most often purchase from Japan, Australia or Brazil. This varies according to the going price.

"We can make all kinds of tins using punching presses. These are for containing cookies and such uses."

The firm has a 120-worker factory on the mainland, which also turns out tin badges. Monthly production is 500,000 tin boxes. Minimum order depends on the individual enquiry and the printing needed and delivery takes 45 days.

Markets are Europe and the US.

Written by Tony Henderson


AN EYE FOR DESIGN
Spectacle Cases

PECTACLE cases have come a long way from basic holders that protect a pair of eyeglasses, to fashion accessories in a wide range of materials and colours. The ranges offered by Hong Kong suppliers include EVA, PVC, plastic and aluminium models in various shapes and finishes.

Get Choice Industrial Ltd manufactures a range of cases and is also able to cater for the individual needs of its OEM clients. "We can make any shape, from a variety of materials because our factory has a plastic and metal moulding department," says manager Tarrie See.

The company's range includes model 6621 -- a masculine case in brown imitation snake skin with a simple centre hinge; model 6619 -- a feminine design featuring a slightly padded fabric cover and available in several colours; model 8811 -- featuring a press button flip-top opening and key-ring/belt loop attachment; and model 6618 -- a kidney-shaped case with a metallic brown finish.

The cases are made of plastic or aluminium and are priced from HK$1.40 to HK$11 FOB Hong Kong each, depending on material and finish. The company introduces 10-20 new models each year.

Minimum order is 3,000 and delivery takes 25 days. Production capacity is about 50,000 units a month and the main markets are the US and Europe.

A range of modern and lightweight cases is available from Astucci Int'l Ltd, which makes cases under the Astucci label and for OEM clients, including leading US fashion houses. "Our production facility features state-of-the-art equipment. We have a fast time-to-market and use European designers," says general manager Hong Kong/China Calvin Chong. The company also has an office in the US.

Model AFT1 is an aluminium flip-top case in bronze colour; SC1, a case weighing 40 grams, has a magnetic closure and is silver- coloured; and the AS47 series of metallic PU cases is part of the firm's millennium range. The company introduces a new model every 3-5 months and many of the design ideas are client-generated.

Minimum order is 3,000 and delivery takes 30 days. Main markets are the US, Japan and Italy. The company can produce one million metal cases and 300,000 plastic/soft cases per month. Prices range from US$0.50 to US$2.50 FOB Hong Kong each.

Established in 1986, Kong Lung Mfy Ltd produces a range of cases made mainly of plastic and featuring unusual designs and use of colour. "We have our own designs and if clients have a sample, we can modify our existing design. This is quite regular," says marketing manager Natalie Kan.

The company participates in trade shows and introduces 2-3 new models at each event, with ideas being generated by trends in spectacle design.

Model P1064 is a clear orange or blue plastic case with a silver-coloured push open mechanism. Model 10107 has a matt finish and comes in a number of colour options; and model AL1092 has a metallic finish.

Prices, which depend on materials and finish, range from US$0.35 to about US$1 FOB Hong Kong each. Minimum order is 5,000 and delivery takes 45 days. Main markets are Europe, Australia and the US. The company has a factory in Shenzhen, mainland China, with more than 1,000 workers turning out more than two million cases a month at capacity.

Co-Rich Enterprises Ltd makes a range of sporty cases made of EVA with zippered closure. "We use other finishes depending on clients' needs, but this finish is becoming more popular, especially in Europe," says sales executive Joey Szeto.

The EVA models come in a variety of sizes, shapes, patterns and colours, some with belt loops, and prices start at US$0.75 FOB Hong Kong each. The company also uses PE, jersey, PVC, nylon and polyester.

Minimum order is 2,000 cases and delivery takes 30-45 days. Main markets are the US, Europe and Japan. The firm has a 40,000-square-foot factory in Shenzhen, on the mainland, turning out about 1.5 million cases a month.

Mida Mfg Co has been producing spectacle cases since 1985 and introduces new models every two months, although this is normally a change to the finish, not the shape.

"We keep the existing and classic shapes and alter the finish to reflect trends," says a company spokesperson.

The firm's cases are mainly made of aluminium with a PVC-leatherette finish, feature snap button closure and come in a variety of colours.

Minimum order is 5,000 and delivery takes 45-60 days. Main market is Europe. The company has a 100-worker factory in Guangzhou, on the mainland, turning out about 120,000 cases a month at capacity. Prices start at HK$6 FOB Hong Kong each.

Written by Vicki Williams


MOVING WITH THE TIMES
Recycled Materials

THE world's heightened sense of environmental consciousness is creating new opportunities for Hong Kong businesses. Companies that make products from recycled materials are finding growing demand for such goods.

Pulp moulded packaging, a paper product designed to cradle and protect items from electrical appliances to mobile phones, has become increasingly popular in the wake of regulations to eliminate non-biodegradable alternatives.

Starlite Environmental Friendly Center Ltd, one of the largest paper packaging manufacturers in Hong Kong, produces both pulp moulded paper and folding cartons from recycled paper.

The company exports worldwide, with Europe, Canada and the US its main markets. "We are also looking for new ones that are concerned about the environment. [Mainland] China could be one," says senior vice-president Thomas Lee.

Starlite's revenues totalled HK$402m last year, about 10% of which came from sales of recycled products. The company hopes to increase that to 20% within a year. It obtains its wastepaper from the mainland and the US.

Increasing concern about the environment has helped boost sales of products made from recycled materials. "Our sales of pulp moulded products increased 40% last year," says Lee, with folding cartons up 20%. "Business is getting hotter and hotter."

Along with paper, Lee says that straw or grass may become recyclable commodities in the future, and may completely replace polyfoam in 5-10 years.

Rich City Packaging Ltd specialises in making jewellery boxes and watch boxes from recycled plastic and paper. The company exports to France, Germany, the US, Japan and Taiwan. Director Joe Lam says: "We hope to expand throughout Europe."

Recycled plastic products account for about 40% of production and recycled paper another 10%. The rest of its merchandise is non-recycled.

"We have the capacity to increase our production by tenfold. Our business has just started, so we need to do more marketing to get more customers," Lam says.

He says the company, founded in April 1999, intends to concentrate on recycled paper rather than recycled plastic products. "Paper is easier to do. If you recycle plastic, you have to set up moulds. It's more expensive," he maintains.

Plans for the future call for the continuing creation of new box sizes and shapes. Rich City now has more than 1,000 models of paper boxes and 300 plastic.

Cherry Plastic Industrial Co Ltd makes biodegradable or photodegradable plastic bags, party favours and decorations from recycled plastic.

The bags are made of polyethylene film, polypropylene (PP) or high-density polyethylene (HDPE). The firm manufactures 1.5 million to two million bags per day and exports 80%, mainly to the US, Europe and Japan. HDPE is sourced from Singapore and its PP from South Korea.

The degradability of the bags can be adjusted to suit customers' needs. "In Europe, they ask for three-year degradability and Japan wants 18 months," says general manager Ricky Chung. Europe and Japan both ask for photodegradable products, he adds, with the US preferring goods that are 100% recyclable.

One of the company's latest products is a PE shopping bag made of two or three laminated layers. "Almost all shopping bags are single-layer. We use a double- or triple-layer and put the printing on an inner layer to protect it from wear," Chung says.

The company is also developing glow-in-the-dark inks that are able to withstand high temperatures and are free of toxic materials, such as lead, heavy metals and barium.

Yee Tai Printing Co imports wastepaper from South Korea and Japan to manufacture paper confectionery boxes, jewellery boxes and pulp moulding. The finished products are exported to the US and Germany.

"Recycled goods are about 80% of our business. The US likes boxes with different designs and colours, but Germany wants plain shapes and dark colours," says manager Anna Ho.

Yee Tai accepts OEM orders and also produces its own box designs. Ho says the company wants to broaden its markets, and plans to export to Austria and Australia. However, stiff price competition from mainland China has had an impact on the company's sales. "Our sales of candy boxes and jewellery boxes have fallen by about 20% in the last year, but pulp moulding orders have remained steady," she says.

Buying agents in Hong Kong say some overseas customers have placed orders for recycled goods with Hong Kong companies, but that business is still in its early stages.

Russ Berrie & Co Inc has a customer in Germany that buys recycled cardboard cartons and paper packing tape "in order to meet the country's strict import regulations", says assistant manager Pat Ng.

Patrick Chan, manager at Frandsen Trading (HK) Ltd, deals with Scandinavian customers looking for recycled plastic garbage bags from Hong Kong companies. Chan says: "The Hong Kong firms have more competitive prices -- about 20% less -- than Western companies." He adds that some customers have also inquired about jewellery boxes made out of recycled paper.

Written by Andrea Pawlyna

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