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Clear The Way(HKTDC Packaging, Vol 02,2000)

Vol.2 2000


HK Enterprise Internet

PRODUCT FEATURES

Clear The Way
Transparent Packaging

VISIONARY CASES
Optical Packaging

Packs Fit For Jewels
Jewellery Packaging

Clear The Way

Transparent Packaging

THE magic of transparent packaging is that it allows merchandise to be seen while remaining nicely packed. Fiona Chu, a marketing officer from OEM manufacturer Hip Lik Packaging Products Fty Ltd, recognizes its power.

"One of our customers introduced both transparent and paper-carton packaging for identical cameras selling at the same price," Chu says. "The cameras in transparent packaging sold much faster. Such packaging can enhance sales appeal and volumes."

Hip Lik produces a wide spectrum of transparent and frosted packaging products, including boxes, tubes and die-cut plastic sheets. These are made from PVC, PET and PP, with offset printing, silk-screen printing or hot stamping applied.

"Our strengths are our soft-crease technology, offset printing and High-Ti PP bonding technique. We make soft-crease boxes that are easy to fold, fast to pack and elegant in appearance," Chu explains.

The company is proud of its offset-printing technique. Pointing to a PP folding box offset-printed with Smarties patterns, Chu says, "Not many companies can do offset printing on plastic sheets as it is very difficult to dry. We have a six-color Heidelberg offset press modified and equipped with state-of-the-art technology. And we use PP bonding technology, with a folder-gluer machine from Japan which is a rarity in Hong Kong so far."

Hip Lik's catalogue features a series of environment-friendly packaging made with PET and PP plastic sheets. Plastic materials used by the manufacturer come from various sources, including Japan, the US, Germany and Taiwan. The transparent containers are normally tailor-made in terms of style and dimensions, and they are usually printed upon customers' requests.

The company's products are used by numerous industries. "They can package gifts, cosmetics, candies or any merchandise that can benefit from see-through packaging," Chu says.

Hip Lik sells to department stores, importers and distributors in the US, Europe and Hong Kong. Minimum-order size depends on the model. Delivery takes two or three weeks, depending on circumstances.

Founded in 1969, the ISO 9002-certified producer operates a 500-worker, 100,000-square-foot factory in Shenzhen, mainland China. The facility is full of advanced machinery from Europe and the US.

Shih Ka Plastic Boxes Fty makes up to two million transparent and frosted packaging items per month. One frosted PVC box (SK-420) is distinguished by a pinkish-purple handle and a floral-petal sealing design. Edges of the cubic box measure about 10cm. "It's for packaging gifts. The PVC is from Taiwan," says manager Brenda Ting.

The company uses clear and frosted PVC and PP, soft PVC, and PET from the US, Taiwan and Japan.

"Our products package a wide variety of goods, including underwear, cosmetics, electronics and toys," Ting says. The minimum order is about 5,000 units. Lead time is two weeks.

"Customers usually give us the designs, but we can also design for them," Ting says. The company's biggest market is the UK, but it also sells to the US, Australia, France, Japan and Hong Kong. Its Shenzhen factory has 150 workers.

Each month, Hip Wah Plastic Box Mfy Ltd turns out about 500,000 transparent packaging items, including PP, PVC and PETG boxes and soft PVC bags. The most eye-catching include a vase-like PVC chocolate container with artificial PVC flowers attached (model H694).

"The flowers vary. For Valentine's Day, they're roses. For Christmas, they're holly," says director K.C. Lai. "They come in different colours."

The 11.5-inch item is made of PVC from Taiwan or Japan and priced at about HK$1.50 (US$0.19) FOB Hong Kong.

Hip Wah takes OEM orders or supplies designs based on customers' concepts and specifications. Minimum orders are usually 5,000 items, with a two-week lead time. The PVC, PETG and PP are imported from the US, Taiwan and Japan. Production is at the company's 500-worker factory in Shenzhen.

"The UK is our biggest market, followed by the US," Lai says. Others include France and elsewhere in Europe.

"Our customers are mostly department stores and manufacturers. For example, chocolate companies place orders with us," Lai says.

Hip Lee P.V.C. Products Ltd makes transparent and frosted PVC bags on an OEM basis. "We have two major product categories--one to accommodate cosmetics and hair decorations, plus one designed for garments, like casual wear, bridal wear and suits," says sales representative Rod Choy.

Among the cosmetics items is a rectangular PVC bag, 125x160x70mm, with two pipe handles and a sealing button selling at HK$2 (US$0.26) FOB Hong Kong, based on an order of 1,000. Coloured models, like an oval-shaped PVC zipper bag tinted blue on the sides, are HK$2.20 (US$0.28) each, for an order of 2,000. "Customers choose the colour," Choy says.

The FOB Hong Kong prices for Hip Lee's transparent goods range from HK$0.35 (US$0.04) for train-pass holders to more than HK$11 (US$1.41) for bridal-dress and suit packaging.

Lead times can be as short as a week, depending on quantities and complexity. The company produces at a 300-worker factory in Dongguan, mainland China.

Hip Lee's biggest markets are Europe and North America, but it also sells to Asia. "Our customers include trading firms that pack assorted products together in our bags," Choy says.

WRITTEN BY LIZA LEE


VISIONARY CASES

Optical Packaging

NO longer are cases for optical products restricted to standard shapes and colours. With an eye to this evolving market, Hong Kong packaging makers constantly produce bright, imaginative designs for their international customers.

Grand Artic Ltd produces various metal cases, soft bags and plastic cases. Its current range features metal cases with PVC or PU covering. A block-shaped case with rounded corners, model G3A, costs HK$5.20 (US$0.67). Model G1, with an indent in the centre of one long side, costs HK$5.50 (US$0.71). Other models include G44 at HK$5.50 and G47 at HK$5.90 (US$0.76). All prices cited in this article are FOB Hong Kong.

Marketing manager Moniz Chan says Grand Artic makes cases in many colours, depending on materials. "Our most popular ones are black, navy, burgundy and green," she adds.

The company produces about 200,000 optical cases monthly at its 2,000-square-metre, 300-worker factory in Dongguan, mainland China. Minimum order is 1,000 pieces per style. Delivery takes 30-45 days.

Chan says Grand Arctic sells mostly to customers from Australia, the US and Europe. "We're trying to penetrate more into Europe because that market has huge potential," she says.

Though Grand Artic's prices are reasonable, it also emphasizes service. "High-quality designs are an important part of this. We are very service-oriented. Our priority is giving customers exactly what they want."

Natpak Optical Ltd has excelled in the packaging business for more than 25 years, with products for watches, jewellery, eyeglasses and pens. Each month, this ISO 9001-certified company makes about five million products at its 5,000-worker factory in Dongguan.

Its latest range includes a middle-opening optical case with metal trim, model PU-9109, at US$0.72; a straw optical case with zipper, PU-9108, US$0.71; and a two-material finish case, PU-9127, US$0.70. The main materials are straw, leatherette, wood and velvet sourced from the UK. The minimum order is 10,000 pieces per style, with delivery after 30-45 days.

While the company's main market is the US, it also sells to Canada, the UK and Italy. "We participate in exhibitions all over the world," says marketing executive Kinsen Au. "We're also expanding our range of eyewear display units to give customers a greater choice."

Natpak Optical has its own designer, who develops several new concepts each month. "We can supply numerous products in numerous colours and shades, depending on the material used," says Au. "While design is vital, our first concern is quality. We also offer good service, all at fair prices."

Qualipak Mfg Ltd's optical cases include an aluminium model, EGA-60; a python-skin style, EG-79; a flip-top case, EGP-88; and a handbag style, EG-101. The general price range is US$0.60 to $1.50.

The company's raw materials are plastic, wood, steel, aluminium and imitation leather. "We work on new materials processes, like aluminium anodizing," says marketing manager Agnes Poon. "Many new materials and finishes are available. We're exploring these to widen customer choices."

Qualipak has a Hong Kong-based, in-house designer and a sample team at its China factory. "We spend a lot of time researching our products," says Poon. "The packaging business is extremely competitive, and we stay ahead by focusing on creativity and innovation."

The company makes an estimated two million pieces monthly at its 20,000-square-metre, 3,500-worker factory in Shenzhen, mainland China. Minimum orders are negotiable (depending on design), and delivery takes 45-60 days after order confirmation.

Good-quality design is a key feature at Evergreen Plastic & Metal Mfy Ltd, says manager Paul Li. "Our prices are low too," he adds.

Evergreen has made optical cases and tin boxes since 1990. Usually, it uses tin and aluminium from South Korea or Japan. The current design range features an oval case, a half-cylindrical case with a metal fastener, and a flip-top-lid, octagonal case. Prices vary from US$0.50 to $1.

Up to 900,000 products per month emerge from Evergreen's 5,000-square-metre, 250-worker factory in Dongguan. Its minimum order is 3,000 pieces per model, with delivery taking 30-45 days. Main markets are the US and Europe.

WRITTEN BY CAROLINE BIEBUYCK


Packs Fit For Jewels

Jewellery Packaging

WITH new materials and creative use of old ones, Hong Kong makers of jewellery packaging are developing more models than ever. Competition among Hong Kong producers and Thai rivals is lowering prices, while enhanced quality attracts top buyers from Europe.

Universal Metal Plastic Trading Ltd, a company established in 1996, makes plastic boxes and displays for jewellery and watches. From a 1,500-worker factory in Dongguan, southern China, Universal produces more than two million units per month, priced from US$0.15 to $25 per dozen. All prices listed in this article are FOB Hong Kong.

Sales manager Phyllis Liu says the company offers more than 100 designs. Its best sellers are flock boxes with special leatherette covers selling for US$3-25 per dozen. One series has five sizes covered with soft-touch flocking in more than 20 colours ranging from standard black to shocking turquoise blue.

"The covers use special flocking made by our supplier specially for us," says Liu. "They are soft and have a nice texture."

Prices for the series range from US$0.30 to $1 per piece. Eighty per cent of Universal's exports are split between Europe and the US, with the remaining 20% bound for the Middle East and Asia.

Liu says Europe has registered the biggest surge in demand during the past year. "Before, customers in Italy and new markets like Poland and the Czech Republic would buy from Thailand. Since economic problems began in 1997, many factories there have closed, and those buyers are coming to Hong Kong," she explains.

"Our wide product range attracts many customers. Some competitors specialize in one or two product types, but we have eight. With this wide range, we offer a one-stop-shop environment for customers," says Liu.

Delivery time is up to 35 days, and the minimum order is 100 dozen per item or to the value of US$2,000.

ERS Box specializes in high-gloss, high-class wooden boxes. Since starting in 1990, the company has upheld the principle of supplying quality products, according to director Raymond Louie.

"We use the finest oak from Canada, and we can tint boxes to any colour, according to customer needs," he says. "Our advantage is a specialist coating technique."

The 15 PU-coating process is a painstaking one done by hand and taking up to a month to complete. Prices range from US$3 per box at the lower end to US$200 for collectors' items. The best-selling range is up to US$12 per box.

Louie says up to one-third of the world's major brand names use ERS boxes. "Previously, such customers always bought from manufacturers in Europe, but these factories are too expensive now, so they shifted to sourcing from Asia, and especially from ERS," he declares proudly.

Delivery lead time from the company's 300-worker Dongguan factory is 45 days, and the minimum-order value is US$3,000.

Land Fortune Industrial Ltd marketing manager Walter Tze insists jewellery-box designs must be functional. Land Fortune has manufactured since 1993 and now produces more than 20 collections of packaging items at its factory in southern China.

Once functional aspects are designed, the material is chosen. "Our new TK Collection features Italian simulated-leather boxes. It is a new material and can be hot-stamped with any company logo without having to use gold foil, making it very convenient," Tze says. Prices for this collection range from US$0.70 to $4.

Using another material, the BL Collection is a range of paper boxes with handles inspired by shopping bags and priced from US$0.24 to $2.50.

Land Fortune's main export market is Europe, but sales to the US are growing. The minimum order is worth US$4,000, and delivery takes 40 days.

Unitpak Industrial Co Ltd employs 2,700 workers in its factory in Shenzhen, near Hong Kong. Marketing manager Lillian Chan says the company makes more than a million boxes and display units for jewellery, watches and pens each month. It specializes in wood and paper boxes of special designs.

Launched in 1994, Unitpak displayed at the World Watch, Clock and Jewellery Show in Basel, Switzerland, for the first time in 1996. Now exports to Europe account for 30% of the company's production. North Americans buy even more Unitpak items.

The company's best-selling products range from US$0.25 to US$6. Wood boxes range from US$2-65. Paper boxes, priced from US$0.15 to $2, are very popular in Europe.

"Our business benefited in the past few years as customers came to us instead of Thai factories which were closing. We are investing heavily in machinery and cutting costs to offer even more competitive pricing structures," Chan says.

The minimum order is 2,000 boxes, with delivery time of 45 days.

WRITTEN BY JOHNNY EDISON

 

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