1 March 2002
Perfect Presentation(HKTDC Packaging, Vol 01,2002)
Hing Wo Industrial Co
|Design-focused Hing Wo Industrial Co has increased the number of new packaging styles it launches each year while shortening their shelf lives.|
A maker of packaging since 1983, Hing Wo regards stylish design as a prime focus for its four main lines: paper boxes, PVC, PET and PP boxes and cards, soft PVC pouches and presentation cushions.
Custom-made packaging is also available for gift and premium items, fashion jewellery, toys, stationery, electronic items, watches and, more recently, cosmetics and home appliances. For packaging, evidently anything goes.
"In the past, we produced only standard paper packaging for items like lipstick, but now we concentrate on making packaging that looks good," says Chiu.
In maintaining its design focus, Hing Wo increases the number of new styles launched each year while shortening shelf lives. Designs are released for only a few months, rather than a year. The Hong Kong-based designers work on new creations and advise on the choice of materials, but the graphics side is left to clients.
Hing Wo began at a time when packaging companies were few and customers many. Yet in today's market, change and adaptation are crucial.
"If we don't change, we will disappear. Packaging is unlike any other product. Since there are no specific functions, designs must forever change," says Chiu.
More than 50% of Hing Wo's products are recyclable. "I see this figure increasing," predicts Chiu.
In meeting diverse requirements from different customers, Hing Wo accepts small orders, if stock materials are in hand. Usual shipment time is 7-12 days after order confirmation.
Hing Wo serves all price ranges. For orders needing higher-end products, materials are sourced from Japan, the US, Europe and Taiwan. For lower-end orders, materials come from the Chinese mainland.
Finding the perfect finish is an ongoing challenge. To minimize costs for clients, Hing Wo concentrates on creating new-product looks through different printing effects, rather than through new materials. For instance, the festive season saw packaging with glitter finishes, while the post-festive trend proceeded to graphic printing effects.
Hing Wo's factory in Guangdong Province on the Chinese mainland is a mid-size facility where output varies according to processing, printing and finishing needs. Printing types include offset, silk-screen, pad and hot stamp, as well as logo pressing.
The company's Chinese mainland sales office in Guangzhou began as a backup to the Hong Kong sales operation, but is fast expanding. One big attraction is that buyers can inspect production at the nearby factory.
In a business that is all about appearances, first impressions do count.
WRITTEN BY TAMARA CHEUNG
Hing Wo Industrial Co
Hip Lik Packaging Products Fty Ltd
|Regardless of what products are inside, packaging from Hip Lik always tastefully displays the contents to best advantage.|
LIKE Hip Lik Packaging Products Fty Ltd's creations, the company's slogan to describe its products and the benefits to customers is fully transparent: "Clear Advantage".
"Transparent packaging is becoming more popular. The market is expanding, designers are finding new ways to use it and prices are becoming more competitive. Hip Lik has the experience, technology and machinery to offer customers a one-stop service," says general manager William Suen.
Established as a family business in 1969, Hip Lik has become a major supplier, using mainly PVC, PP and PET for production. Hip Lik was among the first makers of transparent packaging in Hong Kong to be awarded ISO 9002 certification.
"We specialize in 'soft-crease' technology, which is particularly demanded in the US and the UK," says Suen.
Boxes can be delivered flat to customers for assembly to save transportation cost. The soft crease produces a rigid shape without a need for skilled staff and is quick to assemble.
Hip Lik was also among the first to assemble PP packaging using glue rather than interlocking tabs. "It is more flexible for customers," says Suen.
"There is an increasing trend toward adding printing to transparent packaging rather than inserting card or paper into boxes. Printing on transparent packaging looks much more elegant and is easier for customers because they don't need to go to another supplier."
However, printing on plastic can create difficulties and many companies lack the specialist machinery and know-how. "We do offset silk-screen and hot stamping, thanks to skilled labour, sophisticated machinery and quality materials," Suen says.
Rather than specializing in a single process, Hip Lik can handle everything, including die-cutting, printing and gluing.
It imports A-grade raw materials for the high-end market and Taiwanese materials for the lower end. Machinery comes from the US and Europe.
Knowing customers are environmentally conscious, Hip Lik responds by increasingly using environment-friendly materials. Being recyclable and degradable, PET and PP meet the necessary criteria.
For some products, Hip Lik uses super high impact (SHI) materials developed in conjunction with a supplier. "Although looking the same as traditional material, SHI is much tougher," explains Suen, who demonstrates by banging a piece of SHI and a piece of non-SHI plastic on his desk. The latter shows a network of cracks while the former is undamaged.
Designers are becoming more creative with transparent packaging. One trend is toward "floating" effects when a product appears suspended in the middle of the box. Japanese companies are keen to package small items in transparent materials, and this is spreading to the US and France.
Hip Lik's major markets are North America and Europe, but it is expanding to areas like the Middle East and South America, where companies traditionally use paper packaging.
Transparent packaging surrounds numerous products, like cosmetics, cameras, candles, toys, greeting cards, stationery, underwear and watches. Prices are competitive due to increasing demand.
Although most customers are from overseas, more than 70% of Hip Lik's output is delivered in Hong Kong to factories where finished products are packaged before export.
"Research in Japan indicates that customers prefer products wrapped in transparent material so they can see what they buy. It is a case of seeing is believing," says Suen.
"Transparent wrapping is also convenient for shops because sales staff need not spend time opening packages to check models or colours, and unlike paper packaging, it is unaffected by moisture."
WRITTEN BY ANN WILLIAMS
Hip Lik Packaging Products Fty Ltd
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