2 Feb 2009
Anticipation Builds(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 02,2009)
Hardware, Gardening, DIY Products & Building Materials
A perfect grip on the nuts and bolts of making hardware and building materials cements Hong Kong's pivotal role in global markets
Grasping and anticipating market needs often paves the way for success, not least in the building and construction sector.
That's why Hong Kong suppliers of hardware, gardening, DIY products and building materials make a point of diligently studying overseas markets and listening carefully to prospective customers.
Dr Tsai Int'l Corp Ltd, for example, leaves little to chance in striving to make its products useful - the company produces only multi-purpose devices.
"That's our company policy," says Marketing Manager Bobby Lo. "Competition in the market is very strong, so we don't do single-function items. We believe that offering extra features gives added value to our customers. We often focus on DIY items for household use."
Dr Tsai lights up its sales results with combination torch-tool sets, such as the CamPro Tool 10-in-1 (model DT-372).
"This model has an LED torch and flashing red light. The torch handle holds eight fold-out tools, among them a saw, scissors, knife and screwdrivers, all suitable for simple repairs or camping trips," Mr Lo advises, adding that the set measures 140x35x45mm.
Slightly smaller - measuring 125x30x33mm - but equally useful is a nine-in-one multi-tool set (model DT-378) that comes with an LED torch. "The tools include a can/bottle opener, fish scaler, hook disgorger, saw, screwdriver, knife and pliers," Mr Lo advises.
Yet more surprising features are found in other torch-tool sets, such as a special 11-in-1 outdoor version (model DT-380S) measuring 145x39x38mm that provides an emergency flash, whistle, compass and pop-up binoculars. The nine-in-one CalcuTool (model DT-332), meanwhile, has a calculator, flip-up memo pad and detachable pen.
Made to measure
The ever-helpful Measure Pro (model DE-360) combines measuring and calculating functions in its compact 138x69.5x45.6mm body. A rotary knob gives four measuring options - horizontal, cross, vertical and dot pointer. There are two level bubbles (for horizontal or vertical use), a two-metre measuring tape and a 12cm ruler. A side panel flips up to reveal an eight-digit calculator.
"This model has a laser pointer ideal for certain situations. For example, you would use the laser line to place photo frames on walls and make sure they are vertically and horizontally balanced," says Mr Lo.
"Buyers respond positively to our multifunctional products," he claims. "We launch new ones twice a year - in April and October. Many of them sell well."
Dr Tsai puts a premium on quality. "We QC 100% of our products - everything is checked before shipping," Mr Lo maintains.
Operating in a different niche is Strong Rich Int'l Ltd, a building materials supplier that describes its durable PVC wall partitions as "the best substitute for brick, mortar and wooden materials".
Capable of lasting 50 years, the wall partitions fit together like Lego blocks. "Simply put them together to build walls. It's easy. You can use them to build PVC houses," says Shelly Au, Assistant to the General Manager.
Aesthetic and durable, the PVC partitions greatly improve soundproofing and resistance to corrosion, vibration, impact, humidity, wind, fire and water. "They are suitable and popular for renovations in homes, factories or offices, especially in areas prone to flooding or earthquakes," Ms Au notes. "Paint, wallpaper or panels can decorate the partitions once they are in place."
The white wall partitions typically measure 5,800mm high, 570mm wide and 60mm thick, although sizes vary to fit customer specifications.
"We have exported a lot to South America, Australia and elsewhere," Ms Au says, adding that the company also offers PVC doors, window frames, flooring, ventilation frames, pipes and other building items.
For gardening or outdoor cleaning, Fortune Lane Ltd offers colourful, versatile tools such as multifunction spray-and-cleaning sets (models 73105 and 73108).
"Both models have useful attachments, including a sponge, a brush and hose connectors. They can be used both for washing cars and watering plants," says Manager Lo Chun Ho. "They are made mainly of plastics from Taiwan."
Model 73105, the bigger version, sports a long handle while model 73108, a smaller variety with a spray pistol, is a handier option. "They sell mainly in the US and Europe," Mr Lo notes.
Odds and ends
Smaller items are the forte of Wang Chun Metal & Plastic Mfe Ltd, which focuses on zinc-alloy hooks, knobs, handles, hinges and other objects for use on walls, doors or furniture.
"Zinc alloy is especially ideal for pulls and knobs with different shapes and colours," says Marketing Manager Jason Cheung. "We offer a wide range of colours, and chrome finish and brushed nickel are presently popular. We source high-quality raw materials from Australia and Japan so the end products are high quality too."
Top sellers include a chrome-plated hook (model WYZ-9513) that is especially ideal for bathrooms, as well as a pull (model WYZ-9896) and a knob (WYZ-9793) that suit kitchen cabinets or furniture doors.
Besides supplying standard lines, the firm has R&D capabilities which can also help customers develop new products. Its major markets are the US and Europe.
The latest hardware, gardening, DIY products and building materials from Hong Kong clearly sport such ideal features and qualities that buyers and consumers are left full of anticipation for the next batch.
TEXT BY JOHN CAIRNS