20 Feb 2004
Hardware & Gardening Products(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 03,2004)
Vol 3, 2004
Flowers & Plants
& Gardening Products
Raking It In
Stainless steel and carbon steel gardening tools from Union Venture Ltd are perfect for digging and cultivating
Continuing strong demand from the do-it-yourself (DIY) sector, a penchant for home maintenance and better tools for gardening creates a handy market for Hong Kong manufacturers of hardware and gardening implements.
Catering to the gardening niche, Union Venture Ltd offers a useful range of larger digging tools in addition to smaller hand tools. Established in 1995, the company has more than 50 gardening items on its books - usually made in accordance with product safety and quality assurances such as TUV Rhineland and GS (Germany), CE (EU) and BS (the UK).
The larger tools include cultivators such as three-pronged rakes and garden spades, and spades for ditches. There is also a narrow gauge line of spades. Other items are shovels, garden forks and leaf rakes. A range of smaller hand tools comes in sets of two or three items.
"We can offer tools with wood, aluminium, or steel handles besides special metals such as copper/steel or stainless steel. Made at our factory on the Chinese mainland, our products look very good but are not at all expensive. We have excellent design knowledge as we have been in the business for more than 10 years, and it is quite a mature market. Generally, price rules - so if a supplier can maintain quality and price, then survival is assured," says director Sam Wong.
Unit prices for small tools start at less than US$1. A typical item in the range of larger tools costs about US$6. The stainless steel range costs more. All prices are FOB Xingang, Tianjin on the mainland.
Pic Power Industries Ltd claims to have top class hand gardening tools available in a wide variety of materials. "We even do sets of antique-look tools for those enjoying the old-English gardening experience," says president Agnes Liu. "We use ash wood for the handles and specialise in sets that appeal to women as they form the biggest demand for better quality garden tools and tool sets."
Some sets also combine matching aprons and holdalls, making them ideal gifts for Mother's Day or other occasions. "For example, we have a decal on wood toolset lined up for this year," Liu adds.
Established in 1987, Pic Power has a monthly production of 150,000 pieces in the larger tools line, 400,000 pieces in the hand tools line and 200,000 pieces in the barbecue tools line. Shipments take place usually 40-60 days after confirmation of order, depending on quantity, from Pic Power's ISO 9002- and ISO 14000-certified plants on the Chinese mainland.
On the home tools front, Ching Wah Metal Ware Fty Ltd has the DIY market firmly in mind. "We major in handy tools," says sales manager Gary Chan. "Our multipurpose tool sets come in small pouches or plastic cases and we intentionally keep the sizes down to retain that handy status. We use carbon steel, sourced on the mainland, and a typical pouch contains a screwdriver set, a pair of pliers and a socket set."
Established in 1970, Ching Wah offers a new item for this year: an emergency hammer fitted with a light in the handle, which also houses the AAA batteries. The FOB Hong Kong unit price for the hammer ranges from US$1.50-3.00, while prices for toolkits range from US$1-6. Major markets are the US and the UK in particular.
In this sector, apart from gardening and handy home tools, security is an important aspect of home life. This leads to demand for door locks, padlocks and chain guards, and Hing Wah Lock Fty Ltd offers a comprehensive range.
"We have two factories," says export manager Rebecca Lee. "Hing Wah Lock Fty, established in 1989, produces brass padlocks, stainless steel padlocks and door cylinder locks. Kam Wah Metalware Mfg Co Ltd, established in 1970, produces combination padlocks, hasp and staple, window locks, cam locks, chain door guards, door locks, hinges, handles and pulls."
Lee says the raw materials used to fashion these items depend on the needs of the customer. "There are many considerations," she advises. "One model, a lock, say, might use a combination of different materials like brass, stainless steel, aluminium and zinc alloy and so forth."
Another veteran in the home and builder's hardware supplies sector is Tung Tak Lee Co Ltd, established in 1914. This trading company puts a wide range of basic merchandise onto the market, with particular success in Eastern Europe.
"Our mainstays are two types of products," says marketing executive Fok Chiu Yin. "Brass products - such as ball valves, window handles and stay bars - and malleable iron pipe fittings - such as elbows and sockets. All the raw materials originate on the Chinese mainland, and our factory is in Jinan, in the north, where labour costs are relatively cheaper."
The minimum order is one TEU and a container load usually includes 30-40 different items because fittings come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. "We export to Europe, while there is a lively market in Eastern Europe," Fok says.
Hong Kong clearly provides the market with all the tools and accessories any home improver would need, and buyers are sure of sourcing a generous selection of top-notch merchandise.
WRITTEN BY TONY HENDERSON
Wah Metal Ware Fty Ltd
Well Fung Ind Centre
58-76 Ta Chuen Ping St
Kwai Chung, New Territories
Hing Wah Lock Fty Ltd
Rm B5, 11/F
Hong Kong Ind Centre
489-491 Castle Peak Rd
Power Industries Ltd
23 & 25/F
Chinachem Century Tower
178 Gloucester Rd
Rms 919-920, Tower A
New Mandarin Plaza
14 Science Museum Rd
Tsim Sha Tsui East, Kowloon
Tung Tack Lee Co Ltd
Eastern Harbour Centre
28 Hoi Chak St
Union Venture Ltd
Kwong Sang Hong Centre
151-153 Hoi Bun Rd
Kwun Tong, Kowloon
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