Hall of Fine Designs will help showcase creative strengths

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 April, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 April, 2007, 12:00am

Design is vital in the gifts and premiums field. Products must look good and be user-friendly to sell in this highly competitive sector.

Products that exemplify these features will be on display at the fair's Hall of Fine Designs to inspire higher design standards in the sector. One company which has been featured every year since the hall was established is Joyas Manufacturing.

Joyas specialises in silver-plated accessories and premium items made from zinc alloy.

General manager Kevin Lau Ka-yiu said although there was strong competition in this stream of business, Joyas had maintained a competitive edge through innovation and all-round strengths.

'We pioneered the use of zinc alloy for this stream of products,' he said. 'Our silver plating is known for its good finish, and the elegant and sophisticated style of our products is popular with our overseas customers especially in Europe and North America, which collectively account for about 70 per cent of our business.'

Joyas creates new products that will interest consumers by translating fashionable items into elegant accessories. These include silver-plated computer keyboards and mouses, and USB flash memory fingers in a shiny casing.

Mr Lau said although the internet provided a major channel for businesses to introduce themselves to overseas customers, trade fairs would remain important platforms for suppliers and buyers to meet in person, and for buyers to see the products on offer.

He said this was especially important for European buyers who were specific about quality.

As part of the worldwide surge in raw material costs over the past few years the price of zinc alloy had more than doubled and this presented a serious challenge to Joyas, Mr Lau said.

The company used more of some other materials and tided itself over by seeking customer understanding.

'We have long-standing relationships with our customers built on mutual trust and this helps at difficult times such as what we've been through,' he said.

Mr Lau expected the cost crunch to ease with zinc alloy prices having come down from their peak. He said Joyas would explore new markets and saw potential in Dubai and South America.

The Masterwin Group has been in the hall since it took part in the fair more than seven years ago. The company provides a wide array of low- to high-end gift and premium products ranging from basic key chains and name card cases to sophisticated items including wine and cigar accessories.

Managing director Stella Chu said the company had provided original design manufacturing, original equipment manufacturing and tailored design services to meet evolving market needs while shifting from more executive-oriented gift and premium items to products that appealed more to a younger audience.

Ms Chu said innovative design was a major strength of Masterwin and a focus of its development for maintaining a market lead.

'We have a multicultural design team which initiates new collections year-round for important trade shows.

'[The team] develops exclusive collections for customers based on special themes or festive occasions,' she said.

'We also build on our existing products and give them more playful and gimmicky features by incorporating more functions such as electronic components, and we combine metal with other materials such as plastic, leather and wood.'

The emphasis on design led the company to make substantial investment in technology to deter copying, in addition to acquiring international patents and copyrights for its products, Ms Chu said.

Masterwin supplies markets around the world, with Europe, the United States and the Middle East being the primary ones.

Ms Chu said the company aimed to develop into an 'empire of gifts and premiums' by establishing its own industrial town in Guangdong.

'The full operation of the new facility will take our capacity to a higher level and shorten delivery time,' she said. 'We also hope to attract quality partners specialising in other premiums such as caps, luggage or garments to collaborate with us to fulfil our vision.'