Rhino caught on the horns of the EU

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 March, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 March, 1994, 12:00am


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POOR Rhino International (Holdings) Ltd. Not only does the toy maker have a weaker share market and MFN uncertainties to deal with in its initial public offering (IPO), it also has the European Union.

Rhino's figures show that, in the five months to August last year, 44.9 per cent of its revenue came from Europe, 34.5 per cent from the US, 0.6 per cent from Hong Kong and 6.3 per cent elsewhere.

The company is therefore heavily reliant on the US and Europe (mainly the European Union - formerly the Community) for the bulk of its export sales from its Guangdong manufacturing base.

Yet the EU last week implemented a quota system on toys produced in China which has the local industry, based as it is across the border, in turmoil over future sales.

No one really knows as yet what European action will do to their business; nor do the toy importers in Europe, who are also up in arms about the European Union action.

The Hong Kong Government cannot lobby openly on behalf of producers in China (even though the companies producing the goods may be Hong Kong entities).

And the Chinese authorities have been mute on the issue because they are concerned about maintaining European Union support for their rejoining of the GATT.

That leaves the local toy makers apparently at the whim of European Union bureaucrats on this issue.