The giftware maker launches about 100 new products a year HONG KONG IS one of the world's most important sourcing hubs for gifts and premium products, but there is little room for complacency. In the congested gifts and premium goods market, companies need to look continually for ways to attract buyers if they want a competitive edge. Few understand this better than Winko International Products. 'To differentiate our products we have strengthened our in-house design team. We also introduce about 100 new products and designs each year,' said Vivian Lo, a director of Winko International. The company produces a range of products that includes photo frames, serving trays, stationery sets and various items of premium giftware. 'We rely on our design expertise and productivity to create individual items such as hand-finished silver photo frames,' Ms Lo said. She said competition from manufacturers on the mainland had a dynamic effect on Hong Kong companies, forcing them to keep abreast of innovations and constantly requiring the introduction of new designs. Clients who demanded short order and delivery times also put companies under pressure. 'We need to keep a close watch on our sourcing and inventory stock but maintain top quality production and excellent customer service standards,' Ms Lo said. In recent years, Winko has changed its business activities from original equipment manufacturing to original design manufacturing to appeal to a larger range of clients. Tight quality control, professional services and market initiative is needed to keep companies ahead of the game. The strategy was also developed in response to the growing number of companies that use well-known designers from the fashion and interior design industries to design household and giftware items. 'We have to differentiate our products from other competitors by putting a lot of effort into surface finishing and unique designs. Our product designers spend a lot of time researching style and finishing in markets before they introduce new concepts.' The firm offers electroplating techniques covering a range of surface finishes, including shiny and matt silver, gold, two-tone, chrome, brass and nickel. The company is also targeting former eastern bloc countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia, which last year joined the European Union, as potential lucrative markets. Ms Lo said that during the Gifts and Premium Fair Winko would showcase its new collection of photo frames and metal giftware items such as candleholders under its BLINK brand name. 'We see promoting our own brand name as a progressive business strategy to develop new market opportunities,' Ms Lo said. The firm's goal is to position itself at the front end of market trends by adopting refined product specification and putting emphasis on continuous improvement of business operation processes. Winko's products will be on display in the Hall of Fine Designs.