Helios Textile & Apparel Co. Ltd
Established in 1997, Helios produces children's
garments, casual wear for adults and sporting goods.
The company's total sales amounted to US$6 million
in 2004, with children's wear accounting for 60
percent, or US$3.6million. Export sales of
children's garments grew 20 percent last year to
reach US$2.5 million.
Since this Shanghai-based company is a joint
venture between investors from Japan and China, all
of its exports are currently shipped only to Japan.
Seventy percent of orders are produced on an OEM and
ODM basis, with clients including Itochu and Sumikin
Bussan. The company has recently been licensed by
England's BBC to produce and market the Teletubbies
line of children's wear.
Running on 50 percent of its installed capacity,
Helios produces 1.2 million pieces of children's
garments a year.
Helios manufactures both knitted and woven
children's wear. Toddlers' designs dominate exports
at 50 percent, school children's garments account
for 30 percent, while baby clothing makes up the
rest. The company releases collections for
spring/summer and autumn/winter. Tops and bottoms
each make up 40 percent of exports, while sets take
up the remainder.
Prices of children's wear depend on the size and
material used. T-shirts, short pants and outerwear
for babies range from US$2 to US$4 per piece, and
toddlers' clothing is priced betweenUS$2.50 and
US$6. Casual wear and jackets for schoolchildren
start at US$5, and go up to US$12.50 for an
insulated water resistant jacket. Helios will keep
prices stable until the end of 2005.
The company's 12-member R&D team develops more
than 2,000 designs annually. Illustrator and
CorelDraw are used for designing, while GGT and CAD
systems are used for patternmaking and grading. The
team mainly focuses on improving the overall quality
of clothes, coming up with innovative prints and
developing functional garments such as those with
fabric used by the company conforms to
environmental standards set by JIS and GB of China.
About 5 percent of materials including polyester,
nylon and cotton are imported from Japan and South
Korea. Accessories such as buttons, zippers, labels,
elastic bands and beads are sourced locally.
The Global Sources team visited Helios' factory
located in Changzhou city in Jiangsu province.
The10,000sqm facility has separate workshops for
cutting, sewing, ironing, and packing and
The company has 500 workers and a full range of
garment-making equipment that includes five
computerized, 175 lockstitch and double-needle, and
25 overlock sewing machines. The facility is also
equipped with numerous bartackers, buttonholers,
fusing machines, cutting machines and steam irons.
Helios has 45 QC staff in charge of examining
fabric as it comes in, conducting in-process
inspections and checking finished garments visually
and with the help of needle detectors.
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