Not your usual spam: “Please note attached pictures of Mobile Phone accessories; we are supplying kinsmanship item for buyer in Japan. We [just] did done 12,000,000 pcs for Japan Coca-Cola company, so, I think [these] kinds [of] accessories will find a ready market in Japan.” An interesting look at what has to be one of the most profitable businesses related to mobile phones: accessories and customization.
“Our factory is expert in flashing & novelty Mobile Phone accessories and toys, fashion gifts, etc.; products material is TPR, plastic, handicraft and others.”
And there was more: “Our products include:
Looking forward to getting your reply soon tks!”
It turns out that Annie is the (more or less) English-speaking sales rep at Happy Garden International Co., Ltd., based in the Xian Xi Industrial Zone in Dongguan City, Guangdong Province, China. She sent me mail a few days back to pitch her company’s line of toys, knick-knacks, novelties and assorted doo-dads… including cell-phone accessories.
The cost of production is much lower in China, so when you cruise up and down the aisles of cell-phone accessories stacked in any self-respecting general goods shop anywhere in Japan, you’ll notice that everything is ‘Made in China.’ This holds true regardless of the brand—it’s the same for Disney, Sanrio (Hello Kitty) and hundreds (if not thousands) of others.
Keitai toys are also given away as promotional items by just about anyone for anything—movie openings, product launches, TV and cinema star fan clubs, et cetera ad infinitum. And it’s a big—and profitable—business. Some higher-end straps and phone accessories sell for 1,000-2,000 yen (although many are free or cost just a couple hundred yen). In any event, I suspect the cost per item on a bulk basis is just a few yen and shipping and distribution are cheap (Annie wouldn’t quote me a price unless I was actually going to place an order).
So now we know how these goodies actually get brought into Japan: keen, enterprising makers at factories scattered throughout the Middle Kingdom send email queries to potential buyers (or media sites, I guess)! I also guess that a lot of salespeople and distributors pound a lot of ishidatami knocking on doors and flogging samples.
If anyone wants to buy a couple dozen million, drop us a note and we’ll happily put you in touch with Annie at Happy Garden; you can see her partial catalog below (WWJ collects no fees to bring you this service ).
And make sure you watch WWJ’s Christmas report (“Decorating your Cell Phone: Not Just for X-mas”) on high-tech keitai customization being done on the streets of Tokyo at much higher profit margins than simple plastic toys. We could hook you up w/Shouji-san too..!!
— Daniel Scuka