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Beyond the Bale : June 2011
AWI's Hong Kong office is ideally located to play an important role in increasing the global demand for Australian Merino wool. As the gateway for southern and eastern Chinese wool processors and manufacturers, Hong Kong is one of the world's major knitwear exporters and a global hub for sourcing wool garments particularly for the major US and European brands. The AWI staff work hard for Australian woolgrowers on the key tasks on marketing, education and product innovation. MARKETING The AWI Hong Kong office provides marketing support to a range of brands and retailers. For example, AWI recently worked with two large retail brands in the region, Bossini and Chicks, to provide marketing support for the companies' autumn/winter 2010 Merino knitwear collections. The Bossini Group is one of the major casualwear brands in Hong Kong and China targeting younger customers. Chicks has been one of the major premier underwear brands in Hong Kong and China for over 50 years. The marketing involved, firstly, help in providing window displays and point-of- sale material to draw customers' attention to Merino products, emphasise product quality and thereby help increase sales. Secondly, AWI provided in-house training about Merino to the front-line staff of the brands to help them promote Merino products to their customers. The training was interactive and well-received. The marketing manager of Chicks Ms Wing Fung said it was a very successful joint promotion with AWI: "The number of Merino pieces that we sold rose 166 per cent compared with last year -- a 217 per cent increase in sales value. It was undoubtedly a very successful campaign." AWI also helps companies from further afield, including Australia, with their marketing in the region. For example, AWI recently helped wool bedding manufacturer Wool Products Australia Pty Ltd promote its products in Wing On department stores in Hong Kong -- one of the largest retailers in the region. AWI also provided training about the benefits of wool to Wing On retail staff. Wool Products Australia is a 100 per cent privately owned and operated Australian company, producing products under the Woolstar brand. It has been a Woolmark licensee for 14 years, and exports now make up half of the firm's total production. Wool Products Australia's managing director Graeme Kerr says the Woolmark logo is very important in Asian markets: "They rely on it to know they are buying a genuine product that has 100 per cent wool content. It adds to their comfort, that they know the product is what it claims to be." EDUCATION The AWI Hong Kong office also helps educate companies and students in the region about Merino wool, regularly FAST FACTS l Hong Kong is a key region in the global textiles industry, being the knitwear and fashion centre of Asia. l The AWI Hong Kong office works hard to increase the demand for Australian Merino wool by undertaking marketing, education and product innovation. l The AWI Hong Kong office collaborates with a variety of business partners and provides marketing support to a range of global brands and retailers. Hong Kong is one of the world's major knitwear exporters and a global hub for sourcing wool garments. Snapshot: AWI Hong Kong June 2011 BEYOND THE BALE 18 OFF-FARM