The Journey Begins

A forum to watch and learn all about the journey of the Matchbox Land Rover as it travels the world.
ritchie
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Re: The Journey Begins

Postby ritchie » Thu Jun 11, 2015 3:37 am

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Other than the Matchbox headquarter, there're other Matchbox companies and some were at different locations in Hong Kong. One was known as the Matchbox Trading Ltd. I think it's responsible for taking mail orders, sending out complimentary models, etc. (Please also refer to this post: http://www.matchboxforum.co.uk/viewtopic.php?p=31579). Matchbox Trading Ltd was situated at 7/F Tien Chu Centre, Tokwawan, Kowloon. It was an industrial building so I suppose it's with a warehouse. [THEN]
hk.tienchu11s.jpg


Similar to Tung Ying Building, this Tien Chu Centre was also demolished few years ago. It now become residential properties called the "Sky Tower". [NOW]
hk_Sky_Towers.jpg


You probably wondered how come the Landy was in the images for Tung Ying Building and Tien Chu Centre since the buildings no longer exist. Well, it's just photoshop for making Landy going to the past. OK, let's move to the Tyco Matchbox era in Hong Kong.

In 1992, after Tyco purchased Matchbox from Universal Group, the location of Matchbox International Ltd was relocated to Tyco's office in Hong Kong which was at 3/F Roxy Industrial Centre, Kwai Chung. Glad that this building still exists.
h2-IMG_0057s.jpg
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ritchie
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Re: The Journey Begins

Postby ritchie » Thu Jun 11, 2015 4:09 am

While the Landy is in Hong Kong, a visit to the Mattel Hong Kong office is a must! On public companies search, I noted the registered address for the various Mattel companies in Hong Kong is at 6th Floor Alexandra House, 18 Charter Road, Central. Since Mattel purchased Matchbox from Tyco in 1997, the registered office for Matchbox International Ltd (later changed name to Mattel Vendor Operations Die Cast Ltd aka Mattel VODC) was changed to this address too. However, we only found out when we arrived that this was in fact merely the law firm who taking care the company registration matters for Mattel. In the photo, the various Mattel company names are listed on the board outside the law firm.
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Finally, we're here! We're now at 11/F South Tower, World Finance Centre, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, the business office of Mattel Hong Kong, the place where the day-to-day running of business take place. Photo was taken at the lift lobby.
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The other side of the 11/F lift lobby. Play made here!
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ritchie
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Re: The Journey Begins

Postby ritchie » Thu Jun 11, 2015 5:39 am

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I work in the mainland China, a city called Anshan, Liaoning Province. The distance is around 1,400 miles from Hong Kong. My pleasure to have the Landy travelling with me this time.
gmap.jpg


The Landy's own passport is good enough getting herself boarding ;)
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The Landy on the plane, high up in the sky.
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(on compiling my next post, I got an error message saying "the board attachment quota has been reached". Not quite sure what it means exactly, may be a daily quota? I think I'll try again tomorrow to continue with the exciting journey with the Landy, on the historical SUTC plants as well as the Mattel plants in China. Stay tuned!)
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ritchie
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Re: The Journey Begins

Postby ritchie » Fri Jun 12, 2015 10:09 pm

(More than one day has passed, I'm still getting the error message "Board attachment quota has been reached". What does it mean actually? Anyway, I get around by using Photobucket. ;) )

Let's continue with the journey.

We finally arrived at the Northeast China. It's cold and snowy.
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Anshan city is relatively small but it does have a very unique site, the Jade Buddha Temple. In the temple there is a 8-meter-high jade buddha which is the biggest jade Buddha in the world. Unfortunately phototaking was not allowed inside the temple.
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And I think it's uncommon to see so much traffic lights at one spot. 16 at the top and 15 by the side, we got 31 in total!
Image

ritchie
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Re: The Journey Begins

Postby ritchie » Sat Jun 13, 2015 7:54 am

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The connections between Matchbox and China was beyond doubt. There had been productions of Matchbox models in China for over 20 years. So we continue with our little "Then and Now" section.

It started from 1984 when the Universal Group established a Hong Kong-Shanghai joint venture toy company in China, called the Shanghai Universal Toys Co., Ltd (SUTC). With factory area of 16,500 sq.m, SUTC had over 400 employees and an annual production capacity for diecast cars of over 25 million. The picture below was the factory of SUTC. It was situated at 201 Wen Jing Road, Min Hang District, Shanghai. (I think this address in English was printed on some old Matchbox blisters and packaging boxes as well though extremely hard to find now.) [THEN]
Image


After the Mattel takeover in 1997, the SUTC factory plant started production for the blue brand until 2001 when all productions in SUTC were ceased. The production of Matchbox models was moved to Mattel factory plants at Guanyao Town, Foshan City, Nanhai, China. Comparing the picture below and the one above, the obvious difference was that the big Matchbox sign above the factory was replaced with the blue brand signage. [THEN]
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The 20-year joint venture contract term for SUTC ended in 2004. Now the factory buildings still exist but is being used by Fuji Xerox as their production plant. You can see the buildings are the same only they have been repainted in white color. [NOW]
Image

(TBC)

ritchie
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Re: The Journey Begins

Postby ritchie » Sat Jun 13, 2015 11:06 pm

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Probably little was known by people outside China, there was a very unique SUTC Domestic Sales Store in Shanghai. It's the one and only SUTC retail store in China. There was originally a SUTC Business Office located at 109 Da Ji Road, Shanghai. In Dec 15, 1989 it was moved to 1209 West Beijing Road, Shanghai and renamed to SUTC Domestic Sales Store. It's the sacred place for Matchbox collectors in China. From the shop window you can see 3 Matchbox posters and some 20-packs, 30-packs underneath. [THEN]
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Coming to the end of SUTC's joint venture contract, this SUTC Domestic Sales Store was closed down on Oct 31, 2003. The shop premises still exists but it's now selling clothes. [NOW]
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Our final stop for Shanghai before heading to the Southern China, is the Mattel China headquarter, the Mattel Barbie (Shanghai) Trading Co., Ltd. The company is located at 47/F Grand Gateway II, 3 Hong Qiao Road, Shanghai. It's responsible for the marketing and sales of all Mattel products for the whole country.
Image

(TBC)

ritchie
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Re: The Journey Begins

Postby ritchie » Tue Jun 16, 2015 9:56 am

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Mattel's direct connections with China can be traced back to 1984 when it established a sino-american joint venture company at Guanyao town, Foshan city, Guangdong Province, called the Foshan Nanhai Sino American Toys Manufacturer (also known as the Zhongmei Toy Factory, later known as the Mattel (HK) Ltd, now known as the Mattel (GY) Ltd.). It manufactures various plastic toys for Mattel including the Barbie. With diecast cars, to my understanding the blue brand started outsourcing some of its production to a few local factories also in the same town, Guanyao, in the 1990s. One of the major outsourcing suppliers was called Nanhai Guanyao Diecast Factory (NGDF) and those Matchbox moulds were probably relocated to this factory from SUTC in 1997 to continue production. In 1998 a sino-american joint venture was established by NGDF and Mattel, called the Mattel Diecast China ("MDC"), where a larger factory plant was built. The new plant had land area of over 90,000 sq.m. and had over 3000 employees. Its annual diecast production capacity was over 50 million in 2000 and reached 80 million in later years. Until 2007 when MDC ceased to produce diecast cars, it had produced a total 556 million diecast cars for Matchbox and the blue brand over the ten years. Below was the factory site of "Mattel Diecast China", located at East Yong An Road, Guanyao, Foshan, Nanhai, Guangdong Province.
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The factory plant is now taking care of production for Mattel's plastic toys. Presently it still has over 1700 employees. Note the sign outside the factory front gate had been been changed to "Mattel Foshan China". [NOW]
Image

(TBC)

ritchie
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Re: The Journey Begins

Postby ritchie » Wed Jun 17, 2015 7:19 am

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Across the road from MDC, there was another important Mattel factory in China, called Hwa Tai Precision Moulds Ltd (aka PML). Established in 2004 with land area of just over 2000 sq.m and few hundred employees, it was a small factory compare to MDC but it has an important role of new product design and development, moulds (including diecast moulds) design, making, and repairing, and also making prototypes for Barbie and Fisher-Price, etc. On the signage in front of the factory, the company name Hwa Tai Precision Moulds Ltd was partially hidden behind the grass under the Mattel logo. [THEN]
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When MDC ceased all diecast production, some of its diecast production facilities was moved to PML so PML can take small orders of diecast productions. Later PML was renamed to Mattel Engineering China ("MEC"). Note the signage outside the factory was changed to reflect the change of name. [NOW]
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This came to the end of the journey. Certain invaluable background photos from the Then and Now section were used by courtesy of Becktam, Jackson (APP), Jerry Shao, Maos brothers (msyx), and Xu (MB017132). Below, a warm farewell for the Landy before it heading back to Albuquerque. And my gratitude to Mattel and Jim for this great Landy travelling project. I hope everyone enjoyed this special journey with the Landy as much as I did.
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Re: The Journey Begins

Postby Jimgallegos » Thu Jun 18, 2015 4:27 am

Amazing journey Richie. Thanks for the pics of the impressive facilities in China. It is nice to see where our favorite toys have been made and the far east facilities. I love tha last pic as well. Some very rare models there. I hope you can join us in Albuquerque next year.
Jim Gallegos. Thanks to all who were a part of the 2015 Matchbox Collectors Gathering. Start planing for 2016. Dates are 15-17 July 2016. Registration Starts 31. Dec. at midnight MST Email me for details. matchb0x1@aol.com

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Re: The Journey Begins

Postby TinMan » Wed Jul 22, 2015 3:05 am

Great pics, very well done. Posts like the one above are exactly what this program is all about.


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