7 April 2005
Batteries(HKTDC Electronics, Vol 02,2005)
Today's energy-hungry world is fuelling a steadily increasing need for reliable supplies of portable power for mobile electronic devices such as computers, mobile phones and digital music players.
Simultaneously,increasing awareness of the environmental implications of the production and disposal of batteries has led users to hold manufacturers to higher standards while demanding more in terms of performance.
Fortunately, as many Hong Kong companies involved in battery manufacturing on the Chinese mainland are well aware, environmental awareness and operating efficiency go hand in hand and technological progress now has firm foundations in responsible manufacturing practices.
"Environmental issues are very important for us," stresses ATC Batteries Industry Co Ltd managing director Sharon Cheng, noting that her firm has ISO 9001certification.
She claims ATC, which manufactures a wide range of alkaline and zinc chloride batteries, is one of the largest manufacturers of portable power supplies in Asia. "About 40% of our business is under our own brand names and the rest is OEM," Cheng adds.
Recent expansion of ATC's mainland factory in Shanghai, which employs more than 1,000 workers, has boosted production 20-30% to some 60 million batteries a month.
These are available in minimum order values of US$20,000 per shipment delivered 30-40 days after order confirmation. "Otherwise a US$300 handling fee will be charged for smaller quantities," Cheng advises.
ATC's alkaline and zinc chloride batteries in various sizes are sold under several brand names, including ATC, Holly and MegaCell, and business is "particularly strong" in Europe, Southeast Asia and North America. "We are now looking to expand our business in Russia and Eastern Europe, where we have built a strong profile for the ATC brand," Cheng maintains.
An equally extensive range of batteries is available from Chener Battery Works Ltd, which export manager Josephine Suen says prides itself on its versatility.
"We produce lithium, zinc, air, alkaline, silver oxide, carbon zinc and zinc chloride batteries, as well as secondary batteries such as Li-ions, nicad, and NiML rechargeable batteries," she explains. "Our brand name is Chener and we also do some OEM business."
The 25-year-old company's batteries are manufactured at an ISO 9001-certified factory in Dongguan that employs 400 workers and produces 80 million batteries a month.
Chener has no minimum order and prides itself on delivery within 10 days of order confirmation. "We do well on the mainland and also in Europe, the US and the Middle East," Suen reveals. "We're also working hard to build our business in Eastern Europe."
Rechargeable cylindrical nicad and high temperature nicad batteries are a specialty of K & W Asia Technology Co Ltd, which also produces cylindrical and prismatic NiMh batteries under the Generative Power brand name.
The 14-year-old company also does extensive customer-brand business in Europe and North America, according to manager Chan Kee Cheung, who says K & W delivers 3-6 weeks after order confirmation.
"Apart from providing batteries, we also aim to provide a one-stop service to our clients," he says. "An OEM service and an accessories sourcing service are available to meet individual clients' special requirements and save their time."
Rechargeable batteries play an equally prominent role in the product range of New Sun (Asia) Ltd, a relatively young operation established in 2003.
"We specialise in producing high quality rechargeable battery packs for notebook computers, camcorders, digital cameras and power tools," explains general manager Jess Tam.
These batteries are produced at a 170,000-square-foot, 1,000-worker mainland factory in minimum order quantities of 10 pieces per item per model, and delivered 2-3 weeks after receipt of a letter of credit or a telegraphic transfer payment seven days prior to shipment.
New Sun's major markets are North America, Europe and Australia, and Tam says the company also believes in the one-stop shopping way of doing business. "We provide an outsourcing service for regular customers," Tam explains.
By contrast, Rico Industrial Co is an industry veteran, having been been involved in power supply manufacturing since its establishment in 1988.
Manager Eric Yu says the company produces the Rotosonic and Rico battery ranges, including alkaline and super heavy-duty models. "We have our own brand name, but we also do OEM," he says.
Rico's 30,000-square-metre factory in the mainland's Guangdong Province, which has QS 9000 and 9002 and CE approval, produces US$10,000 minimum order values that are delivered within 30 days of order confirmation. "Our major markets are in Europe and the US," Yu adds.
Chromex Industrial Co Ltd also splits its business between OEM and own-brand production of button cells, photo/lighter, lithium, carbon zinc and zinc chloride and alkaline batteries.
Marketed under the Chromex brand, these products are available in no minimum order quantities and can be delivered within a week of order confirmation, says president Andrew Sundjaja. "Our major markets are Europe, Africa and South America," he adds.
In fact, Hong Kong batteries can be found everywhere there is an ever-growing need for safe, environmentally responsible and reasonably priced portable power.
WRITTEN BY ROBERT PIERCE
Chromex Industrial Co Ltd