1 Jan 2002
Company Profiles(HKTDC Electronics, Vol 01,2002)
E-mail For The Masses
Fine Weather Men
|This E-mail Easy telephone from Poweract Industries is aimed at markets where consumers cannot afford computers but want access to e-mail.|
The E-mail Easy telephone (model EM200) allows users to access e-mail without using a personal computer and could revolutionize communications in emerging markets. This telephone is aimed at markets where consumers cannot afford computers but do want access to e-mail.
"Our business revenue model is to make this a mainstream product," says founder and managing director Jawaharlal Panjabi. At about US$130 FOB Hong Kong, the telephone costs much less than a basic PC.
"We expect this product to replace public telephones and fax machines in such places as airports, shopping malls, hotels and throughout the hospitality industry," says Panjabi.
The E-mail Easy has no real competition at present, according to Panjabi. Similar products are often comparable to scaled-down computers. Unlike WAP telephones, the E-mail Easy has no need for special content with back-end support.
Software and hardware engineers on the team that developed this product were instructed to pursue Poweract's concept of a high-quality, affordable machine.
Along with familiar features like caller-ID, the telephone has call logs and an address-book function that combines e-mail details and telephone numbers.
The telephone weighs 1.38kg. In case of power failure, three AA batteries provide back-up for up to 48 hours. A slim keyboard slides neatly into the base of the phone when not in use. All aspects of the design are extremely user-friendly. No familiarity with PCs is necessary.
E-mail messages appear on an adjustable LCD screen. Storage accommodates up to 700 messages.
"The telephone can be set for up to five different users, and so lends itself well to serving small businesses, shops or families," says Panjabi.
Early marketing reaffirms Poweract's faith in its new product.
"We have had tremendous response from all over the world and are negotiating with various distributors. We are looking for companies that we can work closely with and that will provide top-class after-sales service," Panjabi says.
This telephone demonstrates the entrepreneurial drive of Poweract Industries, the company Panjabi has built up with his more than 20 years' experience in the business.
"We concentrate on design, development and branding. We aim to make sure the Poweract brand is known for high quality and low prices," he says.
Poweract makes telephones, DVD players, TFTs and household appliances, all marketed in the Middle East, Europe, Asia and the US.
More than 300,000 telephones are shipped each month, usually 1-3 weeks after order confirmation. Production takes place at several IS0 9002-certified factories in Guangdong and Fujian Provinces on the Chinese mainland.
"I see myself as a master entrepreneur, with everyone involved in Poweract being a decision maker and wholly involved in the business process," says Panjabi.
WRITTEN BY RUTH WILLIAMS
306 Chevalier House,
45-51 Chatham Rd,
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Dubri Electronics Co Ltd
|Weather-alert AM/FM clock-radios from Dubri Electronics Co Ltd are popular with farmers and other people engaged in outdoor activities.|
THREE years ago, Dubri Electronics Co Ltd's vigorous efforts at research and development reaped big dividends when the company's popular sports-and-flashlight radio achieved record sales of 140,000 units overnight through a US television show.
Building on the success of that radio, which is equipped with siren and blink functions, Dubri continues to develop a series of high-quality, value-added radios mainly for the US market.
One key item is an AM/FM weather-alert radio that gives users instant emergency weather information. It picks up special tones transmitted by emergency weather reports broadcast by the US National Weather Service Office (NWSO).
"When we noticed that the US National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provides 24-hour broadcasts of the latest weather information from the NWSO, we decided to develop a radio system to facilitate the service," says Dubri director K.W. Lee.
"The portable gadget has up to seven weather channels that can receive signals from all parts of the US. A built-in crystal control helps stabilize the radio frequency," Lee adds.
Lee says this radio is popular with farmers and people who enjoy such outdoor activities as sailing, fishing and camping.
Sales of the weather-alert radio have soared. Production exceeds 100,000 units per year.
"Ordinary radio items are so cheap that we can't turn a profit from them. To stay ahead in the market, we can't just compete on price. We must strive for higher quality and value-added designs. This special radio best demonstrates our efforts," Lee says.
Engineers by training, Lee and his business partner develop products that require technical skills. In 1988, they launched Dubri to make clock radios and multi-band radios. Now the company has discovered its niche is in producing more advanced radios.
Although the US market accounts for 90% of sales, Dubri is launching new models to extend its reach. These include a professional hi-fi radio, a "natural sounds" built-in radio and a Special Area Message Encoder (SAME) system radio to provide even more detailed weather information.
Intent on maintaining a focus on new-product development, Dubri opts to outsource all its production to factories on the Chinese mainland.
"We even invest in special equipment for these factories to keep them up to our standards. We have screened and chosen high-calibre factories in Guangdong Province. All our products comply with the American EMC standard," says Lee.
The company forges close relationships with importers, who provide valuable feedback and advice. "With their help in marketing, our products reach a wide range of distributors, like dealers, mail-order companies and department stores," Lee concludes.
WRITTEN BY VANAPA ONGVISES
Dubri Electronics Co Ltd
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