1 May 2002
Company Profiles(HKTDC Electronics, Vol 03,2002)
Vol 3, 2002
Ruling The Radio Waves
Leona Electronics Co Ltd
|A range of Medi-Cal products from Leona Electronics Co Ltd took 4-6 months to develop. The company's R&D team not only designed hardware, but also wrote the software and sourced custom-made ICs.|
ARE calculators capable of assessing ideal body mass, weight and fitness levels or evaluating coronary risk and chances of developing diabetes? For consumers accustomed to more traditional number crunching, this may sound like science fiction, but such electronic health aids soon may become everyday items, according to a far-sighted Hong Kong company.
In 1986, Leona Electronics Co Ltd began making patented calculators like the Liquid, Aquagame, Transparent/Wave, Film Roll and Pen Roll.
Ideal as premiums, these products with eye-catching designs and creative functionality attracted attention from an Italian company needing an OEM supplier for a medical calculator.
"The success of that project encouraged us to make medical calculators for pharmaceutical companies and institutes wanting to provide doctors and nurses with easy ways to remember complex formulas," says Leona Electronics chief executive officer Leo Ho.
"Our Medical Formula Calculators are used by pharmaceutical organizations as premiums to help launch new drugs. They provide a handy reference."
Rapid acceptance of these medical marvels prompted Leona to probe new possibilities. Its pocket-sized calculators with health-related formulas include such helpful daily guides as:
- Diabetic Risk Calculators to monitor blood sugar and assess diabetes risk using American Diabetes Assn guidelines;
- Health Care Calculators to help control body weight by reviewing target heart rates for safe exercise, checking fat distribution via waist-to-hip ratio and estimating body mass index;
- Body Mass Index Calculators to analyze body surface area, body mass index and kidney efficiency in clearing creatine (a protein produced by muscle and released into blood);
- Coronary Risk Calculators to determine cholesterol levels and assess dangers of coronary attack within 5-10 years; and
- Body Fitness Calculators to review body mass, body fat percentage and calorie consumption/planning for weight awareness.
The consumer range was an instant success. "Everyone is very impressed with the calculators' ease and convenience, which encourages users to maintain a daily overview of their own health," Ho adds.
Major target markets include the US, Japan, France, Germany, the UK, Italy and Switzerland, where good health is a priority for affluent consumers.
Production is at a 500-square-metre factory in Dongguan on the Chinese mainland, where some 200 workers produce monthly output of about 150,000 items, including battery-powered Time Image clocks that project onto walls.
Leona's calculators are made of rugged ABS, ICs from Japan and LCDs from Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland. They are available in minimum quantities of 1,000 units at FOB prices of US$5.50-6.50 for shipment within 40 days.
"We are excited about the enormous potential of these medical calculators in alerting users to potential health problems that may need medical attention. I am confident there is tremendous demand for innovative, useful products to help people in their daily lives," Ho says.
WRITTEN BY GEOFF PICKEN
Leona Electronics Co Ltd
Bright Aggregation Technology Ltd
|Radio-controlled watches from Bright Aggregation Technology Ltd are not only water resistant, but also set themselves to precisely the correct time, even after insertion of new batteries.|
THREE years ago, Bright Aggregation Technology Ltd, a mobile phone and radio-frequency products manufacturer, became one of the first companies in Hong Kong to recognize the lucrative potential of radio-controlled watches.
Until then, German and Japanese manufacturers had dominated the market. Now the markets of Germany and Japan, as well as those of the US and many other countries, are important targets for seven-year-old Bright Aggregation.
Its radio-controlled watches automatically synchronize with the Atomic Clock radio signal and adjust for standard and daylight saving time. Among the popular features for these mid-range sporty creations are: time-zone settings; year, month, week, day, hour, minute, second settings; EL backlighting; and two alarms.
The radio signal has a range of 2,000km from the nearest transmitter. Straps are made of PU or PVC.
Minimum order is for 1,000 watches, which come packed in transparent plastic boxes. Shipment within 30 days is guaranteed.
One important challenge for Bright Aggregation is to increase sensitivity of the watches because it hopes to switch to metal cases from ABS by the end of 2002.
Founder and managing director David Luk, who has a background in electronic engineering, says that since metal absorbs more energy, a higher sensitivity level is required. Therefore, the company looks to Germany for its receiver ICs. Other materials are sourced from Taiwan.
The company's greatest success comes in achieving the same sensitivity level in a 20mm watch antenna as that of a radio-controlled clock antenna, which is five times larger. Since the size of watch antennas is unlikely to change in the near future, "overcoming the problems of antenna size and increasing the sensitivity was a real breakthrough", Luk says.
In open spaces, Bright Aggregation's watches match the results of leading rival timepieces. Now the company is focused on improving the performance in sealed rooms. Last year, it added two sealed rooms to its 30,000-square-foot, 180-worker factory in Shenzhen on the Chinese mainland.
Within one year, radio-controlled watches are expected to account for 20% of the firm's monthly production.
Bright Aggregation is confident of its future. "In the 21st century, we use more than one type of technology. We need to integrate different types of technology from different industries. Our company reflects this way of doing business," says Luk.
WRITTEN BY TAMARA CHEUNG
Bright Aggregation Technology Ltd
Rm 1212, 12/F, Metro Centre II,
21 Lam Hing St, Kowloon Bay,
Kowloon, Hong Kong
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