28 Nov 2005
Computer Mice(HKTDC Electronics, Vol 05,2005)
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Mice are important items for Utopian Computer Systems Ltd, which exports to Europe, the US, the Middle East and Russia
The computer user's best friend, the humble mouse comes in a wide range of colours and materials designed to suit every need or whim. But no matter how cute or colourful it looks, the computer mouse must be rugged enough to execute the thousands of commands it receives every day.
That's where Hong Kong electronics manufacturers come to the fore, their exhaustive experience enabling them to develop and produce computer mice that not only do basic tasks but also offer added extras.
Chows Industrial (China) Ltd sales and marketing manager Joe Wong, for example, says his company generates sales by producing computer mice fitted with functional extras.
"Our 9833 fan mouse is made of plastic and metal and is fitted with an integrated fan that cools your palm while you work," he claims. "The cover is transparent and offers adjustable control positions."
Established in 1981, Chows Industrial also produces wireless flat mice, USB mini towers and USB fragrance burners. "We use creativity and innovative ideas to differentiate our products from our competitors," Wong maintains, adding that his firm's R&D is focused on creating trendy multifunctional products that appeal to the innovative consumer and the gifts and premiums markets alike.
Chows Industrial's creative team received a big boost last year when it was presented with a Hong Kong Electronic Industries Association Award for Outstanding Innovation and Technology. "The award certainly encouraged our in-house design team to produce more new ideas," says Wong.
The design team's creations are manufactured at a 450-worker factory in Guangdong Province on the Chinese mainland, and are available in minimum order quantities of 2,000 units for delivery 20 days after sample approval and receipt of a 30% deposit.
Recently, Chows Industrial has begun stepping up its OEM capabilities to add to its ODM manufacturing activities. "We see the potential of building market share with our OEM products in Europe, Japan and the US," Wong adds.
By contrast, nine-year-old Plexter Int'l Ltd prefers to concentrate on the children's market when designing computer mouse products. "Our computer mouse-and-pad sets are designed to encourage children to look beyond cyberspace into the real world," says director George Luk.
He explains that the company's strategy is to add value to established technology by producing interactive themed mouse-and-pad sets for sale at a "reasonable" price.
"We have developed a strong reputation in the US and the UK for our thought-provoking themes," Luk claims. "For example, we usually choose wildlife themes such as a tiger and a jungle, a whale and the ocean and a beetle and a leaf because we believe our products should offer value beyond their technological functions."
Core customers include book publishers, department store distributors, CD manufacturers and corporate promotion advertisers. "We are always thinking of the consumer, and trying to come up with fresh and original ideas," Luk adds.
Plexter's ABS mice and pads are manufactured and assembled at a 1,500-worker, factory in Guangdong Province that has a monthly production capacity of 50,000-100,000 pieces.
"We produce our own tools and mould our own plastic, which gives us flexibility and the ability to change designs to meet specific needs," explains Luk, adding that a minimum order is 3,000 units and delivery is 30 days after order confirmation.
Fellow manufacturer Utopian Computer Systems Ltd has been in the computer accessories business since 1983. "Our brand has been established for a long time and we have built a strong customer base," says project manager Kennis Wong.
Utopian specialises in producing computer mice with retractable cables, flashing lights, programmable buttons and ergonomic designs with docking and charger functions.
"Our new range of wireless optical mice has the USB receiver stored inside, making it perfect for notebook users," she claims, explaining that client feedback is important in determining colours, styles, functions and design trends.
"We focus on designing and manufacturing products that meet our clients' various needs," Wong maintains. "It's a competitive market, but we are innovative - if you have exciting new products, clients will buy."
Utopian's design team works with customers to make original products under their own brand names, and also designs and sells computer mice that carry its own Filand label.
Production takes place at the firm's 100-worker, 60,000-square-foot mainland factory in Shenzhen for delivery to main markets in Europe, the US, the Middle East and Russia.
"FOB Hong Kong unit prices vary between US$2.40-11.00," Wong adds. "Minimum orders of 500 pieces are required for ODM items while OEM product quantities are negotiable, and delivery is about 30 days after order confirmation."
Committed to innovation and design excellence, Hong Kong electronics manufacturers are ideally placed to keep computer users clicking far into the foreseeable future.
WRITTEN BY CHRIS DAVIS
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