5 Feb 2008
Counting Skills(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 02,2008)
Electronic Consumer Goods
|Catiga Electronics Co Ltd specialises in all types of electronic calculators, electronic clocks, calendars, radios, games, translators and stopwatches|
Since their inception, electronic calculators have continued to evolve. Today, ubiquitous in every classroom, home and office, users employ smart-looking helpers with sleek designs with greater functionality.
For some 20 years, Hong Kong firm Catiga Electronics Co Ltd has specialised in the manufacture and development of all types of electronic calculators, also supplementing its business with lines that include timers, stopwatches, electronic clocks, games, translators, data holders and a variety of electronic stationery products.
"We have always focused on LCD calculators," says Marketing Executive Jessica Lam. "They come mostly with plastic bodies that we make entirely in-house, including all the tooling and injection moulding. We also use plastic and rubber keypads, and sometimes metal ones."
Production examples include model CH-979-R, a hand-held, dual power, big display, eight-digit calculator with percentage, square root and change sign (+/-) keys. "This has a durable plastic keypad and the item measures 103x62x12mm," says Ms Lam.
Another model is CP-1900-K, a 12-digit calculator with a single colour printer, tax and cost/sell/margin functions, and percentage, right-shift, 00 and change sign (+/-) keys. This item also features rubber keys, and it measures 200x103x47mm.
"The newest products we have feature a keypad that is similar to that seen on a computer, and the larger keys make the item much easier to use," Ms Lam points out. "We also have waterproof models."
Markets are worldwide, and calculators are targeted at the medium- to high-end. That said, FOB Hong Kong unit prices start at around US$0.50 and climb to US$20.00 depending on size and function. Production covers both OEM and ODM demand.
"While there is little that is startlingly new in calculators, colour now tends to play a more important role. Early models were quite staid but today's units are bright and cheerful," Ms Lam says.
"Also, some functions that were not available before, or were little used, are now expected in dedicated machines, say calculators especially designed for accounting firms," she adds. There are other special calculators such as the Graphic-Scientific model, while the Financial Function calculator is a new item.
"All of these functions depend on the IC, of course, and as long as there is R&D into new chips then calculators will continue to evolve. For example, we have some speaking models," says Ms Lam.
"We do a lot of premium and promotional items business with well-known brand names. They find that pocket calculators are well received as giveaway items," she remarks. "They are usually finished in bright colours, are smaller and more novelty-oriented."
Apart from its main range, Catiga Electronics also offers calculators for children, as well as games, timers and stopwatches. "Our alarms and stopwatches sell to the same customers that order standard calculators, who may be supplying, say, a university that requires other items in addition to scientific calculators," Ms Lam says.
Model CG-502 is a typical stopwatch that displays lap/split times in two rows and delivers time measurements with 1/100-second intervals. It has a store-and-recall function for up to 10 laps and split times, and allows memory recall after reset and during operation. This model also incorporates a calendar and regular time (12/24 hour format), plus a daily alarm countdown. All are housed in a water-resistant plastic case that measures 83x64x25mm.
She notes that material costs are considerably higher these days, some as much as double and triple previous levels. "Depending on the item, the overall increase in our cost, this year alone, is in the region of 20%."
To counteract increased costs, Catiga Electronics adopts a policy of only commencing production upon acceptance of an order. "That is when we place orders with the various suppliers of raw materials," she explains. "In this way, our costing is right up-to-date and we avoid having stockpiles of various items." This policy is also important, she adds, because many consumer electronic products have a limited lifetime. "We do not want them sitting on shelves in warehouses."
Catiga Electronics has an advanced exporting production system, a well-facilitated moulding workshop consisting of 100 plastic injection-moulding machines, a silk-screen printing workshop, a painting workshop and a bonding (SMT) workshop.
"We are a highly self-sufficient, forward-looking company that is well able to work with OEMs on their particular needs," Ms Lam assures.
TEXT BY TONY HENDERSON
Year Established: 1987