14 Oct 2004
Digital Electronics(HKTDC Electronics, Vol 05,2004)
Vol 5, 2004
Global Display Ltd's forte is LCD and plasma televisions that are exported mainly to the US and Europe
A television screen flat enough to hang on the wall; pocket-sized talking translation machines; a portable DVD player that plays movies virtually anywhere...
Ten years ago gadgets like these only existed in a futuristic novel, but digital technology is advancing fast, making electronic equipment smaller, lighter and cheaper all the time.
Flat screen TVs are perhaps the most popular of the new breed of electronic equipment. "Eventually they will replace regular TVs," predicts Global Display Ltd sales and marketing manager Billy Wong.
He says next year will be an important period. "Flat screens are very popular at the moment, but prices are still high, so we are expecting demand to increase as they fall."
Global Display lists Europe and the US as its main markets, although "the Chinese mainland may become more important in future," adds Wong.
The company works entirely on an OEM basis, but is considering launching its own brand name, Wong says, "depending on the state of the market".
The LCD TVs are manufactured at Global Display's two-million-square-foot factories in Dongguan on the mainland, which produce 6,000 units a month. Minimum order size is one TEU, delivered 45-60 days after order confirmation.
Functions such as top class picture quality may be a priority for TVs, but different markets have different requirements where style is concerned.
No one knows this better than Citi Sound Electronic Ltd marketing executive Kelvin Leung, whose firm specialises in cordless telephone systems.
"Usually our US and Canadian customers prefer a bigger size," he observes. "Europeans prefer simple, sleek designs and Asian customers are always looking for the newest styles and most up-to-date features."
Fifteen-year-old Citi Sound manufactures at a 15,000-square-metre, ISO 9001-certified factory on the mainland, producing systems on an OEM basis and for its own Citisonic brand.
Minimum order size is 1,000 units, available at FOB Hong Kong prices ranging from US$3-30 and delivered 45 days after order confirmation.
"We have our own department working on product development," says Leung, who emphasises the need for designers to strike a balance between style and function.
As does Yang Chui Ching, sales and marketing manager for Apollo Worldwide Ltd, which specialises in tablet DVD players that incorporate the screen in the player. "They are like a mobile cinema you can take wherever you go," Yang explains.
Apollo, which was established in 1992, manufactures on an OEM basis and under its own Nextbase brand name at its 500-worker factory in Jiangmen on the mainland.
The company normally quotes prices based on a minimum order of one TEU. First orders are delivered 40 days after confirmation, with 30-day delivery for subsequent orders.
Yang says the company is also very interested in the market for in-car systems. "We are always trying to create something different," he says, claiming, "we were the first manufacturer to make the tablet DVD player."
He maintains Apollo's products must be user-friendly and easy to operate, especially since the firm is now selling its tablet DVD players to airlines for passengers to use in-flight.
Ease of use is also an important factor for Brilliant System Ltd, which specialises in the manufacture of electronic data organisers, PDAs and electronic translators and dictionaries.
"Electronic dictionaries and translators have been on the market for almost 10 years, but new technologies mean products are getting cheaper all the time and now they are about half their original price," explains director George Chan.
He says the dictionaries allow users to read definitions and translations on screen and also hear how words should be pronounced. "These devices are getting smaller and more lightweight - they can usually fit inside a suit pocket," Chan notes.
According to Chan, competition is very keen. "There is not much room for expansion, so firms have to keep moving forward just to stay in the industry," he says. "Our main role is to design, develop and produce for clients - we work about 95% on an OEM basis."
Brilliant produces 200,000 organisers and dictionaries every month at its 6,000-square-metre mainland factory in Shenzhen using electronic components from Japan, Taiwan and the mainland, and LCDs and plastic from the mainland.
Minimum orders of 1,000 units available at FOB Hong Kong prices ranging from US$3-300 are delivered 45-60 days after order confirmation.
Brilliant's products find ready buyers in markets such as the US, Europe and the Middle East, graphically illustrating the huge and growing demand for high quality Hong Kong digital electronics such as dictionaries, DVD players, telephones and TVs.
Manufacturers all agree that one factor stays the same: whatever the product and regardless of the company, customers prefer their gadgets in an eye-catching, elegant silver colour.
WRITTEN BY SUZANNE MOORE
Brilliant System Ltd
Fibres & Fabrics Ind Centre
7 Shing Yip St
Kwun Tong, Kowloon
Citi Sound Electronic Ltd
Units 4-5, 9/F, Blk A
New Trade Plaza
6 On Ping St
Sha Tin, New Territories
DMT Co Ltd
Rm 12, 2/F
Hung Tai Ind Bldg
37-39 Hung To Rd
Kwun Tong, Kowloon