8 Feb 2005
Digital Recorders(HKTDC Electronics, Vol 01,2005)
For The Record
Many Hong Kong manufacturers have been at the forefront of this digital revolution, possessing both the technical expertise and market awareness to deliver high quality items at the right price.
Link Concept Technology Ltd, a company that specialises in AV equipment, believes the technology has matured and prices are dropping to the right level for consumers.
"DVD recorders will be the mainstream AV product this year," predicts marketing executive Alvin Lau. "The compatibility of DVD-RW is also increasing and the disks themselves are getting cheaper."
Link Concept's Dual DVD Recorder, the DR-1000, boasts a comprehensive feature set to enable recording in the main DVD+RW, DVD-RW and DVD+-R formats.
"Europe is still one of our main markets, where we have seen increasing demand from new customers as well as larger orders from our existing clients," says Lau. "Most of these are importers are very familiar with the product specifications and features, so they do tend to be concerned with price."
Link Concept manufactures DVD players and AV products at a 120,000-square-foot factory in Dongguan on the Chinese mainland that can produce 200,000 units a month.
Major markets like Italy, France, Germany, the US, the UK, Russia, Japan, Korea and India snap up minimum orders of 500 units, which are delivered 30 days after order confirmation.
Lau says the four-year-old company focuses mainly on customers whose orders are too small for the bigger players and puts a lot of effort into good service and design.
"We are also a very fast, innovative company and our R&D department is always working on new product lines, like the portable multimedia player that will play and record digital images, video and audio," Lau adds.
Sys-Link Technology Co Ltd is another company that can testify to the widespread acceptance of new digital technology, specifically its range of digital voice recorders.
"People know more about flash memory and have a lot more confidence in it," believes sales manager Karry Ho. "Over the last five years, we have really seen the market move from tape-based recorders and now even the tapes themselves are quite hard to find."
The company, which was pioneering digital answering devices as part of its telecom product portfolio in the early 1990s, now focuses almost entirely on digital voice recorders and USB flash drives aimed at the professional market.
"Our main markets are Europe and then the US," Ho reveals, adding that about 50% of its products bear its own Sys-Link brand name and the other 50% is OEM. "The majority of our customers are chain stores and importers, although online shopping companies are also buying a lot more."
Sys-Link's family of voice recorders offers recording capacities from four minutes to 16 hours to meet most business needs, with the sleek, top-of the-line PDR-3 model proving particularly popular.
"It's been out for about eight months and the demand is still growing all over the world," Ho claims. "It is very lightweight and compact, has lots of features and is very competitively priced."
Among these features are the ability to link directly to a PC, with a USB connection planned for the next model, and a function to record telephone conversations.
Like the rest of the 13-year-old company's products, the PDR-3 model is manufactured at an ISO 9002-, CE- and FCC-certified factory in Dongguan.
The plant produces 50,000 digital voice recorders a month for sale in the US, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK, Chile and South Africa. "Minimum order is 300 recorders, which are delivered 30-40 days after order confirmation," Ho adds.
Less sophisticated but no less popular are OneWorld's chip-based voice recorders, with the company's MicroVoice line shipping more than one million units in 2004.
Director of business development Fred Newcomb says the current MicroVoice 3 comes with a keychain, bright white LED and a 12-second recording time. "We were looking for the broadest reach possible when we developed the MicroVoice line and we have kept on improving it," he claims.
The new MicroVision 4, which will make its debut this year, will increase message time to 20 seconds, accommodate two messages and incorporate an LCD screen and parking countdown timer. "It will also be joined by the MicroVision 40 with up to 40 seconds recording time and unlimited messages," Newcomb adds.
OneWorld has also produced the Talking Pictures Voice Recorder Photoframe that allows the user to record a message for a pleasant wake-up call.
"We are always concerned about quality," Newcomb insists. "We also use higher-end chips that draw minimal current to extend battery life and put a lot of effort into the speakers we choose."
These products are manufactured in a 50,000-square-foot factory in Dongguan and available in 5,000-unit minimum orders delivered 30 days after order confirmation. "We have our own OneWorld brand and sell to retailers and mail order houses in the US and Europe," Newcomb adds.
Proving that when it comes to recording, digital is undoubtedly the format of choice and Hong Kong companies are well-positioned to be the preferred suppliers for buyers worldwide.
WRITTEN BY ALISTAIR WADDELL
Greentech Group Ltd