10 April 2007
Full Charge(HKTDC Electronics, Vol 01,2007)
Everfast Rechargeables Ltd
|Everfast Rechargeables Ltd's battery chargers and rechargeable batteries are popular with environmentally-conscious consumers worldwide|
Timing proved perfect for Everfast Rechargeables Ltd, which has taken just three years to become one of the Chinese mainland's major producers of battery chargers and rechargeable batteries.
"We went into this business at the optimum time - it was the new age of the battery," admits general manager Charles d'Haussy. "Now there are endless uses for batteries - they power everything from digital cameras, MP3 music players, earphones, video games, laptops, mobile phones and toys to remote controls, camcorders and walkie-talkies."
However, this exponential growth of single-use alkaline battery use is causing huge environmental problems as millions of batteries that have only been used once are thrown out as rubbish.
"Most rechargeable batteries actually have about three years' life and can be recharged 1,000 times - just think of the environmental benefits that could spread across the globe by re-using them," d'Haussy exclaims.
He adds that if users kept recharging their batteries, the environmental problems they cause would be reduced one thousand-fold. "A charger pays for itself with the first few batteries it recharges," d'Haussy notes, "and since good quality chargers can be used for several years, they bring substantial savings - even for the digital camera enthusiast or MP3 fan."
This commonsense philosophy has brought Everfast customers from all over Europe, the UK, the US and Canada plus Australasia, South Africa, South America, China and the developed parts of Asia.
However, each country's different electrical fittings also means Everfast must produce 40 different charger models, so the company constantly "trawls" its global customers for feedback on the latest buying trends in battery-operated products in their countries and designs new chargers to serve them. "So while our industry is continuing to grow, we work with international clients to grow their businesses too," d'Haussy adds.
These new products must also meet European RoHS environmental standards, which mean that all raw materials must be recycleable - especially metal components and plastic.
"It does make things more complicated but we're happy to meet these requirements, because like any good corporate citizen we are an environmentally-friendly company," d'Haussy says, noting that the recycling clause also applies to the packaging. "That's why we now offer clear plastic made of PET instead of PVC."
Everfast's newest products include two tiny chargers that take just 15 and 30 minutes respectively to restore a flat battery to full strength, and also contain mini fans to prevent over-heating during the ultra-fast recharging process.
Another new model can charge two different AA and AAA batteries thanks to a one-twist moveable fitting that reduces or increases the space between the contact points.
There's also a model that comes with an LCD screen that shows the ergs slowly mounting in the battery until the charge is completed and the light flashes to show it is full.
Everfast even has a model that plugs into a car dashboard and only takes an hour to charge. "This is ideal for emergency situations when, for example, a digital camera battery has gone flat but is needed again in a hurry," adds the Mandarin-speaking French businessman. "We try to cover everything when it comes to responding to customer feedback."
The company's mainland factories employ a combined workforce of 4,500 in Dongguan and Shenzhen, which produces chargers and batteries that meet the diverse needs of customers in 35 countries.
Some 70% of Everfast's production is OEM orders shipped from Hong Kong, with many customers coming from the company's regular promotions at key events such as the Hong Kong Electronics Fairs in April and October, and the Photo Marketing Fair (PMA) held every March in Las Vegas.
However, like many of its competitors on the southern mainland, Everfast is now facing 35% -40% increases in the cost of raw materials such as the nickel used in its batteries and other metals and plastic necessary for its chargers.
"No matter whether we source our raw materials from Japan, Germany or China, prices have increased alarmingly," d'Haussy admits. "The situation is very worrying, but I am confident our successful track record of innovation will enable us to continue to develop and prosper in the future."
TEXT BY GEOFFREY SOMERS
Everfast Rechargeables Ltd