1 Jan 2003
Hands-Free Phones(HKTDC Electronics, Vol 01,2003)
Vol 1, 2003
Hands Free, Hands Down
Sino Spark Electronic Ltd offers this hands-free telephone featuring an AM/FM radio, photo frame, last number redial and speakerphone
Ask the average user and they'll tell you that the hands-free telephone is one of the greatest telecoms innovations of recent years. Gone are the days of pressing an uncomfortable plastic earpiece to your head while you struggled to take notes and shuffle documents - with no chance of bringing colleagues in on the conversation unless you'd already booked a conference call.
Hands-free telephones have done away with most of these inconveniences, thanks largely to imaginative innovations from forward-thinking companies such as Sino Spark Electronic Ltd.
This company's radio telephone with photo frame and speakerphone incorporates an AM-FM radio and provides space to mount a photograph of the user's choice. In addition to the speaker, it comes with an ear microphone for private conversations.
"I haven't seen anything else like it in the market," says Sino Spark marketing manager, Alvin Yu. "This product is also well suited to the premium market as there's plenty of room to place a company logo."
Yu says about 100,000 pieces of the model were sold in 2002. The FOB Hong Kong price is US$8, with a minimum order requirement of 2,000 pieces. Delivery takes 45 days from order confirmation.
Sino Spark also makes hands-free conversion accessories for single-line phones (US$6) and PABX line phones (US$16).
The company, which was founded in 1991, has a 60,000-square-foot plant in Shenzhen on the Chinese mainland, where it employs 500 workers. Major markets are the US, Europe, Asia and Japan.
Also working with an eye to innovation is Automatic Mfg Ltd, whose full-featured speakerphone is compatible with SMS, the increasingly popular short messaging service. "The SMS capability of this phone is specifically targeted at European PTTs," says deputy marketing manager Simon Wong.
The FOB Hong Kong price of the SMS-equipped model is US$17. Minimum order size is 5,000 pieces. Five weeks are required for delivery. Main markets are the US and Europe.
Automatic Mfg also makes wireless hands-free kits for cellphones; one for digital audio processing (US$40) and one for CDMA (US$35). Again, minimum order size is 5,000 pieces.
Established in 1976, the company has a plant in Dongguan on the mainland, with a production area of 270,000 square feet and more than 4,500 employees.
Vogue Industries Co offers three different hands-free choices in its Vogtel series, which comprises both corded and cordless models.
Vice president Lawrence Hou says the phone built for the more technically demanding European markets are priced at US$8-9 FOB each, while those built for Middle East use are priced at US$6-7.
The minimum order size is 1,000 pieces and deliveries take 30 days. Main markets are Germany, Spain, Portugal, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Vogue opened for business in 1997 and has a 5,000-square-metre factory with a staff of 600 in Shenzhen.
CHP Electronics Co Ltd manufactures a 13-memory speakerphone it developed for the US-based retail chain Wal-Mart and which has achieved monthly production of 150,000 pieces. It comes with volume control, 13-number memory dialing and electronic hold indicator.
Minimum order size is 1,000 pieces and delivery takes 30 to 45 days from order confirmation.
General manager Dave Wong says all the company's products are geared to the middle-and low-end of the market, where most hands-free phones are sold. "The market doesn't want anything too fancy or showy because the product is a commodity. Gradually, though, the more stylish exterior designs, such as we see in Japan, are being introduced to North America," he observes.
CHP's principal markets are the US, Israel and South Africa. The company, founded in 1989, has a 20,000-square-metre factory employing 1,000 workers in Dongguan.
Victorwood Holdings Ltd makes three kinds of caller-ID speakerphones, including one with a built-in answering machine, at a production base in Shenzhen employing 500 staff. Its minimum order requirement is 10,000 pieces and 45 days are required for delivery. Prices are negotiable. The company exports to the US, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Belgium.
At Tony-Roy Telecommunication Ltd, hands-free products include the 900 Mhz cordless phone (US$20 FOB Hong Kong), the two-line corded caller-ID phone (US$10) and the caller-ID slim phone (US$5).
Minimum order sizes are 2,000 pieces for corded and 1,000 for cordless. Deliveries take two weeks. About 50% of the company's production is sold in the Middle East, while other important markets include Southeast Asia, South America and Europe. Tony-Roy's 30,000-square-foot factory in Shenzhen employs 600 workers.
WRITTEN BY JAMES ALLEN
Automatic Mfg Ltd
15/F, Blk B
Veristrong Ind Centre
36 Au Pui Wan St
CHP Electronics Co Ltd
Unit C, 24/F
9-23 Shell St
Sino Spark Electronic Ltd
Flat D, 15/F, Blk B
Marvel Ind Bldg
17-23 Kwai Fung Crescent
Tony-Roy Telecommunication Ltd
Rm 1009, Blk A
Hoi Luen Ind Centre
55 Hoi Yuen Rd
Kwun Tong, Kowloon
Victorwood Holdings Ltd
Unit 16, 6/F, Blk B
Sun Fung Centre
88 Kwok Shui Rd
Vogue Industries Co
Rm 1008, 10/F
TCL Ind Centre
8 Tai Chung Rd
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