13 Feb 2004
Headphones& Earphones(HKTDC Electronics, Vol 01,2004)
Vol 1, 2004
Lightweight and comfortable, cordless headphones from Alford Industries Ltd come in both stereo and mono models
Hong Kong has headphones and earphones for every requirement, from stereo hi-fi to music-on-the-move and speak-and-listen sets for hands-free telephony to home theatre systems.
Accutone Technologies Ltd, a subsidiary of 34-year veteran Wing Cheong Holdings Ltd, specialises in telecommunications accessories. The company manufactures items such as headsets, adaptors, configuration switches and amplifiers for fixed-line telephones, mobile handsets, computers and dictation machines. "Our advantage is that most of the components and raw materials we use are made by sister firms in the group," says Hong Kong marketing director Howard Soo.
Model TM363DW, a popular convertible telephone headset with optional configuration switch, is typical of the range. It is a light headset that weighs only one ounce, and can be worn over the head or behind the ear thanks to a removable headband and a soft plastic ear loop.
"We've designed the TM363DW according to the preferences in our core target market, which is call centres," Soo explains. "The agents are mostly ladies who don't like to mess up their hair with traditional, over-the-head versions, while the light weight is important because they have to wear their headsets all day."
As with other model telephone headsets from Accutone, TM363DW uses both Mylar speakers and voice application receivers, while all microphones come with a noise cancellation feature.
"Specifications for the speaker or the size of the microphone are changeable, as some customers ask for a larger microphone casing to fit a bigger microphone with special added features designed for their applications," Soo advises.
Focusing more on the wireless aspect of sound reproduction is Alford Industries Ltd, offering a range of infrared (IFR) and radio frequency (RF) headphones in both stereo and mono modes.
"By strictly following international standards and adopting an efficient integrated management system that takes into account both quality and the environment, we are able to guarantee excellent products," claims business manager Rick Tsui.
Alford's popular stereo cordless headphone (model SPI-2010) uses two AAA batteries and features open ear cups, a personal volume control and four IFR sensors that deliver sound to the 27mm Mylar speakers.
Both ear cups and the headband are adjustable, notes Tsui. "The audio transmitter component is AC/DC operated, with an optional adaptor, and comes with an LED on-off indicator and attached power cord," he adds. "Other features include auto on-off at the transmitter and muting and auto level control at the headphone."
Twelve-year-old Alford accepts minimum orders of 3,000 sets for delivery 30 days after confirmation of purchase order. The firm's Cyber Labs brand is available to buyers in major markets such as Europe, the US, Dubai, Japan and South America.
Production takes place at an 18,000-square-metre factory in Shunde on the Chinese mainland, which has 500-600 employees and is ISO 9001- and ISO 14001-certified.
Meanwhile, vibrant young manufacturer iLike Electronics Co Ltd manages to always stay up with the trends in earphones, headsets and microphones.
Established in 1996, iLike offers stereo headsets in ear-hook, back neck, foldable and hi-fi variations. Other products include professional, detachable stereo headphones, vibrating headphones and a complete earphone series for mobile phones and computers.
"Together, these items form a major part of our business, which also includes CD and VCD players and loudspeakers," says marketing manager Weber Lo. "We sell headsets and earphones in large quantities to OEMs and distributors in major markets, including the US, the UK and Germany."
Monthly production is about 400,000 headsets or earphones at a 6,880-square-metre mainland plant in Shenzhen that is ISO 9001- and 3C- certified. Minimum order is 3,000 sets per model, for delivery one month after confirmation of order, and buyers can elect to use one of the firm's three brands: Okay II, Meky or Lieder.
"We cover the entire spectrum, which means we can offer everything from the low- to the high-end," declares Lo. "The key is in sourcing the right materials and closely monitoring customers' needs in order to supply the right product."
Typical FOB Hong Kong unit prices of earphones range from US$0.45-1.30. Headphones cost US$1.10-8.50, while multimedia headsets for computers cost US$1.40-8.50.
Closely following trends in the home theatre market, Player Enterprise Corp Ltd offers several headphone models, including 5.1 channel surround-sound, deluxe, lightweight, wireless and hands-free.
Established in 1980, Player re-formed in 2001 to focus on audiovisual products. "The AV market really took off with the popularity of CD and VCD players," recalls sales manager Tony Yan. "Then the DVD and home theatre phenomenon arrived and today is fast becoming a standard item in many households."
Player produces more than 50,000 sets of earphones/headphones each month at its 8,000-square-metre, 600-worker plant in Shenzhen that is also ISO 9002-certified.
A minimum order is 500 sets per model for delivery 30 days after confirmation of order. "Our major clients are worldwide OEMs and distributors," says Yan. "We sell them complete sets and also accessories, and we use the client's brand name or our own Player or Cosonic brands."
With a keen ear for business, Hong Kong headphone and earphone manufacturers are clearly on song with their ever-popular audio listening devices.
WRITTEN BY ANTHONY WT MOORE
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