1 June 2005
Headphones & Microphones(HKTDC Electronics, Vol 03,2005)
Loud And Clear
Constant cries from consumers for quality headphones and microphones are music to the ears of Hong Kong manufacturers, who have extensive experience in this specialist field.
Many local companies have long been investing in R&D to incorporate the latest technology into their headphones and microphones, which are vital for a variety of uses such as home entertainment, inflight entertainment, emergency services, communications, conference calls and karaoke.
Artchief Industries Ltd, for example, covers every manufacturing step from R&D to production at its 26,000-square-metre factory in Dongguan on the Chinese mainland.
"We have been specialising in wireless audio since 1993 and carry a full range of wireless applications from low- to high-end to suit market requirements, including Bluetooth models," says general manager Charles Chu.
Beginning with infrared headphones, Artchief gradually evolved into more advanced RF VHF and UHF systems that come in different frequencies for different countries, including the US and Europe.
Typical of the company's products is its 864MHz UHF wireless headphone, which costs about US$18 FOB Hong Kong each, recharges easily when placed on its cradle, and features auto-tune scanning within the headset.
Similarly, a stereo infrared cordless headphone features a rotating transmitter that can be changed from vertical to horizontal. "This is very convenient for large living rooms," he adds, noting that it is competitively priced at approximately US$15 per set.
"We also carry a VHF wireless headphone with battery-operated transmitter that is very suitable for promotional or premium items because of its low cost - around US$10."
Europe accounts for 50% of Artchief's exports, with North America at 40% and Southeast Asia accounting for 10%. "We are trying to explore more opportunities in Japan and Korea," Chu admits, adding that the company's customers are generally chain stores and brands.
Artchief also produces its Addicon brand and requires minimum quantities of 5,000 wireless headphones that are delivered 45-60 days after order confirmation.
Just as convinced of the value of R&D is Fujikon Industrial Co Ltd, according to vice-president sales and marketing Tom Li. "We have a strong R&D department with the latest equipment and provide a complete product development platform for our customers," he says. "We are very strong in ODM/OEM and our production capabilities include reliability test and quality system controls."
Fujikon manufactures its Pro-Luxe, Fico, Uni Tone and Hi-Tex brands at a 66,840-square-metre mainland factory that is ISO 14001- and ISO 9001-certified.
The 6,754-worker plant boasts 60 production lines that manufacture 1.35 million headphones/1.4 million headsets and 150,000 microphones per month.
Fujikon's most popular products include noise-cancelling, foldable stereo headphones particularly suitable for airplanes, professional studio headphones with 50mm speakers, infrared home entertainment headphones and lightweight, slimline headphones that are ideal for MP3 players.
"Our major customers are top-brand and first-tier companies," says Li, adding that FOB Hong Kong prices, minimum order quantities and delivery times are available on request. "North America is our biggest market, but Asia-Pacific excluding Japan is growing fastest and the mainland is also doing well."
OEM for worldwide brands is also important to Player Enterprise Corp Ltd, which manufactures microphones and headphones that carry its own Yoga and Player brands.
"Yoga focuses on the higher end of the market, while Player is more for consumer products," explains sales manager Tony Yan, adding that Player produces a wide range of speciality microphones for conferences, communication, multimedia industries and other users.
Player has more than 15 years' experience in producing microphones such as the angle-adjustable, voice-recording mini microphone that Yan claims is "one of about two" on the market.
"The tie clip microphone, which can also be worn on the lapel, is designed for speech and interview recording, is unobtrusive and allows hands-free operation," he says.
The microphones are manufactured at Player's 12,000-square-metre factory in Shenzhen on the southern mainland that is ISO 9001- and ISO 14001-certified.
Minimum quantities and FOB Hong Kong prices are available on request, with delivery to the US, Europe and Japan promised 20-35 days after order confirmation.
Infrared and RF headphones that carry the Porter Sound 2000 and Cyber Labs brands respectively are a specialty of Alford Industries Ltd, which began operations in 1992.
"Our newest IR system is a stereo cordless model that has CE approval," reveals marketing executive Bonnie Chan, adding that it is also available in the US with a different adaptor. "Our latest RF product is a mono cordless system, whose low price has spurred demand in the Middle East."
Both products are manufactured at a 200,000-square-foot, 800-worker factory in Shunde on the mainland that is ISO 9001- and ISO 14001-certified.
"FOB Hong Kong prices are available on request, while the minimum order is 3,000 sets per model and delivery is 40-45 days after order confirmation," Chan says.
Obviously, Hong Kong manufacturers have a lot to shout about when it comes to headphones and microphones for home or professional use.
WRITTEN BY ANN WILLIAMS
Artchief Industries Ltd
Fujikon Industrial Co Ltd
Player Enterprise Corp Ltd