1 Nov 2002
Highly Charged(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 11,2002)
Vol 11, 2002
Hi-Watt Battery Industry Co Ltd
|With more than 20 years experience, Hi-Watt has developed into a highly efficient, ecology-minded producer of a whole range of batteries. Fully 99% of production is exported.|
EXPORTING batteries worth US$70m annually, environmental awareness and technological innovation are key concerns at Hi-Watt Battery Industry Co Ltd. The Hong Kong-based company entered the battery manufacturing business in the mid-80s by taking over Mindex Battery Works Ltd. In 1987, Hi-Watt commenced operations on the Chinese mainland producing lantern batteries in a joint venture with Guangzhou Battery Fty. More production lines moved to the mainland with the set up of the Dongguan Hi-Watt Battery Fty in 1988.
Traditional zinc batteries now account for about 70% of output from the company's 88 production lines, with alkaline (15%), NiCad rechargeable (10%) and lead-acid rechargeable (5%) models making up the balance.
This environmentally conscious company started the production of 0% cadmium and mercury batteries in 1988, and today maintains just one re-chargeable battery line that continues to use cadmium.
However, Hi-Watt produces an increasing number of NiMh batteries, taking advantage of decreasing material costs for the production of this range. "Hi-Watt plans to gradually increase the proportion of alkaline batteries from the present 15% to 30% of production as alkaline models are more environmentally friendly and also generating better sales these days as they are in demand," says deputy general manager Tony Fung.
Fung says that the market for traditional batteries has a long life. Exports to the US and Europe are growing steadily and are expected to grow at the same pace as their respective economies. However, he is not seeing any impact yet from solar technology. "This segment is not expected to change significantly in the near future," he predicts.
Aware of the need for ongoing research and development into new products and technology, Hi-Watt has brought out a new gel-type high-energy lead-acid battery. Fung says this model will "considerably improve performance" and also have a favourable impact on the "cost of production and the environmental factor".
A series of quality certificates earned for its production processes reflects the company's approach to technological innovation. Guangzhou Hi-Watt Battery Co Ltd earned UL approval in 1994, while Guangzhou Battery Co Ltd became ISO 9001-certified in 1995. Dongguan Hi-Watt Battery Co Ltd followed with ISO 9002 certification. All of these companies are wholly-owned subsidiaries.
"ISO certification is very good for the company. Besides the obvious positive response from customers and suppliers, it is also helpful for our staff as they are educated through the very process of obtaining approval. In turn, this improves the entire operation," Fung says.
Hi-Watt exports about 99% of its products. Main markets are the US, Europe, Australia and Japan. Private brand names take 60% of the production, while the Hi-Watt brand accounts for the balance.
"We categorize our customers into three main groups. First, there are the world-famous brand names that we produce for our clients on an OEM basis. Second, we ship batteries directly to general retail outlets like chain stores, one-dollar shops and drug stores. Third, we make batteries for direct importers in various markets," Fung adds.
WRITTEN BY TONY HENDERSON
Hi-Watt Battery Industry Co Ltd
6/F, Blk B, 21 Tung Yuen St,
Yau Tong Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong
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