1 Nov 2002
LCD Technology Crystallizes Success(HKTDC Electronics, Vol 06,2002)
Vol 6, 2002
LCD Technology Crystallizes Success
The Sky's The Limit
IDT Int'l Ltd
A SMALL company got off to a big start when it produced Hong Kong's first digital LCD alarm clock in 1977. Multi-award winning IDT Int'l Ltd has gone on to become a global force in the design, development and manufacture of consumer electronic products using innovative LCD and microprocessor technology. The listed company is also the owner of a major international consumer electronic brand, Oregon Scientific.
Today, Oregon Scientific's sophisticated products are distributed in 14 major markets. "Our brand accounts for 48% of the company's sales and reflects our reputation for style and elegance," says co-founder and executive director Shirley Chan. "Next year we're launching six new products designed by world-renowned designer Philip Stark."
The brand became a wholly-owned IDT subsidiary in 1997. "We opened our first concept store in Milan in 1999 and a second in Rome in 2000," says Chan. "We also developed our 'store-within-a-store' display concept to maintain a consistent brand image in department stores and duty-free outlets worldwide."
A network of overseas subsidiaries has helped the company position itself as a major international player. "Our strategy of product development and design and constantly strengthening our marketing and distribution channels helped raise turnover to HK$2.23bn (US$285m) in 2002, particularly in the US and Europe," Chan explains.
IDT's customers include Philips, Seiko, Sharp, Fujifilm and Packard Bell. The firm has also received numerous local and overseas awards recognizing its quality ODM products, adds Chan.
LCD consumer electronics is one of the largest of four major divisions of IDT's global business. Products include environmental monitoring devices, timepieces, and healthcare and sports items.
"We have become a world leader in the production of LCD weather products," enthuses Chan. Utilizing the latest technology, these products offer attractive features including wireless and remote barometers, pressure and humidity measures, moon phases and world time. Most are cable-free, desktop items for home or office.
The electronic learning products division emerged from the 1997 international craze for the LCD-based Tamagotchi toy. Now many large Japanese toy companies, such as Bandai, seek the company's expertise.
A new range of children's laptop models using animated characters such as Princess Cleo, the award-winning Zip the Robot and Special Agent Bravo has become the latest achievement. IDT also recently licensed "Barbie" and "Hot Wheels" for its Oregon Scientific range of electronic learning aids and toys.
Other divisions followed in the early 1990s."We wanted to diversify our product range and further expand internationally," explains Chan.
"We selected personal information products (PIP) and telecommunications and brought in specialist engineers from South Korea to increase our capabilities."
Both divisions have expanded rapidly. PIPs now include stylish PDAs, handheld PCs, organizers and language translators. "Most recently we introduced a new line of e-mail and Internet-related devices and digital imaging products," says Chan. "This includes the world's thinnest digital camera, just 6mm thick, which is listed in the 2001 Guinness Book of World Records."
The telecommunications division offers an extensive range of cordless phones with one of its best sellers a backlit model providing a view of the caller that can be seen from across the room.
This large product range requires a workforce of more than 8,000 employees at the company's one-million-square-metre production facilities in Xixian near Shenzhen on the Chinese mainland. It also has a 400-strong research and development team.
"We are well established in Europe and the US, so we are now looking to further expand in Asia, particularly the Chinese mainland," says Chan. "Brand development is very important - once you have a reputable brand, you can go anywhere."
WRITTEN BY SANDRA JENNER
IDT Int'l Ltd
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