9 July 2007
Loud & Clear(HKTDC Electronic Components & Parts, Vol 03,2007)
|Sound and melody modules from Asia Industries Co are mainly used in stuffed toys|
When looking to add value to a product, a sound module can provide just the right appeal by offering music, voice and animal sounds in addition to lights and action
Sound modules help bring to life an assortment of consumer products as diverse as toys and greeting cards, adding extra value and appeal. To meet demand, Hong Kong companies with factories in the Pearl River Delta region on the Chinese mainland produce a whole range of sound modules at competitive prices.
One example is Asia Industries Co, which produces sound modules used mainly in plush toys. The line up includes the moving-head variety for greater effect. "With this module fitted into a plush toy, the head moves while sound is emitted," says manager Agnes Tung. "The sound can be in the form of simple tunes, singing or speaking, or some specified animal sound."
The company's sound modules are unit- priced from HK$1-30 FOB Hong Kong depending on the structure of the item. "We design and produce sound modules to meet customers' needs," Tang says, adding that the modules are made from plastic, metal and electronic components sourced mostly from the Chinese mainland.
Running a 150-worker factory in Dongguan, the 15-year-old company requires a minimum order of 1,000 units for delivery 3-4 weeks after order confirmation. Among its main markets are South America, Korea, the US, the Middle East, Spain, Germany, the UK and Russia.
Sound modules are used not only for toys, however. For example, a collection of sound modules for greeting cards graces the catalogue of Kai Yuen Development (HK) Co. "Some of our modules emit musical messages when the card is opened," says sales manager Jacky Cheng. "Others do so when a certain area is touched, because of the placement of certain sensors."
This company constructs sound modules from plastic, IC chips, speakers and batteries, most of which are sourced from Taiwan, Hong Kong and the mainland. "We supply customised designs and products," says Cheng. "A customer usually specifies the required function and where the module is to be placed and we design and produce it accordingly."
Unit prices range from US$0.10-0.60 FOB Hong Kong, depending on the function. "Our customers require high quality and we cater to that demand," Cheng assures.
Established in 1995, the firm manufactures about 1.5-2 million sound modules annually at its 400-worker, 20,000-square-metre factory in Shenzhen. A minimum order is about 10,000 pieces, and the lead time is 15-25 days.
"Europe is our main market and contributes to about half of our turnover. A lot of our European sales come from the UK, while we also export to the US and Asia, including Japan and Korea," Cheng says.
Another firm, Simtec (ODM) Ltd, also designs and makes sound modules for plush toys. "When the user presses or pats the toy, it emits animal sounds or a human voice, depending on customers' requirements," says director Thomas Lam.
Set up in 2003, this company produces an average of 100,000 sound modules a month at its 2,400-square-metre, 100-worker factory in Dongguan. "We moved into this factory in early 2007 - we are still recruiting staff and expect to have 500 in total by year-end," Lam says.
Materials and components for production, such as plastic, ICs, resistors and capacitors, come mostly from Taiwan, Hong Kong and the mainland. A minimum order is 5,000 units, on a lead time of 10 days. "Our major market is Europe, including Austria and France," says Lam.
Motion characterises the line of plush-toy sound modules from Sino-Rate Enterprises Ltd. Among the firm's hot items is a tail-shaking module. "The module can be put in the tail of a toy tiger, for example, so that the tail can move and sound is emitted at the same time," says manager Cheuk Kit Ming.
Another popular item is an animated module. "This fits into a toy and enables the arms to make an embracing movement while light and sound are activated," Cheuk says, adding that this series also includes a wing-shaking module for toy birds. "We offer self-designed open lines. If customers find them unsuitable, we can customise products for them."
Founded in 1989, the company runs a 1,000-worker factory in Dongguan that spans more than 10,000 square metres, and which has a monthly production capacity of 1.5 million sound modules, using plastic cases, ICs and electronic components purchased from different sources such as the mainland, Taiwan, Korea and Japan.
The firm requests a minimum order of 5,000 units to be delivered in 30 days. "The US is our biggest market, accounting for 50% of our sales, while we also sell to South Africa, Europe, including the UK, Australia, Japan and Pakistan," Cheuk notes, saying that most of the company's sound modules sell for HK$7-20 FOB Hong Kong each under the SR brand.
Other sound modules are press-activated, such as a line on offer at Tila Worldwide Co Ltd. These modules come in square, round or flat cases. "We are experienced in manufacturing sound modules," says sales and marketing executive May Chan of the 16-year-old company, which produces one million sound modules a month at its 16,000-square-foot, 500-worker factory in Dongguan.
"We use ICs from Taiwan, while other materials include batteries and speakers," Chan adds, revealing that a minimum order is 10,000 units on a 30-day lead time. "Our biggest market is Europe, which accounts for 40% of our turnover," she adds, noting that the company also sells to the US and the mainland.
The facts speak for themselves, and Hong Kong is clearly a sonic success when meeting world demand for sound modules.
TEXT BY CARRIE LEE
Kai Yuen Development (HK) Co
Flat E, 10/F
Tai Hing Bldg
123 Des Voeux Rd West
Simtec (ODM) Ltd
Fortune Commercial Bldg
362 Sha Tsui Rd
Tsuen Wan, New Territories