1 May 2003
MP3 Players(HKTDC Electronics, Vol 03,2003)
Vol 3, 2003
Safety & Security Products
Music On The Move
New from Kar Wi Electronics Development Ltd is this programmable CD/MP3 player with AC/DC adapter and 45 degree anti-shock protection
The enormous popularity of music on the Internet has created a tremendous demand for portable storage systems that can record and play back the vast numbers of songs music lovers download to their computers in compressed files.
Hong Kong manufacturers such as Kar Wi Electronics Development Ltd are, as ever, at the cutting edge of this increasingly important trend in electronics. Kar Wi, which has been manufacturing high quality personal audio devices since 1978, started with radios and cassette players and recorders.
But, as marketing executive Zoe Chan notes, today MP3 and MP3/CD players are an increasingly important part of its broad range of products. "We started in the MP3 field last year, and so far demand for our players is quite good," she says, adding "we do most of our business with Europe and South America".
According to Chan there are many synergistic elements to the distinct technologies combined in the company's units, all of which are equipped with anti-shock mechanisms. "For example, many people still wish to play CDs as well as listen to their MP3 downloads, and some units are also able to play VCDs, CD-Rs and CD-RWs," she explains.
The company actively promotes its own Akiwa brand name but much of its business takes the form of OEM orders, so all units boast compact durable cases with large printable areas for brand names.
"We make all our products under customer brands or under our own brand name at our factory in Dongguan, on the Chinese mainland," says Chan. "All the products have CE and FCC approval."
FOB Hong Kong prices for Kar Wi's range of programmable CD/MP3 players start at US$24.80 per unit for the MPCD-2040, a programmable CD/MP3 player with 45 degree anti-shock. The MPCD-2040 is available for a minimum order of 3,000 pieces shipped 45 days after order confirmation.
Also offering a high quality player that combines MP3 technology with CD-playing capabilities is Ten Forward Ltd, which manufactures at a 120,000-square-foot factory in Shenzhen on the mainland for OEM customers in the US, Europe, Japan and Australia.
Company director Kenneth Lee says its highly versatile model TF-72 combines MP3, CD, karaoke and optional VCD playing capabilities in one highly portable, compact, easy to operate unit. "It costs US$29.80 per item for a minimum order of 2,000 units delivered within 45 days of confirmation of order," he adds.
On the other hand Windsor Technology Ltd has devoted its attentions to players dedicated entirely to MP3 files and other forms of data storage that can be made more compactly than those that also play CDs.
Established in 1999, initially to specialise in flat screen TVs, Windsor also manufactures plasma TVs, LCD TVs and a two-way radio system, explains marketing director Eva Yuen.
"We have promoted our own Windsor brand name from the beginning in Hong Kong, but we do a lot of OEM business for big companies in overseas markets," she adds.
Windsor's 18,000-square-metre, 1,500-worker factory in Shenzhen, which has ISO 9001 certification, produces for major markets such as Europe, the US and Asia.
Typical of Windsor's products is the trim WMP-338-1 MP3 digital audio player; a versatile unit with 64MB of built-in memory SMC expandable to 128MB, voice recording, and a large LCD screen with Chinese character support.
It is fully hardwired for low-power operation, and has different audio modes for pop, jazz, classical and rock music, as well as a 20-step digital volume control. A remote control for all the basic functions is optional with the WMP-338-1, which can be delivered 6-8 weeks after order confirmation. "Our unit price for orders of not less than 1,000 is US$45, but for larger quantities we can negotiate," adds Yuen.
Equally devoted to compact quality is Truly Electronics Mfg Ltd, which combines FM radios, MP3 recording and play-back capabilities in compact units such as the MP368 Plus.
Truly manufactures its robust metal-cased products at an ISO 9001-certified factory in Shanwei on the mainland, using components imported from the US and Korea.
"This model is available with 64MB or 128MB of memory and, while FOB prices depend on the size of the order we start from US$60 for a minimum order of 200 for the 64MB version,"explains assistant marketing manager Julian Au.
According to Au, Truly's digital audio players are far more than storage and play-back devices for music on the move: other features include a voice recording function, applications such as a language learning tool and the ability to double as a removable disk drive.
"For relatively small orders we use our own Truly brand name, but we do OEM production for a number of big companies and we can print any brand name the customer requests on larger orders," says Au. "There is increasing demand for this technology and right now the market is going up."
So, as more people turn to MP3 as a means of storing music and data, Hong Kong manufacturers are destined to keep singing the sweet song of success for many years to come.
WRITTEN BY ROBERT PIERCE
Huana Electronics (HK) Co
Rm 23, 8/F
New City Centre
2 Lei Yue Mun Rd
Kwun Tong, Kowloon
Ten Forward Ltd
11/F, Blk B
Wo Kee Hong Bldg
585-609 Castle Peak Rd
Kwai Chung, New Territories
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