7 April 2005
Micro Hi-Fi(HKTDC Electronics, Vol 02,2005)
Very small hi-fi sets are increasingly producing very big sounds, as manufacturers strive to incorporate new technologies, formats and design trends, while simultaneously providing more and more features.
Long bastions of electronic creativity, Hong Kong manufacturers such as S.E.M. Industries are accustomed to producing up-to-the-minute micro hi-fi sets at highly competitive prices.
"There are three reasons why our company scores over others in the industry," director Manoj Sabnani claims. "First, we consistently invest in quality, second we are always upgrading our product range and our R&D facilities and third we have an invaluable 18 years' experience in the market."
He says the market constantly changes, but he finds that the greatest pressure is to produce more product features. "Even cosmetic design takes a back seat to this priority," Sabnani adds.
The 17-year-old company makes approximately 30,000 audio items a month at its 3,500-square-metre factory in Shenzhen on the Chinese mainland that employs 3,000 workers.
They use Japanese optical pick-ups and Japanese and Korean ICs to manufacture products such as the Z-705 DXi and Z-902 DXi hi-tech digital CD/radio systems that are CD-R+RW readable.
Cutting-edge systems such as these are popular with S.E.M.'s OEM customers in the Americas, Asia and Europe. "Our minimum order is one FEU that holds around 1,500 pieces delivered 45-60 days after order confirmation," Sabnani says, adding that S.E.M.'s factory has CE, FCC and ETL/CETL approvals.
Technical design is the key selling point for Wing Hing Electronics Industrial Ltd, maintains sales representative Henry Lam. "We employ an R&D team of 6-7 engineers, who come up with new ideas every week," he claims.
The 16-year-old company manufactures a wide variety of audio products such as CD boomboxes, mini combos and cassette players at its ISO 9001-certified mainland factories in Shenzhen and Jiangxi Province that cover some 15,000 square metres and employ 1,000 workers.
One of Wing Hing's latest models is CD-333, a top-loading CD player with an AM/FM anologue tuning radio, track programmable memory, two-digit LED display and an optional five-key remote control.
Minimum orders of this micro hi-fi system and Wing Hing's other audio products are one TEU containing approximately 1,600 pieces, delivered 35-40 days after order confirmation to the US and Europe, particularly Germany, France and Spain. "We have several high profile OEM customers, including ELTA and AFK of Germany," Lam reveals. "At the moment we have the feeling that any products that incorporate MP3 technology are moving us in the right direction."
Innovision Group Ltd marketing manager Stanley Lui also has firm views about the future direction of this ever-evolving industry. "R&D is so important," he insists.
Lui notes that Innovision has an engineering and cosmetic design team of 10 people, that, like the market, advises the five-year-old firm that it must move towards more digital content. "This includes MP3 capabilities, digital radio and, increasingly, computerised controls," he explains.
The OEM manufacturer currently makes 10,000 portable radio cassette recorders and mini hi-fi systems a month, and has a minimum order requirement of one FEU that holds approximately 1,300 sets.
These are produced using MPEG cards from Taiwan and CD mechanisms from Japan at a 50,000-square-metre, 600-worker factory in the mainland's Guangdong Province that has ISO 9001 certification. "Our main markets are the Middle East, Central and South America and Africa," Lui advises. "Our delivery cycle is 45 days."
Lui's opinions are echoed by Yusan Industries Ltd account manager Kennis Chan, who says R&D is "so important" in the electronics industry. "We place great emphasis on R&D and maintain an 80-strong R&D department on the mainland, where we have mechanical and electrical engineers as well as technicians," Chan explains. "Cosmetic design is something we outsource to freelance designers."
Yusan's monthly production of 40,000-45,000 stereo micro systems, boom boxes, MP3 players and clock radios requires a modest minimum of one TEU delivered 45-60 days after order confirmation.
These are produced at the 17-year-old company's 48,000-square-metre, 3,500-worker factory in Shenzhen for sale in Europe and the US. "We have many illustrious OEM clients including Thomson, RCA, Sanyo and LG, and also produce our own Yusan brand," Chan reveals.
She says Yusan currently focuses on stereo micro systems, but notes that USB hosting is becoming important. "We aim to provide a port that can deal with MMC or SD cards," Chan advises. "MP3 players are also becoming increasingly more important."
Which proves conclusively that research and innovation is playing an extremely profitable melody for Hong Kong electronics manufacturers and those discriminating buyers who are tuned into big profits in micro hi-fi systems.
WRITTEN BY JOHN NEWSON
Innovision Group Ltd
Marco Technology Ltd
Wing Hing Electronics Industrial Ltd