1 July 2003
Novelty Calculators(HKTDC Electronics, Vol 04,2003)
Vol 4, 2003
Air Purifiers & Ionisers
|Best Time Mfg Ltd's calculator range includes a heart-shaped box and a five-inch organiser with rotary calculator|
Electronic calculators are still firm consumer favourites despite having been around since the earliest days of the modern era's love affair with all things hi-tech.
These essentials of modern life have not only become smaller and lighter over the years, they have also become even more enticing as Hong Kong manufacturers constantly whet consumer appetites by developing amusing new designs and functions.
Take Sinotec Int'l Co Ltd's pill tray calculator, which offers digits in the shape of pills and was designed as a premium for a pharmaceutical company. "We can change the colour of the pills to anything the customer wants," claims company director Terence Tong.
Sinotec specialises in premiums and its products, such as its eight-digit, flip-top calculator, have plenty of space for company logos. "For example, the transparent plastic top can be used for the logo," explains Tong.
The flip-top is one of the most popular items that the three-year-old manufacturer of calculators, radios, LCD clocks and voice recorders produces. "People like it because it's not static - it requires an active motion," Tong adds.
Colourful calculators are more in demand at Sinotec these days than the classic silver-and-black hi-tech look. Eight hundred workers at the company's two factories in Dongguan on the Chinese mainland manufacture 600,000-1,000,000 calculators per month, about 5% of which carry the firm's Sinpoli brand name.
All Sinotec's models run on button cell batteries. Priced from US$0.40-1.00 per piece FOB Hong Kong, they are exported to the US and Europe.
No minimum order is required and the average delivery time after order confirmation is 3-4 weeks. "We can do the job fast and at competitive prices," Tong insists.
By contrast, basic silver-and-black calculators with standard functions are the workhorses at May Corp Ltd. "But we can make calculators to any specification and in any colour," notes marketing manager Tanny Yu.
Available in eight-, 10- or 12-digit models, the calculators are priced from US$0.50-1.00 per piece FOB Hong Kong. The dual power units run on either solar power or a button cell battery.
The OEM firm, in business since 1971, maintains an inventory of 300 models and turns out 500,000 units per month from its 500-worker mainland factory in Huizhou. May's main export markets are Europe and the US. Prospective customers can expect a minimum order requirement of 5,000 pieces, with goods shipped 30 days after order confirmation.
Keman Industrial Co Ltd, meanwhile, favours more elaborate items such as a two-in-one mousepad-cum-calculator that is the company's latest design brainchild.
Depending on which of five models is chosen, features include world time display, floppy disk and name cardholder, Euro converter, alarm, countdown timer and auto power.
"The mousepads are popular because they're useful and they have a lot of space for a logo," explains sales and marketing manager Maggie Man. All offer a choice of battery or solar-powered operation and two feature wrist rest pads. Any colour can be provided.
Another dual-purpose Keman model is the file box with clip calculator, which can hold A4-size documents. Others include key ring calculators and pocket, mini and desktop units.
The 500,000-700,000 calculators the two-year-old company produces monthly are shipped primarily to the US, Europe and Japan, with prices ranging from US$0.50-3.00 per piece FOB Hong Kong. Minimum order is 3,000 pieces, with deliveries one month after receipt of a deposit.
Man notes colours are shifting away from candy-coloured hues to transparent metallic styles. "People either want good designs with simple functions or something colourful and multifunctional," she explains.
A similar philosophy drives Ever Success (HK) Industrial Ltd, which transforms cuddly creatures such as a friendly cow, bright green frog, butterfly and an elephant into whimsical children's calculators. Made of EVA foam, the eight-digit solar-powered desktop calculators perform all the standard functions.
"The calculators are lightweight and non-toxic," says Frank Chan, managing director of the seven-year-old OEM company, which turns out about 500,000 calculators per month from its 30,000-square-foot factory in Huizhou. The firm boasts European EN71 safety and environmental certification and has earned similar ASTM certification for the US.
Calculators, both novelty and standard models, account for about 20% of production at Ever Success, which also produces EVA toys, stationery and Christmas items. Prices range from US$0.80-1.00 per piece FOB Hong Kong. Major markets stretch from the US and Europe to Japan and Australia. "Expansion into South America may also be on the cards," Chan reveals.
Minimum order requirement is 5,000 pieces, with delivery 20 days after order confirmation. "But for a trial order, we will accept as little as 1,000 pieces," he adds. The firm normally expects companies to supply the designs.
So whichever company or product you choose, you can certainly count on Hong Kong manufacturers to provide novelty calculators that add up to big profits.
WRITTEN BY ANDREA PAWYLYNA
Ever Success (HK) Industrial Ltd
Rm 15, 11/F, Blk B
Hong Kong Ind Centre
489 Castle Peak Rd
|Hong Kong Buyers Request Form||Overseas Buyers Request Form||More Publications|