1 July 2002
Radio Revival(HKTDC Electronics, Vol 04,2002)
Vol 4, 2002
Power Behind The Scenes
Specialthing Int'l Co Ltd
|For Specialthing Int'l Co Ltd, sales arise from offering versatility, quality, convenience - and radios in many shapes and forms.|
WHO would have thought the humble radio would remain so popular in today's rapidly changing world of ultra-sophisticated audiovisual equipment?
Specialthing Int'l Co Ltd marketing manager Ida Sung says the secret to creating successful radios involves versatility, quality, convenience and style - plus competitive prices many rivals cannot match.
Since beginning in 1986, Specialthing has focused on radios. Its 700-worker factory in Huizhou on the Chinese mainland can produce up to 300,000 units per month. The company creates everything from novelty radios to stand-alone and multiband models.
Sung attributes the company's success to a pro-customer philosophy that has attracted a 3,500-strong client base and 50 "long-term" buyers.
"Customers are our most important asset and, by keeping up-to-date with technology, we can provide them with inexpensive, quality items," she says.
"However, customers are becoming more demanding. They reduce warehouse inventories and so want products quickly to meet demand."
Shipment time is after 30 days for 3,000-piece minimum orders. Yet Specialthing recently handled a rush order for 5,000 pieces within 25 days.
The company's top items are its modern headphone radios. These account for 60% of its sales and are especially popular in its main market, the US.
"We are radio specialists and were among the first in Hong Kong to apply radio frequency (RF) technology to radio headphones, replacing infrared," Sung says. RF, which penetrates through walls, makes an attractive option, notably in Spain and Greece where sales are surging.
Novelty radios are always popular, widening their appeal by doubling as toys, torches, key-rings and necklaces. "Our colourful fish-shaped shower radios account for 15% of our business and are very popular in UK bathrooms."
Bright EVA-foam radios in delightful animal and zodiac designs are another hit. Specialthing adapts the design into fascinating foam puzzles so children can build their own radios.
Novelty and fashion radios, including fun items like miniature ball radios with zany faces doubling as key-rings or necklaces, cost only US$1-3.50 FOB Hong Kong.
Sung says colour is always important in design. "Wearable-radio fashion follows the trends set by mobile phones, with interchangeable colour casings and pearlized shades." The cyber-look is also "in" and bright novelty items hold appeal.
To keep abreast of market expectations, the company introduces 12-20 new items yearly. It produces many of its own designs, including the brands Music Noble (a necklace/key-ring radio) and SPG (a professional audio range). OEM accounts for 45% of business.
Specialthing sources raw materials from throughout Asia, including general parts from the Chinese mainland, plastic casings from Taiwan and South Korea and ICs generally from Japan (although company engineers innovatively design product circuits to accommodate ICs from other countries to ensure year-round availability).
WRITTEN BY SANDRA JENNER
Specialthing Int'l Co Ltd
7/F, Unit 7, Block A,
Veristrong Ind Centre,
34-36 Au Pui Wan St, Fotan,
New Territories, Hong Kong
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