14 Jan 2004
Researching Success(HKTDC Electronic Components & Parts, Vol 01,2004)
Vol 1, 2004
Liberal Industrial Ltd
|Liberal Industrial Ltd's main products include dielectric filters, resonators and multilayer band pass filters, as well as these GPS antennas|
A constant focus on R&D ensures Liberal Industrial Ltd meets customers' ever-changing needs, claims sales and marketing manager Beatrice Liu.
Founded in 1989, the company formed a joint venture with Zhengyuan Electric Co Ltd to establish a production facility in Zhejiang Province on the Chinese mainland that employs more than 100 engineers and technicians.
Some 30 members of this team are experts in disciplines ranging from microwave communication and electronic materials to RF, network and Low Temperature Cofired Ceramic (LTCC) technology.
Liu explains Liberal invested heavily in building and maintaining an elite group of R&D professionals because it is regarded as the heart of the electronic component maker.
"We are always trying to recruit new graduates from the mainland to strengthen our R&D team as they are highly qualified in terms of academic qualifications," she reveals. "We also send some of our staff overseas for special training."
The R&D team's efforts have helped Liberal develop a wide range of low-frequency electronic components such as duplexers for use in cordless phones.
Liberal's duplexer, which helps minimise noise, is recognised internationally as a leading product developed to meet the highest industry standards.
Originally manufactured to meet frequency requirements in the US and mainland markets, the award-winning duplexer is now used by companies such as GE Thomson, AT&T and Bell South, and in other areas including Europe and Australia.
"Our duplexers have also won the highest level of recommendation from various government authorities in Zhejiang Province," Liu notes, adding "our assembly lines also produce other products such as ceramic filters and resonators."
In the past 2-3 years Liberal has concentrated on the design and development of high-frequency components for telecoms products on both an OEM and ODM basis.
Liberal's main products are dielectric filters and resonators as well as multilayer band pass filters for various telecoms products, which are becoming smaller in size and higher in frequency.
"We can make these products for use in 800 MHz/900 MHz to 2.4GHz/5.8 GHz frequencies," Liu claims. "Since we are considered an advanced supplier of such products on the mainland, our only competitors are in Japan and Korea."
Liu maintains Liberal's products are comparable in quality to those made by companies in Japan and Korea. "Ours are more competitively priced than those offered by Japanese and Korean suppliers," she adds.
Some 70% of Liberal's total production goes to the mainland market, with Taiwan and other Southeast Asian countries absorbing 20%, while the remaining 10% is exported to the American, Canadian and European markets.
Liu predicts that the mainland will remain the company's biggest market with the largest growth potential due to anticipated demand from local companies with the opening of the mainland telecoms market.
In addition, more and more foreign electronic product manufacturers such as Panasonic and Bell South are sourcing value-for-money components on the mainland.
"Our company will take this opportunity to do more business with overseas companies," says Liu, adding that Liberal's mainland production site has recently been expanded to cope with future demand.
The new 32,375-square-metre production plant on an 81,000-square-metre site in Zhejiang Province can produce more than 100 million high-frequency components and modules annually.
In addition, Liberal enjoys ISO 9001 certification and has continued its R&D development by jointly establishing the Microwave Material and Device R&D Centre with Zhejiang University.
Liberal also has another 900-square-metre, 100-worker factory in Huizhou, Guangdong Province, which produces antennas for telecoms products.
The company launched a successful series of telecom antennas and modules in 2001 and is developing several new products, including PCB/active GPS antenna modules, to be released in 2004.
According to Liu, Liberal's ability to understand market needs and develop the right products to meet customers' requirements is one of the company's main keys to success.
"We did encounter price pressure from Korean makers in the past and tried to lower our profit margin by reducing our prices according to clients' requirements," Liu says. "We also developed market-first products with the latest technology to ensure that we remained competitive."
WRITTEN BY MARGARET CHAN