7 June 2007
Shaping Up(HKTDC Electronics, Vol 02,2007)
|C & L Elegance Mfy Ltd's programmable pill timers include the Medi-Chest with cutter and grinder|
More and more people worldwide are beginning to realise the benefits of taking care of their health, but better diets and more exercise are clearly not cutting it for many.
Latest research indicates that US healthcare spending, for example, is projected to increase from US$2.17tn in 2006 to US$2.88tn in 2010, fuelling similar growth in healthcare items.
Inevitably, in today's modern age, these health and well-being products are boosting business at electronics companies farsighted enough to spot this growing trend.
Several of Hong Kong's established manufacturers, for instance, have added healthcare electronics to their product list, while newly-formed companies are coming into the market specifically to address this niche.
Twenty-three-year-old C & L Elegance Mfy Ltd has recently added healthcare electronics to its wide range of products, which includes clocks, watches, timers, stationery and gift and premium items. "We launched three pill-timer products earlier this year," explains export manager Eddy Cheung.
He says C & L's decision was motivated by the fact that most of the existing timers on the market were too complicated. "However, our Medi-Chest, Medi-Daily and Medi-Pal products are very easy to use - this is very important for elderly people in particular," Cheung claims. "These products are attracting interest from customers around the world, including the US, Europe, India and Southeast Asia."
The Medi-Pal features a 24-hour timer, a programmable medication timer and accommodates all types of capsules and tablets. It has a sliding cover to protect the buttons, comes with a handy neck string and clip and is unit-priced at US$1.10 FOB Hong Kong.
The Medi-Daily reminds users up to 24 times a day, repeats automatically and is unit-priced at US$2.20. The larger Medi-Chest includes pill cutter and grinder functions, provides up to five separate doses per day for seven days and costs US$6.50 each.
"We have a fully vertically-integrated factory on the Chinese mainland," says Cheung. "Everything - including printing - is under our control."
The 40,000-square-foot factory is staffed by 250-300 workers who utilise ABS and electronic components from Japan, Korea, Taiwan and the mainland. "We request a minimum order of 5,000 pieces per style delivered 30 days after order confirmation," Cheung says. "We have our own brand name - Glason - but we can also do customers' labels, too."
Relative newcomer Grandway Technology Ltd has been manufacturing and marketing consumer electronics since 1991, and last year added healthcare items to its range. "Studies show that there is a growing market for these products as people become more health-conscious," observes marketing manager Simon Ng.
Grandway tested the market with diet scales and is now launching its Body Composition Analyser, which incorporates a number of functions including body-to-fat ratio, muscle ratio, water ratio, and body mass index.
The Body Composition Analyser is manufactured at Grandway's 9,000-square-metre, 300-worker, ISO 9001-certified factory on the mainland, using ICs sourced from Taiwan, LCDs from Hong Kong and other components from Japan.
Grandway, which has its own Framingham brand but also produces customers' private labels, requires minimum order quantities of 3,000 units delivered 45-65 days after order confirmation.
"We are particularly looking to Western European markets where there is a lot of interest in this type of product," Ng reveals, adding that the Body Composition Analyser is unit-priced at US$5.25 FOB Hong Kong. "We'd also like to launch it in the US."
One of the newest companies to enter the healthcare electronics field is four-year-old Aiko Beauty Products Ltd, which general manager David Ng says strives to develop products that are practical and useful.
"We work with universities to develop their patented technologies into products that are commercially viable," he explains, adding that the technology behind the patented NCCO-1000 air-purifier originated from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
"The purifier adapts the Nano-Confined Catalytic Oxidation (NCCO) process to provide the purest air possible," explains Ng. "The nano filter acts as a catalyst to speed up the decomposition of pollutants and airborne bacteria, eliminates harmful organic compounds and reduces respiration-suspended particles to avoid the spread of fungi and bacteria."
Ng claims many ion air-purifiers remove odours but the particles simply evaporate, decompose and become attracted to surfaces such as walls, floors and furniture. "However, the NCCO filter traps the ions, and uses an oxidation process to decompose them internally."
The purifier is produced at Aiko's ISO 9001-certified factory on the Chinese mainland, which covers 260,000 square feet and employs 1,450 workers.
FOB prices are available on request, but Ng says Aiko delivers minimum order quantities of 3,000 pieces 45-70 days after order confirmation.
The NCCO air-purifier was launched onto the market in late 2006 and is already proving popular in Europe, as well as the Chinese mainland. "We are now working with the US market and also aim to find customers in Eastern Europe and Russia," Ng adds.
There's certainly a healthy future in store for those buyers who want to take advantage of the growing market for healthcare electronics from Hong Kong.
TEXT BY ANN WILLIAMS