7 June 2007
Sound Vision(HKTDC Electronics, Vol 02,2007)
|Silicon (HK) Ltd's MP3 and MP4 players come in a variety of designs and memory capacities|
Demand for digital audio and video is reaching deafening levels in all major international markets among consumers of all ages, according to experienced electronics industry observers.
Buyers and suppliers at April's Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Spring Edition) agreed that consumers apparently can't get enough of handy MP3 and MP4 players that can hold thousands of songs and videos.
Many of these modern marvels are manufactured by Hong Kong electronics companies steeped in the arcane art of providing exactly what the end-user wants at an affordable price.
Relative newcomers such as 1997-established Silicon (HK) Ltd have been quick to build a portfolio of popular products such as the 256MB capacity A4600FM MP3 player that even sports a built-in FM tuner.
"We produce a wide range of MP3, MP4, USB flash disks and USB products, explains sales executive Fannie Au, "including the M378FM MP4 video player with pre-set equalizer settings and multi-language support that weighs only 61 grams."
The company's factory in Shenzhen on the Chinese mainland employs around 100 workers, who deliver negotiable minimum orders around 15 days after order confirmation to clients in Europe, the US and Australia.
The A4600FM is particularly popular, Au explains, partly because of its competitive price. "We can supply this MP3 player for US$11.70 each FOB Hong Kong, and charge US$1.30 more if the buyer wants to include a tuner."
Another recent industry entrant is Advanced Sun Wah Electronic Co Ltd, which has been in operation since 2000 and has built a large portfolio of MP3 players, USB flash disks and computer mice.
The model 809 MP3 player that meets CE, FCC, EMC and RoHS standards and uses American SigmaTel technology for optimum sound reproduction is typical of the company's products, according to marketing executive Anki Yuen. "We have invested more than US$100,000 in a desktop X-ray fluorescence (XRF) machine and lab in order to meet RoHS standards," Yuen explains.
Advanced Sun Wah's 200-worker factory in Shenzhen exports 100-unit minimum order quantities to Europe seven days after order confirmation. "Prices obviously depend on quantity, but the 809 MP3 player, for example, is available from US$10.68 FOB Hong Kong," Yuen adds.
Also exporting to Europe is Bless Mark Int'l Co Ltd, which supplies buyers in South America and Asian countries such as Japan with MP3 and MP4 players and USB drives.
The nine-year-old company's latest MP3 players include the pocketable BM103, 104 and 105 models, as well as the BM201 MP3 player with built-in SD card that also boasts FM tuner, FM recording and DRM options.
Bless Mark's 2,000-square-metre, 300-worker factory in Shenzhen manufactures 40,000 items a month, which are available in 1,000-unit minimum order quantities for delivery two weeks after order confirmation. "We can meet CE and RoHS standards," claims director Derrick Ng, adding that Bless Mark also has its own BM brand.
Focusing on slightly different markets is 14-year-old Canus Industrial Co, which exports 30,000 MP3 and MP4 players, DVD players and digital photo frames a month to Canada, the Middle East and Asia.
Canus uses Samsung memory chips in the products it manufactures at its 2,000-square-metre, 100-worker factory in Shenzhen, many of which bear the company's own Canus brand as well as customers' own labels and designs. "Flash memory prices can fluctuate daily," says manager Marco Choi, explaining why the company prefers to quote for the casing and the memory separately.
He adds that the M-3018 player costs around US$15 each FOB Hong Kong for 500-1,000-piece minimum order quantities delivered 15 days after order confirmation.
"Both MP3 and MP4 units are witnessing continual size reductions, although the built-in batteries can now support a full day's playback," Choi adds.
Eleven-year-old Eston Technology Ltd also uses Korean flash memory chips in its range of digital voice recorders such as the ET880, which also provides MP3 and includes a USB interface.
"This unit is able to record up to 16 hours in long-play mode," says manager Rita Cheung, adding that it also features a bright blue EL backlight for easy reading.
Together with other products that bear the company's own ENT brand, the ET880 is manufactured at Eston's 100-worker factory in Shenzhen and is available in 1,000-unit minimum order quantities delivered 15 days after order confirmation.
Another company that has realised the potential of its own brand is Palito (HK) Electronics Ltd, which has sold more than 10 million MP3, MP4 and radios bearing its own Palito brand since its inception in 1998.
The own-design MP-809 MP3 player and recorder that comes with a 1.5-inch colour STN display and built-in FM function is typical of the capability of the company, which recently achieved ISO 9001 certification.
Palito's 5,000-square-metre, 500-worker factory in Shenzhen forwards 500-unit minimum orders 15 days after order confirmation to Germany, the UK and the US, says marketing manager David Yeung.
"The MP-809 is available for around US$13.50 FOB Hong Kong excluding flash memory as we are very conscious of price volatility," Yeung reveals, adding that he forecasts continual downward price pressure on such units as well as an ever-increasing market for MP3 players.
This is good news for buyers keen to see the soaring sales that are almost inevitable after investing in the enormous range of MPEG players from Hong Kong.
TEXT BY DAVID MOORE
Bless Mark Int'l Co Ltd
Nan Fung Commercial Centre
19 Lam Lok St
Kowloon Bay, Kowloon
Canus Industrial Co
42 Hung To Rd
Kwun Tong, Kowloon