14 Jan 2004
Speakers & Microphones(HKTDC Electronic Components & Parts, Vol 01,2004)
Vol 1, 2004
Speakers & Microphones
Loud And Clear
Hi-fi speakers and car speakers (in red) are among the main products produced by Hong Da Industrial (HK) Ltd
A continuous stream of new applications, from the miniaturised headsets of mobile technology to the surround sound of home theatres, ensures a lively and highly competitive market for a bewildering array of speakers and microphones. Hong Kong manufacturers, as ever, are at the forefront of meeting the challenges presented by this new technology.
In-car audio is the speciality of Shi Ja Zhong Electronic Acoustic Fty Ltd, a division of the Zhong Group, which produces 100,000 pairs of speakers a month at its factory in Dongguan on the Chinese mainland.
"Business is good and increasing every year," says director Wilson Lee. "We mostly supply products for our clients to sell under their own name, but we do have our own Sound Xtreme brand, which small buyers prefer."
With speaker sizes and features remaining fairly standard in the car market, appearance becomes an important factor. "Every year we bring out new models with a new look and they are also getting more powerful," explains Lee.
Shi Ja Zhong's in-house design and plastic injection capabilities ensure that the firm's futuristic speaker designs look at home in the most sophisticated sports car.
The 14-year-old firm delivers minimum orders of 2,000 pairs 25-30 days after order confirmation to markets worldwide, including Europe and the Middle East.
Also concentrating on the more powerful end of the speaker spectrum, United China Electronics (HK) Co Ltd manufactures car, home audio and theatre, and public address systems at its 23,976-square-metre mainland factory in Zhejiang Province.
"We mainly deal with country importers and distributors in our largest markets in the US and Germany, although the rest of Europe and South America are growing areas for us," says president Jamin Tan.
As well as producing speakers under its own ProAudio and UEC brand names, United China Electronics is aiming to supply speaker parts to the world's major electronics companies.
"What makes us different is that we actually manufacture our speakers, unlike other companies who just assemble the parts," claims Tan. "We have a full design team, an injection moulding department and our own tooling team."
Design plays an important role, not just technically but also aesthetically. "We put a lot of effort into being more stylish and trendy," Tan explains. "Customers want a heavy, cyber look at the moment so we are using much more chrome electroplating and metallic colours, but we can also create patterns and bright colours on the speaker cones."
The ISO 9001-certified company supplies minimum orders of one TEU delivered 45-60 days after order confirmation to such markets as the US, Europe, Mexico and Thailand.
Rather than focus on one niche, Al Goodwell Industries Ltd produces a full range of products from tiny condenser microphones and receivers for the latest mobile phones to floor standing hi-fi loudspeakers for home entertainment systems.
"We manufacture everything to do with sound for electronic equipment and appliances," says managing director Landy Lau. "Ninety-five per cent of our products are components used in phones, TVs, audio, cars, toys, alarms and computers."
Having met many clients at recent trade exhibitions, Lau expects the digital trend to really take off "soon", although she thinks many people in the business are still finding their digital feet.
At present the 18-year-old, ISO 9001-certified company is concentrating on developing ever more compact speakers to meet demand from notebook computer makers.
Despite huge competition from the mainland, Al Goodwell's business is doing "very well" with minimum orders and prices dependent on the product required.
"We still survive because we offer professional, international standard service and for nearly any product we can provide the whole solution, not just one component," claims Lau.
Lau adds that Al Goodwell maintains long-term partnerships with its clients and is happy to help develop new projects, offer related technical support and design and modify existing products. "All these activities echo our clients' needs in terms of products and development and ensure that we enjoy a long and mutual relationship," she says.
IEA Electro Acoustic Co Ltd has big plans for its small products as the seven-year-old company aims to dominate the micro-end of the electro-acoustic components market.
Its 20,000-square-metre factory near Qingdao on the mainland already turns out 10 million units a month, making IEA one of the mainland's largest electret condenser microphone manufacturers.
Minimum orders of 10,000 units are currently supplied 2-3 weeks after order confirmation to the US, Japan, the mainland, Taiwan and Europe, but IEA has huge ambitions.
"We want to be number one on the Chinese mainland," says product manager Clarence Tsui. "Our goal is to keep our technology and quality as close as possible to the market leaders in Japan and Korea. We can then use our competitive advantage to offer a good alternative product at a much better price."
With electret condenser microphones, Mylar speakers and mini-receivers as its main products, the ISO 9001 and ISO 1400-certified firm is clearly targeting the telecommunications industry.
"The mainland mobile phone market is our fastest growing segment, although the headset market is still the biggest for us," notes Tsui. "We are also producing very high quality professional microphones for new applications like Active Noise Cancellation systems used to reduce engine noise in cars."
So from micro to macro the message is coming in loud and clear: Hong Kong manufacturers provide the speaker and microphone technology, quality and value that customers around the world demand.
WRITTEN BY ALISTAIR WADDELL
IEA Electro Acoustic Co Ltd
Units C & D, 11/F, Blk 1
62 Hoi Yuen Rd
Kwun Tong, Kowloon
Union Team Ltd
Rm 2207, Fook Yip Bldg
53-57 Kwai Fung Crescent
Kwai Chung, New Territories
United China Electronics (HK) Co Ltd
3/F, Sha Tin Ind Bldg
22-28 Wo Shui St
Fo Tan, New Territories