7 June 2007
Tip-Top TFT(HKTDC Electronics, Vol 02,2007)
|This innovative digital photo frame is the latest product from LCD TV manufacturer Megatop Electronics (China) Ltd|
New products come and go so rapidly that manufacturers must be able to produce the latest devices as soon as the market becomes aware of the latest technology, he insists, adding that Megatop has an impressive record for staying ahead of trends.
"We started out in audio, but got out of that five years ago and moved into the TV business, specialising in TFT or thin frame type units with LCD screen panels," explains Kwok.
Megatop offers an extensive range of LCD TVs from small models intended for watching programmes on the move - including seven- and five-inch colour TFT LCD TVs with built-in DVD players - to larger models for home use with 15-, 17- and 19-inch screens.
TFT flat panel LCD or plasma TV screens have now entirely superseded "traditional" TV sets using cathode ray tube or CRT technology, but the cost of the LCD panels remains very high.
Megatop sources LCD panels in Japan, Korea and Taiwan, and some other components in China, which is expected to emerge as a major supplier of quality LCD panels in the next few years.
Customers can choose which LCD panels they want for the TVs, though Kwok claims the highest quality models offering the most lines and therefore best resolution are made in Japan.
"The TV screens range from 21/2-19 inches," he says, adding that the FOB unit price for the former is US$45 while the 19-inch model is both a monitor and a TV and costs US$200.
"The price is subject to the cost of the panel, which accounts for two-thirds of the unit cost, and those prices in turn are subject to a lot of fluctuation," Kwok warns.
Once the cost of panels stabilises, he believes, the prices for TFT TVs will fall. "But consumers want them now and appear willing to pay the price for a better picture," Kwok concedes.
The major source of these consumers is North America and Western Europe, although business is growing rapidly in Russia and Eastern Europe.
Megatop, which was established in 1992, meets consumer expectations thanks to its ISO 9001 certification and full compliance with CE, UL, FCC, FDA, CE and RoHS requirements.
"We are a joint venture company between the mainland and Hong Kong, and have our own factories in Longgang and Shenzhen with about 12 production lines operational at present," reveals Kwok. "We employ almost 2,000 workers and undertake mostly OEM work, especially major US brands."
He says responsiveness to client needs has been another factor in Megatop's sustained success, citing a 2005 demand from a major US client that led the company to diversify into the gifts and premiums business.
As a result, Megatop established a new operating division, Matsuzawa Int'l Co Ltd, which makes such diverse products as headphone radios, magnetic blinking lights, flashing glasses, LED torches and mobile phone sensors.
However, Megatop's core business continues to be based on flat panel display technology, and its latest product is a digital photo frame that displays digital camera images.
The innovative devices first became available in 2006, and true to form Megatop was one of the first manufacturers to offer them. "We made our first model in August 2006," Kwok confides.
He explains that the product development was driven by the realisation that a lot of consumers have digital cameras and older people in particular find it complicated to use a computer to view and store images.
"Digital photo frames are far more convenient," Kwok insists, adding that the user simply inserts a memory card containing the digital images into the device, which also features a USB port. "It can play movies as well - it's a very flexible unit which is simpler than a TV but more versatile since it acts as a card reader."
Megatop currently manufactures only seven-inch digital photo frames, which, although they have already been produced in varied designs have been built around the same basic panel.
"We can do any design that a client requires, but the functions and features are exactly the same and only the frame changes," he observes, noting that most output consists of customer designs with a minimum order of 1,000 units. "Delivery is within 45 days and the unit cost of the frames is US$55 FOB Hong Kong."
TEXT BY ROBERT PIERCE
Megatop Electronics (China) Ltd