7 April 2005
Walkie-Talkies(HKTDC Electronics, Vol 02,2005)
Walkie-talkies have become essential items over the past few years for families, group trips and business activities where people have to stay in close or constant touch.
They are especially useful when used in remote places where mobile telephone network coverage is often not available, and equally effective when used in factories, offices, restaurants and events where organisers need to control crowd movement.
Given its long and successful electronics manufacturing tradition, it's not surprising that companies such as Golden Source Electronics Ltd are ushering in a new era by producing walkie-talkies that operate over long distances.
"Our new 2203 model can function up to a range of eight kilometres and also features a scrambler function to prevent unauthorised monitoring of conversations," claims marketing manager Angelina Leung. "They are in high demand in the US and growing in popularity in Europe, where the 0.5W output models can be used without a licence."
She advises that there is also a "growing number" of consumers who are looking for small, low-cost and simple-to-operate walkie-talkies. "We meet this demand with our 318 and 323 market entry sporty models," she adds.
The majority of Golden Source's models are designed in-house, although the company also appoints design houses to handle some projects. "Our current strategy is to work with well-known brand names by providing ODM/OEM services," Leung explains. "We stay in touch with changing trends by keeping in close contact with distributors who understand their local customer requirements and targeting European chains that are able to order large volumes."
The 27-year-old company, which also markets walkie-talkies under its Hoffer brand, operates a 221,000-square-foot, ISO 9000-certified factory in Dongguan on the Chinese mainland.
The factory produces minimum orders of 3,000 pieces per model at FOB Hong Kong prices ranging from US$10-30 per pair, which are delivered 30-45 days after order confirmation.
Equally committed to meeting consumer demands for easy-to-use walkie-talkies is eight-year-old Antek Technology Co. "Our in-house designed, slim AWT-005 walkie-talkie clips on to a belt leaving the hands free and also features an earplug for convenient, discreet operation," explains sales executive Polly Tse. "Our walkie-talkies also feature multiple channels that allow the user to talk one-to-one or one-to-many at the same time."
She says that Antek's walkie-talkies have an operating range of up to 100 metres, providing a cost-effective and simple way to communicate over short distances. "Our walkie-talkies can also function in the same way as a normal baby monitor," Tse adds.
The company produces about 100,000 units a month at a 3,000-square-metre, 200-worker factory in Dongguan, most of which are exported to the US. "We manufacture on both an OEM and ODM basis and are planning to expand into the European market to increase our sales," Tse says, adding that the company has its own Antek brand.
Antek's minimum order is 5,000 pieces, delivered 30 days following order confirmation. "FOB Hong Kong prices vary between US$2.50 and US$3.00 per piece," Tse discloses.
Extensive operating distance is also a priority for radio-frequency specialist R & T Industrial Co, which produces walkie-talkies that operate effectively up to one kilometre. "Consumers are increasingly expecting walkie-talkies to function less like gadgets and operate over longer distances," observes sales manager Patrick Pin. "It helps that our latest walkie-talkies come packed with useful features such as clear voice transmission and a sensitive microphone."
He says consumers want walkie-talkies that are both powerful and have an up-market finish, and R & T therefore sources ABS and components from Taiwan. "Each year we introduce several in-house designed models to keep pace with trends and demands," explains Pin, noting that the eight-year-old company operates mainly on an OEM basis as well as with trading companies that design their own products.
"We have also made a huge investment in SMD, plastic injection, tooling, spraying and silk-screen machinery in order to strengthen our vertical integration," says Pin.
This equipment is installed at a 10,000-square-metre factory in Dongguan that employs 500 workers, who produce minimum orders of 3,000 units for delivery 30 days after order confirmation. "Each month we produce about 50,000 pairs of walkie-talkies for sale in our primary markets - Germany, France, Spain and Portugal," Pin adds.
Given today's increasingly voice-connected environment, Hong Kong walkie-talkie manufacturers certainly have something to shout about when it comes to helping people stay in touch with high performance walkie-talkies.
WRITTEN BY CHRIS DAVIS
Antek Technology Co
Multilink Incorporation Ltd
R & T Industrial Co