17 June 2004
Weather Stations(HKTDC Watch & Clock, Vol 03,2004)
Forecasting The Climate
|This quartz wall clock that also displays humidity and temperature readings comes from M.G.B. Marketing Ltd|
Europe Supplies Ltd, for example, first produced weather stations in 1997 and the product is now its "core business," reveals marketing manager Icy Wong.
The 14-year-old firm makes full use of LCD, microprocessor and wireless technology to supply customers with comprehensive indoor display panels linked to sensors suitable for use indoors or outdoors. "Our models are not reporting the weather now, but predicting it for the next 24 hours," says Wong.
Although all casings are made from ABS, Europe Supplies has found that design preferences vary significantly from country to country and its team of in-house designers works hard to cater to clients' differing demands.
The company produces weather stations under its own La Crosse Technology brand name and on an OEM basis, with delivery 90 days after order confirmation. Prices vary according to order size and model type.
Europe Supplies is ISO 9002-certified. "Quality and customer retention are key issues for us - we just try to be flexible enough to meet customers' needs and wants," adds Wong.
Carrin Electronics Co Ltd also recognises the importance of customer feedback, identifying the demand for more information on display panels as one key trend. "Extra functions mean better value for our customers," insists sales and marketing manager Edmond Kam.
The company's main markets are Germany (where square-shaped designs are most popular), the US (where consumers prefer bigger models) and Japan. Weather stations are produced under the Carrin brand name and on an OEM basis.
Casings are mainly plastic, which makes products durable, says Kam. Materials are sourced from Japan, Korea, Taiwan and the mainland, where Carrin's factory and 1,000 workers are based.
Carrin is ISO 9000-certified and requires minimum orders of 2,000 items, which are delivered 30-45 days after order confirmation. Unit prices range from US$12-22 FOB Hong Kong.
Some Carrin weather stations even include information on the phases of the moon, as do those produced by Ansen Electronics Co. "New features on our weather stations include details of moon and sun rising and setting times," explains product development manager Henry Siu.
"We also feature information on air quality and a UV index," he says, adding, "we can take advantage of the low cost of components to add more features."
Ansen is ISO 9001-certified and works on an OEM basis for well-known brands including Wal-Mart and Target in the US, Seiko in Japan and Tchibo in Europe.
Minimum order size is 1,000 weather stations per shipment at prices ranging from US$15-39 per unit FOB Hong Kong, with delivery about 50 days after order confirmation. "We aim to produce classic and long-lasting designs," notes Siu. "Casings are mainly metallic - silver and titanium - or wooden".
Ansen's design team works closely with its marketing department to incorporate customer feedback in its new products. "The latest trend to emerge is see-through designs with translucent casings," Siu adds.
Bai Industries Ltd managing director Thomas Bai, meanwhile, says his company's new design ideas come mainly from trends in interior design and furniture. "At the moment, the style is more contemporary," he believes. "We were going retro, but now we're looking forward again."
He admits he would like to expand into Asian markets, especially Japan and the Chinese mainland, but for the moment most sales are in Europe and the US, where the company's design studio is based.
The firm also has a mainland factory, with 1,600 workers who produce minimum orders of 1,000 weather stations that are delivered 30-45 days after order confirmation. Prices per unit range from US$6-15 FOB Hong Kong.
"People already have clocks and watches, but the added features on a weather station lead to sales for us, because this is a product that people want," says Bai.
For example, he says, two of the most important features on his company's weather stations are the rubber rings fitted to the dial to make it waterproof and therefore suitable for use indoors or outdoors.
Confirming again that, with the help of Hong Kong manufacturers, it seems likely that checking the weather station will become as commonplace as checking a watch.
WRITTEN BY SUZANNE MOORE
Carrin Electronics Co Ltd
Unit 1308, Tower A
63 Wo Yi Hop Rd
Kwai Chung, New Territories
M.G.B. Marketing Ltd
Tung Ying Bldg
100 Nathan Rd
|Hong Kong Buyers Request Form||Overseas Buyers Request Form||More Publications|