4 June 2007
Expanding Horizons(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 06,2007)
Electronic Gifts & Premiums
Chows Industrial (China) Ltd is now focusing on hi-tech items for the retail market.
"Overall, we continue to manufacture and export a wide range of consumer products, gifts and premiums that are exported to more than 30 countries," says marketing executive Nicole Chan.
"Mostly, these are innovative USB-related products typified by our new-styled computer mouse, cute-looking USB flash memory units, slick calculators, smart radios and feature-full digital clocks."
Indeed, a glance at the shelves in the company's showroom reveals a plethora of electronic gadgetry. The ubiquitous and essential mouse is there, of course, available as a standalone item or complete with pad or in a set with other desktop accessories.
There are also slim desk lights, multifunction calculators, tiny loudspeakers, key rings with electronic attachments, memory sticks in all shapes and colours, mini ionisers, USB hubs and mini-card readers.
Among new items are a fragrant oil burner/USB hub, a USB hub complete with a coffee or tea warmer, and a mini-tower speaker set. Usually manufactured for brand-name buyers or OEM terms, most of these items go to Europe.
"Europe is our main market and focus today, although our products go worldwide and Australia and Asia figure strongly," says Chan. "Our key customers are prominent companies for whom we manufacture mainly USB-related items that can be sold in the gifts and premiums sector."
She reveals that a few of the more well-known clients include Web giant Yahoo.com and the UK's Tesco chain stores, Boots (The Chemists) and John Lewis stores. "In addition to gifts and premiums, our products are being seen increasingly in the retail market," she adds.
According to Chan, Chows benefits from talented design, R&D and marketing teams. She says that many of the firm's products have won awards in major competitions.
"Despite all this success with gifts and premiums, we are now focusing more on items for the retail sector," Chan says. "With the gifts and premiums market suffering from saturation, and thinner profits, we have established a special marketing unit to concentrate on selling hi-tech electronic goods for the retail market. We will eventually eliminate the low-end completely. We also plan to sell under our own NicheTech brand name."
Two of the latest products destined for the gifts and premiums sector are the USB Coffee Warmer (model 9861) and Gel Mouse (model 9854). The first offers a 4-hub USB connector (version 2.0) with an 84mm heat plate suitable for average cup sizes. There is an LED power indicator, and power comes either through the USB or via a supplied adaptor.
The 800DPI resolution optical Gel Mouse is ergonomically designed using gel for grip comfort. Any logo applied is well-promoted as its central location is lit with a coloured LED. Intended for USB and PS2 connections, it can be supplied in any colour desired.
Chan adds that a subsidiary firm, also named NicheTech, was established in March 2005. "The subsidiary's slogan is 'Where lifestyle meets technology', and it seeks to link hi-tech to a modern lifestyle. For example, one of the first products launched in 2007 was an iPod speaker set."
This latter item is available as a docking unit and comes with a subwoofer, remote control, video output port and radio. "We have all the licensing and necessary patents and we see this as being a big item for us this year," Chan says.
"We will continue to develop this and other new product lines to appeal to buyers outside of our traditional areas because we want to work with long-term clients," remarks Chan.
Chows manufactures at a 2,000-square-metre, 350-worker factory in Bao'an, just 30 minutes from Shenzhen Airport on the Chinese mainland. A full compliment of machinery includes injection moulding, SMT, assembly, reflow and bonding, plus spray, silk and pad printing, ultrasonic and so forth.
The firm's parent company is renowned in China, India and Hong Kong as a leading manufacturer and supplier of specialised electronics-industry related materials, components, and the essentials needed for SMT, PCB solders and pastes, resins and other items used in the semiconductor field.
Branching out for success, Chows Industrial (China) Ltd looks destined to continue its winning ways.
TEXT BY TONY HENDERSON
Chows Industrial (China) Ltd
9/F, Seapower Industrial Centre,
177 Hoi Bun Rd, Kwun Tong,
Kowloon, Hong Kong