26 June 2008
Switching Track(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 07,2008)
Gifts & Premiums
The gifts and premiums sector covers a wide range of products designed to please or promote - frequently with inexpensive goods - but Earth Trek (HK) Ltd prefers to focus on the upmarket segment.
Earth Trek is a spin-off from a Chinese mainland manufacturer of PCBs. "With solid production and OEM experience behind us, we decided to further establish our credentials as a design house," states General Manager Jason Yuen.
"Our core competences are product design and engineering and the manufacturing of consumer electronics products," he adds. "We have established ourselves in Asia-Pacific, while Japan features as a strong export destination for us." With an emphasis on premiums and promotional items, often featuring computer-related accessories, an early success for Earth Trek came in the shape of a tape dispenser with a USB hub that drew a lot of attention from Internet media and related print magazines.
The firm's range also includes telecoms devices and walkie-talkies, computer peripherals, remote controls, digital audio products and digital photo frames.
"Our core strength is design with innovation skill coupled to excellent quality, and we always try to ensure international and multifunctional appeal within the bounds of practicality.
"Furthermore, we impose a zero-defect policy during production," says Mr Yuen.
"For example, a project completed last year involved making computer peripherals for a US toy maker that wanted to add computer-related items to its catalogue. That project went very well," he adds.
The firm provides a one-stop station for gifts and premiums and offers both OEM and ODM services. "Our engineering capabilities are very important to us - as is winning the total confidence of the customer," Mr Yuen insists.
He also notes that, to protect its investments Earth Trek either registers its designs or applies for product patents. Another indication of the firm's innovative approach is seen in its choice of finishing materials which turn computer peripherals into fashionable accessories.
"We use PU a lot and find that many customers prefer a snake skin, lizard skin or crocodile skin pattern," says Mr Yuen. "Perhaps it's because many of our items are aimed at travellers." Chrome also features, while real leather is used as and when requested.
This year, Earth Trek is also placing greater emphasis on its own EARTH TREK brand. "To differentiate ourselves, and to demonstrate our flexibility, we also do special, fashionable designs for ladies, while some items are available individually and others as gift sets," Mr Yuen says.
"We are also targeting buyers in the retail sector, and our design concepts have been recognised by big brands in Germany, France and Greece. Our products can now be found in chain stores, airport outlets and duty-free shops."
A hot item at present is a silicone stand for mobile phones that triples as a card reader and USB hub and comes complete with a USB cable. The complementary universal adaptor fits most of the mobile phones being purchased worldwide.
"For the Japan market, where people use mobile phones to watch movies, we have set the viewing angle of the stand at 46 degrees for viewing comfort," Mr Yuen adds. "This new product was released and introduced to the market in April this year."
Most of the firm's range is destined for the upper end of the market. "Our marketing strategy is to position ourselves at a higher level. Our design, quality and product features offer customers a unique experience - a surprising, first-ever and user-friendly approach that realises our mission statement - Creation beyond expectation - and reveals how our product value far exceeds the customer's outlay," Mr Yuen insists."Catering to the higher end is not easy as most buyers are looking for cheap prices," he says. "Initial sales went very well, and our distributors found good markets for our range at the prices we require."
This success practically ensures that gifts and premiums will remain the major focus for Earth Trek. At the same time, R&D is leading the firm into areas such as its new World Mini-projector. "This is a hand-held device that uses a memory card and projects onto a 24-inch screen," says Mr Yuen.
"We want our products to generate more income for our partners, which is why we are introducing computer peripherals and IT devices that are suitable for commercial use yet keep portability in mind."
He adds that 16:9 widescreen MP4 players and multimedia devices will also appear this year under the EARTH TREK brand.
"Apart from our office in Hong Kong, we operate a factory in Shenzhen and a design studio in Dongguan, both on the Chinese mainland," Mr Yuen says. "We also have a sales office in Japan."
Earth Trek certainly appears to be on the right path to success.
TEXT BY TONY HENDERSON