1 Dec 2001
Prime Premiums(HKTDC Watch & Clock, Vol 04,2001)
Vol 4, 2001
|After nearly 30 years in the timepiece industry, Wing On Cheong Watch Industries Int'l Ltd offers models to satisfy most needs.|
INTENT on continuing to thrive, Wing On Cheong Watch Industries Int'l Ltd has made some production changes. Although previously creating its own movements with Swiss imported parts, the company has turned to Japan and Switzerland for ready-made quartz analog movements. In-house production has expanded to encompass LCD watches.
"We now develop a full range of watch products," says director Nelson Cheng.
Established in 1953, the Wing On Cheong Group also has projects in the real estate, finance and securities sectors in Hong Kong, Japan and Canada. It began developing timepieces 29 years ago.
Only since 1996 has the watch division really fixed its sights on the premiums sector. "With our strong company background, we have the ability to be competitive in that market and grab a substantial market share," says Cheng.
Wing On Cheong's greatest premiums triumph came in 1998 when the company developed a World Cup watch for McDonald's, resulting in an order for 17 million pieces. The magnitude becomes clear when considering that average monthly production at Wing On Cheong's 500-worker factory in Dongguan on the Chinese mainland is one million LCD watches and 300,000 QA watches.
Along with McDonald's, the watch-maker's premiums customers include KFC, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Carlsberg beer, Marlboro and various car producers.
While maintaining its niche in premiums (with about 45% of its models aimed at this sector), Wing On Cheong strives to adjust perceptions. "Many people misunderstand the premiums market. They believe it is a low-end market, but that is not true. It is a market demanding high quality," Cheng says.
Detailed knowledge of design development is vital for success in premiums. With this reality firmly in mind, Wing On Cheong has launched a new watch collection with cases to fit all types of movements, be they analog, digital, chronograph or three-hand. Two leading models (MS 001 and MR 001) sport brass cases, stainless steel case backs, PU plastic straps and 3ATM minimum water resistance. They are both priced at US$16-17 FOB Hong Kong.
"Our new collection is best described as multi-purpose and sporty," says Cheng. The focus is on the many electronic touches.
Materials for these models, as for most Wing On Cheong creations, come from Japan, the Chinese mainland, South Korea and Taiwan. Minimum order is for 500 pieces, with shipment about 30 days after confirmation.
Each year Wing On Cheong launches more than 1,000 new designs from a prolific team of four product designers and two graphic designers. "Our designers have a lot of freedom. We give them topics, and they experiment," says Cheng.
Staying ahead in business often requires an extra touch, something Wing On Cheong provides with its after-sales service policy. A comprehensive one-year warranty is offered.
"After-sales service is especially important in the premiums market, much more than for OEM projects," says Cheng.
WRITTEN BY TAMARA CHEUNG
|Launched in 1990, ATM Ltd rapidly expanded from making thermometers to specialize in numerous electronics, especially versatile desktop and wall clocks.|
A DESIRE to create high quality, innovative and attractively designed products to meet the needs of modern customers is the philosophy behind ATM Ltd's range of consumer electronics products.
Launched in 1990 as a maker of thermometers, the company was quick to spot the need for high-quality, useful electronic products, says marketing executive Sharon Chan. Within 2-3 years it diversified into the production of desktop clocks, followed by wall clocks 3-4 years later.
Now ATM makes an array of consumer electronics gadgets, including: LCD digital desktop alarm clocks; jumbo-display wall clocks with remote controls; LCD digital multi-stem waterproof thermometers; burglar alarms; LCD digital multimeters; timers; thermocouples; and electronic bicycle accessories (like headlights, emergency lights and meters). These products appear under ATM's own brand or private labels.
To cope with its expanded product range and utilize low costs on the Chinese mainland, the company moved its factory about four years ago to Dongguan in Guangdong Province, where it employs about 150 workers.
ATM has a rigorous regime of in-house quality control and assurance tests to guide various departments, including production, purchase, engineering, bonding, plastic injection, plastic molding, metal molding and printed circuit boards.
"Although we make different products, it is important to maintain our focus on quality. The research and development department ensures our products are of high quality with features to suit customers' needs. Our R&D section works closely with engineering and other relevant departments to make innovative designs and products," says marketing manager Delphine Lam.
"For instance, the remote-control functions on wall clocks are well received by customers for their usefulness in setting alarms, checking times in 24 cities or setting hourly melody chimes and the backlight."
A water-resistant spoon thermometer also achieved instant appeal. "While feeding a baby, parents can check the child's temperature very easily and without upsetting the baby," Lam says.
Desk clocks come in many designs and with useful features like magnetic surfaces, waterproofing and multiple timers, the latter especially useful in kitchens with various dishes being cooked at the same time.
"Our personal alarms are in great demand in Taiwan following earthquakes there, while they are also popular in Japan and the UK."
ATM products have gained CE quality approval from the European Union and passed the US Food and Drugs Administration's clinical and hygiene tests.
"We launch new products every year. From our quality and designs, customers have come to realize we are a competent company," Lam says.
ATM rigorously monitors the quality of components, like plastics, stainless steel, LCD panels and integrated circuits. The ICs are made in Japan under specifications set by the in-house research team.
About 60% of ATM's products go to Western Europe and 20% to Japan. The remaining output serves the US and other markets.
WRITTEN BY ARAVIND VIDYADHARAN
Flat 1702, 17/F,
8 On Ping St, Sha Tin,
New Territories, Hong Kong
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