5 Jan 2006
Sharp Shooters(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 01,2006)
|Joyfame Corp Ltd's main export markets include Europe, North America, Australasia, the Middle East and South Africa|
Director Andy Cameron says that when he set up the camera-exporting business in 2003, it was a difficult year for many businesses. "Fortunately, I had excellent connections with mass-producing camera makers in Shenzhen and Dongguan on the Chinese mainland and in-depth knowledge of the export market."
Cameron has been in the camera business for almost 30 years, and once worked for Hanimex in London. "I also spent several years in Japan, followed by a period in Australia and one year in the US before coming to Hong Kong as marketing manager for Haking Wong Industries from 1990-99."
He subsequently joined US firm Jazz Photo Corp in Hong Kong with responsibility for export sales and sourcing. "After that, I started Joyfame with just two assistants," he says, "but both were hand-picked veterans of the camera trade and also former colleagues."
After weighing up the options, Cameron says he found good reasons for optimism as smaller dimensions and higher-resolution pictures were stimulating healthy demand for digital cameras. "Also, there was burgeoning global demand for single-use disposal cameras, especially novelty models suitable for guests at weddings, birthdays, parties and other family occasions."
Today, Joyfame holds the rights to sell the mainland-made Jazz-brand cameras in all markets except the US. "I travel regularly to all the big photographic and equipment trade shows such as Photokina and the PMA to look for customers and keep up with the latest breakthroughs in the business," Cameron says.
"The technological advances in digital cameras are simply amazing," he adds. "And the better they get, the cheaper they seem to become. A model that used to cost at least US$500, taking pictures that weren't that sharp, is now available in the shops for US$200 or so and the definition is much better."
He says the success of single-use film cameras has paved the way for development of a relatively cheap single-use digital version. "Joyfame is working closely with strategic partners on the mainland to develop a single-use digital camera that will incorporate a megapixel sensor capable of good quality 4x6 prints and even feature a small preview screen," he discloses.
"After taking pictures, the user simply takes the camera to the retailer and arranges for the shots to be downloaded by encrypted software. He will get back 20 or so printed pictures, and the option of a CD containing the stored images."
As is the case with all single-use 35mm cameras, the customer won't get back the camera. "That will be returned to the manufacturer for checking and repair and then be re-packaged and resold," Cameron advises, adding that he expects each camera will need to be sold at least two or three times over before there is a profit.
Joyfame's seven-person team, together with strategic manufacturing partners on the mainland, now offers a diverse array of products including personal electronics as well as premium items.
Main export markets at present are Europe, especially the UK, North America, Australasia, the Middle East and South Africa, but Cameron says that the best future prospects are underdeveloped markets.
"We are exploring all opportunities," he reveals. "For example, India is fast-emerging as an important international player in IT and technology and I will attend trade fairs in New Delhi and Mumbai to check-out the possibilities."
The latest idea from Joyfame is a multi-purpose kit for motorists. It comprises a torch, a pen, a notebook, a tape measure and a camera with which to take on-the-spot pictures at the scene of an accident.
The kit is attractively packaged with colour illustrations and smart clues on how best a motorist involved in an accident can protect himself from the legal aftermath.
"It's cheap, it can be slipped under the driver's seat for an emergency, and it serves as a sort of insurance policy for an event which nobody hopes will ever happen," explains Cameron.
As the director says, "Every negative has a positive outcome somewhere", and Joyfame certainly appears to be in the frame for a bright future.
WRITTEN BY GEOFFREY SOMERS
Joyfame Corp Ltd