China has been a manufacturing base. Chinese-made products have dominated in every section in the world. The situation happens in security industry as well. During the show, A&S editors have interviewed buyers from different countries on Chinese-made products.
Ravanis Konstantinos, CEO at Rakson, a Greek company that distributes video doorphone monitors, CCTVs, video doorphone kits, DVRs and lighting equipments, noted that, four years ago, he found working with Chinese companies very problematic. "We had big problems with Chinese quality," said Konstantinos. "Weather-proof cameras might fill with water after just a few days." But with improvements made by Chinese manufacturers in terms of quality and service, Konstantinos is buying from Chinese manufacturers again.
"You understand," he continued, "that if your first experience is bad, it is difficult to give it another try." According to Konstantinos, SOEST a Chinese lens manufacturer is a professional company with excellent service. "I have tested the lens quality; it proved to be what the manufacturer claimed." He also cited SOEST's reasonable prices and stylish designs.
To find a suitable supplier, Konstantinos believes that it is important to test out the products before purchasing them. Second, he examines service quality regarding shipping, product returns and other issues. Third, he looks at technical support.
Petri Eranko, CEO at Dasys (Finland), visited SecuTech for the first time in 2008, though he has been sourcing products from Asia for years. "I have been working with Asian manufacturers for years, including those from Taiwan, China and Korea," said Eranko. "Additionally, I have been working with a Chinese camera manufacturer SAE for five years."
"In Finland," said Eranko, "quality is the top priority and then price." "Brand does not really matter," he explained. "We sell SAE brand speed domes, and analog and network cameras. These products have a proven quality at a more affordable price. Of course, five years ago, SAE did not provide perfect products, but we have witnessed improvements year after year."
Dean Klobucar, Manager of the Purchasing and Logistics Department at Alarm Automatika (Croatia), has attended SecuTech for five years. "Due to price
sensitivity in the region, which includes not only Croatia but also Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Serbia, Chinese products better fit customer requirements." he said.
"Everyone knows that Chinese products are cheaper than those from Taiwan and Korea," said Klobucar. "I am very confident in the quality, communication and flexibility of my Chinese partners." This is important, he noted, as security products have to be as trendy as consumer products. "Our Chinese partners are quite flexible," he stressed. Daniel Brami, owner of Paris-based Alternative Solution, pointed out that biometrics on cards is becoming popular. "European law prevents companies from centrally storing biometric information. Users wanting the ease of biometrics have to carry their templates with them," he said.
"Chinese companies have already marketed a solution that allows users to carry a recyclable time- and place- restricted biometric card," said Brami. "This is doing big business in the Chinese hotel vertical. This solution combines Mifare with a virtual network one that is not created by hardware, but by the biometric and access data on the card."
Hans Ellenbeck, Purchasing Manager at MHM Electronics (Germany), was on his second visit, but has been buying from Asia for 11 years. To Ellenbeck, dishonesty is the main problem with Chinese manufacturers. "Certificates are of crucial importance if you want to sell products in Germany. I had a bad experience with Chinese manufacturers showing me fake certificates."
Besides, he added, after-sale service is an issue. "To my understanding, most Chinese players do not have their own overseas offices to support technical problems in time." Ellenbeck admits, however, he has tested some Chinese lens samples with surprisingly good quality.