The Chinese electronic security industry started out when international brands made contact with local distributors. Agents in Guangdong, in particular, benefited given its close proximity to Hong Kong. Today, these electronic security players come in the following three varieties: local manufacturers, those with foreign investment and R&D support, and distributors.
Vendors with strong R&D capabilities in Guangdong province are improving solutions to remain competitive. ATI, for example, produces video doorphones and CCTV equipment; NPE features products with Australian and Japanese technology; Linbell benefits from Hong Kong connections; and Lan Castle and Goldenlan combine the best of what both China and Taiwan have to offer.
According to Zhang Yeling, General Manager of Linbell, up to 50 percent of digital light processing (DLP) products are made in China. To further improve quality, Linbell has partnered with Mitsibushi.
Lan Castle is enhancing competitiveness with Taiwanese IC chips. "We are the only DVR supplier that makes our own IC chips," said General Manager Yang Yanfei. To provide quality products at a reasonable price, Lan Castle has fully automated production. This has also made it possible to offer greater customization of housings and software interfaces.
Goldenlan, which specializes in IP networking solutions, is looking to advanced audio and video coding standard (AVS) transmission to provide better image quality when bandwidth is limited. "Chinese manufacturers have their own algorithms so there are no legal problems when exporting," explained Hu Wei, General Manager of the company's Technical Support Center.
Goldenlan has also teamed up with a Taiwanese company, a digital media institute at Beijing University and the Shanghai Institute of Computing Technology to promote AVS in video monitoring applications. The new solutions include software management platforms and AVS system on chips (SoCs).
Function ATI Telecommunications has been manufacturing electronic security products since 1995. Today, it has R&D centers in the U.S., Taiwan and Shenzhen. According to Teddy Li, Chief of the Marketing Department, the U.S. center provides the R&D direction. "We are targeting domestic vertical markets like the military and campuses," said Li. "Our new solutions feature WiFi to enhance flexibility of applications and transmission efficiency."
Video doorphone systems, said Li, are usually purchased by real estate developers rather than installers or home owners. "Some functions may not be practical for overseas markets, but Chinese real estate developers want fancy products to earn bigger profits."
Protruly understands that intrusion alarm systems with stylish appearances are more profitable. It launched its latest intelligent door lock to target value-added applications. "We offered US$7,500 to anyone who could force the lock, but no one succeeded," said Chen Daoqing, Marketing Director of Protruly. "Some visitors even tried interrupt the alarm control panel to open the door; nothing that they tried, however, worked." The only way to open it, he said, is via a key embedded with a chip.
According to Chen, the advanced mechanism lock features intelligent functions to trigger alarms for vandalism and illegal copying of keys. To enhance safety, it works with Daunting home safety alarm systems to disarm itself for home owners. Furthermore, not only is quality guaranteed but also owners are protected by China Pin An Insurance up to $15,000 for losses stemming from intrusions.
New-Tech Protective Electronics (NTP) has incorporated Australian technology to deliver video monitoring and multiple access management suited for crucial areas. "Our company hired a Japanese research professional with expertise in optical technologies," said Luo Cheng, an engineer in the Technical Support Department at NPE.
This, he continued, has enabled NPE to promote cameras with Sony third-generation wide-dynamic-range solution and blaze-retraining for harsh lighting conditions on roads. The cameras are also equipped with Tamron lenses for better image quality and stability.
According to Huang Jing, Manager of Aony, many products on the market fall into the me-too category. Aony is planning to set up a dust-free factory to enhance IR LED assembly for its IR cameras. "We do not want to get involved in price wars; that is why we are working only on high-end IR cameras." Huang pointed out that while Chinese manufacturers provide excellent products, the major bottle neck is the huge investment required to perfect manufacturing facilities.
Take Chinese-made speed domes. "They perform well only with specific camera modules because the housings do not offer good ventilation," said Huang. "Chinese manufacturers lack prowess in product finishing; they are not able to drill perfectly smooth ventilation holes like the Japanese.
" Eagle is working on sophisticated alarm sensors with high-quality optical lenses and light filters, among others. Its patented connections, for example, reduce installation time and effort, thus driving down installation costs. Kewang and Jianbiao are tailoring equipment cases for central monitoring systems. Even though these products are mostly for the Chinese market, Jianbiao has developed a desk with an embedded two-drawer space on the top to enhance user-friendliness.
TBL is promoting intelligent IR chips that offer better performance over IR LED arrays. The design enables nighttime viewing with regular box cameras. Bestech has launched IR speed domes with nanometer technology to ensure water-proofing in outdoor environments. Finally, Dikai, Xierli and Jiali are marketing anti-lightning and anti-strike devices.
Major distributors in Guangdong include Aoxing, Baoshijie, Billion Technology, Ding Li, JWS, Qihan, Ruixun, VisionCom and WinHi. Major partners include Bosch, JVC, Panasonic and Samsung. Agents also provide key feedback.
Many find it easier to introduce international brands since image and reputation are well-established. "Almost 90 percent of alarm products sold in richer cities like Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing and Qingdao are foreign brands, even though they cost twice as much for the same functionalities," said Peter Yu, General Manager of VisionCom.
Most distributors find much to like about Chinese products as well. "One developed a fluorescent intrusion sensor," said Yu. "When it detects suspicious targets, a light flashes and a buzzer sounds.
Another example where Chinese products outdo the competition, he continued, is wireless alarm control panels. "Imports support only short-distance transmission. Chinese suppliers, however, are customizing products to reach distances up to one kilometer."
Chinese video doorphones impress with CAT-5 transmission and IP functions, said Xia Bing, General Manager of Aoxing. "Also, international brands do not respond as quickly when it comes to differentiating themselves or keeping up with the latest trends."