Makers tap R&D and technical expertise to spur production and grow export business.

South China is the main manufacturing hub for portable projectors in the country. It plays host to 70 to 80 percent of the 50-supplier pool in this line, with Guangdong and Fujian provinces at the center of R&D and production.

The eastern and southwestern parts are the other key sourcing areas. Growth in the first is driven by Jiangsu province and Shanghai, while it is Sichuan in the latter.

Compared with the other two, South China boasts a better location and a more established transportation system and commercial infrastructure. Ports in the Pearl River Delta region, for example, facilitate outbound deliveries.

Although East China has an established supply chain as well, the former leverages mature upstream makers. Most factories there, including those set up by traders based in the eastern part of the country, can handle most processes in-house.

Guangdong is the primary manufacturing base, accounting for more than 90 percent of enterprises in South China. The key cities are Shenzhen, Dongguan and Zhongshan. The first is host to about 80 percent of the supplier pool. The strong LED industry in Guangdong is key to its growing portable projector line, enabling makers there to source inputs easily and at lower costs. The area represents nearly 70 percent of China’s LED packaging output. Some LED manufacturers, including Appotronics Corp., have also expanded into the projector sector.

In addition, Guangdong has a steady base of LCD panel and lens providers that companies can tap for their requirements. The area’s strong electronics industry likewise strengthens the supply chain. Specifically, easier access to technology and market information enables players there to conduct R&D, sampling, and trial and eventually mass production.

Meanwhile, Xiamen in Fujian has a mix of makers and traders. Most enterprises in the area, however, source components from partners in Guangdong.


Bolstering the line

Growing demand is encouraging China manufacturers to boost their selections through invigorated R&D and increased output. Suppliers underscore bigger size and enhanced brightness and contrast ratio in their product development initiatives. Several will concentrate on high-definition resolution and improved OS.

Adding value further will be the adoption of touchscreens, LCDs, and Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity. Units with these functions are predicted to be the next trend.

Shenzhen S&G International Ltd’s model SGP005 LCoS projector features a touch keypad. The viewing area is 6 to 50in. The manufacturer releases five to eight new versions a year.

The TMP058P model from Shenzhen Topmedia Technology Co. Ltd supports 802.11b/g. The LCoS unit has 25W high-power LEDs and delivers SVGA output and 50 lumens brightness.

Makers expect shipments to increase in coming years, riding on iSuppli’s projection of 7.3 million units in global deliveries by 2013. This is a huge climb from 12,445 in 2008, equivalent to a 258 percent CAGR during the period. China companies predict overseas trade will grow by at least 10 percent in the next six months. Many noted resurging orders from the US and the EU, which are forecast to absorb 50 to 70 percent of outbound shipments combined.

Suppliers are exploring other destinations as well. More products are being sent to Southeast Asia, the Middle East and South America. Some vendors said deliveries to these areas have increased. Companies such as Shenzhen Topmedia, Shenzhen S&G and the TGF Group export 100 percent of their output. The first two target the Middle East and South America, which have boosted their export allocation by about 5 percent.

In preparation for rising orders, manufacturers, particularly newcomers, are raising output. As more than 80 percent of China makers are small and midsize operations, the capacity ranges from 1,000 to 5,000 units monthly. For large players, this can go up to 20,000 for the same period. Shenzhen Topmedia and Appotronics have ramped up their yield to 4,000 to 5,000 from several hundred units last year.

Most suppliers have four to 12 manufacturing lines and five to 30 R&D personnel handling mechanical, hardware and software designs. Many comply with CE, FCC, RoHS and UL requirements. In addition, they adhere to ISO 9001:2000 and 14001 standards. For more on “South China flourishing hub for rising line”.