<b>The maker diversifies its product range capitalizing on the increasing demand for "green" products.</b>
Shenzhen Topband Auto Co. Ltd specializes in energy-efficient lighting and power products, and motors. The company has a 250-member strong R&D team, which is currently focused on energy-saving products such as high-efficiency lighting and electric vehicle or EV batteries.
In an interview with Global Sources, general manager Wu Yongqiang discusses the company's product development priorities and attributes that set it apart from competitors.
<b>What is your product focus?</b>
As one of the few companies specializing in automotive batteries in China, we concentrate on high-power and -discharge variants for the EV market. Our LiFePO%u2084 batteries have one invention and five utility patents. We use them as cathode material for our Li-ion line. This ensures particle size uniformity, batch stability, good conductivity and ultralow temperature at -40 C, which are attributes that are on a par with advanced international level. More importantly, the adoption reduces manufacturing costs significantly and does not contribute to the pollution of the environment.
Shenzhen Topband's products have passed all experimental tests in accordance with QC/T743-2006 for Li-ion batteries for EVs. Several of our models have CE and UN 38.3 approval.
<b>What sets apart your company from others in the industry?</b>
A strong R&D capability, advanced technique and equipment, and high-performance and -quality products are our differentiators. We put a premium on innovation and have a 250-member product development team. Our regular investment in R&D is equivalent to 7 percent of annual sales, which is the largest among our competitors in this line in China. We spent 65 percent of the allocation on equipment, and the rest on technology and apparatus upgrades.
<b>Have your priorities changed after being publicly listed? Will Shenzhen Topband try to build its own brand?</b>
From a midsize company, we have become a large operation after listing. Because of this change in setup, we need a long-term sustainable development and have chosen energy-saving and "green" products such as high-efficiency lighting and EV batteries.
We introduced our own brand in the domestic market a year ago, but for exports we will continue with our OEM and ODM business. This is because of healthy overseas sales. Currently, they account for 60 percent of our total revenue and are still growing in share.
<b>How do you boost competitiveness?</b>
We promote our products through the Internet, in exhibitions and during face-to-face sales campaigns. At the same time, the company continues to invest in the development of new lines while upgrading existing ones. It boasts close technical cooperation with Tsinghua University, Harbin Institute of Technology and other major academic organizations.
<b>What are the major challenges you are facing?</b>
Competition in the domestic market is our biggest challenge. To increase profits and attract buyers, some makers resort to unfair practices. As a countermeasure, we offer high-quality and -performance products and emphasize exports.
The company achieves this not only by strengthening core competence but also taking care of its most valuable resource, the employees. We need to nurture talent and inspire innovation. As an incentive, for instance, we give them a share option.
<b>What is your outlook for the line and for the company?</b>
We are optimistic about prospects for energy-saving and green products as they are becoming more popular worldwide as more countries address resource issues.
As an enterprise, we look at our development as similar to that of a child. It takes different stages and solid steps. With long-term planning, however, growth will be assured.
<b>About the company</b>
Shenzhen Topband offers LEDs, HID ballasts, intelligent controllers, security devices, industrial automation and digital electronics. The company operates an ISO 9001 and 14001-compliant 55,000sqm factory with more than 3,000 workers. It has a monthly output of 1.8 million units.
The maker's sales reached $137 million in 2010, the bulk of which came from exports. The destinations overseas are the US, the EU, Russia, Brazil, India and Australia.
The company was established in 1996 and listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in 2007.
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