By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Long established as a major Chinese OEM resource for leading consumer electronics brands, Amoisonic this month began selling products under its own brands — Amoi and Sungale — in the United States, starting with an Amoi-branded network DVD player.
Amoisonic will use the Amoi trademark as a high-end brand, while Sungale will be positioned as a secondary brand for more aggressively priced products.
The company is promoting both lines as resources of highly functional, technologically advanced products that can be sold profitably by retailers at value prices.
Amoisonic will launch this month with the Amoi Net DVD player ($299 suggested retail) to help foster an innovative image in U.S. consumers' minds. Shortly thereafter, the Amoi line will add a Karaoke DVD player ($230 suggested retail), and standard DVD players ($180 price range). By the fourth quarter, the company plans to add a 17W-inch high-definition-capable LCD TV monitor.
The Sungale line will launch prior to the holiday selling season with a pair of value-priced DVD players (both under $99), a home-theater-in-a-box system and specially packaged "Gift DVD" players targeted in part at catalog retailers, e-commerce accounts and specialty retailers in the Sharper Image mold. The player will be offered in a highly decorated box — it will come essentially pre-gift wrapped — to simplify the holiday shopping experience.
Amoisonic also expects to add a DVD recorder in early 2004, executives told TWICE, although the disc format type(s) it will use had not been determined at press time.
"In order to differentiate ourselves from the big-name CE brands, we have to do things that are not me-too, and are a little different in the market place," said Stuart Sollod, Amoisonic's U.S. sales VP. "Our Net DVD player and our Gift DVD are examples of that."
The Amoi Net DVD player will output interlaced or progressive-scan DVD movies and can channel digital movies, still images and music files from a PC's hard drive. The unit will then relay content from the hard drive to a connected TV or home-theater system.
The Net DVD player is compatible with MP3 and WMA audio files, JPEG and KodakCD still image files and MPEG-1, MPEG22 and MPEG-4 video and image files.
Although a handful of networkable DVD players have started to emerge under such brands as Go Video and Gateway, Amoisonic said its player will have a market advantage — at least temporarily — in being the only player capable of playing back movies and images encoded in the MPEG-4 file format.
Other network DVD vendors have indicated that MPEG-4 capability would be possible in the future with a downloadable system upgrade.
Amoisonic was also looking to better its competitors by bundling an 802.11g wireless receiver card with the product, for high-speed wireless connection between the player and an 802.11g or 802.11b wireless router connected to the PC. However, initial shipments of the Net DVD player will include an 802.11b wireless card. In October, the product will ship with an 802.11g card, Amoisonic said.
The wireless card plugs into a built-in PCMCIA slot on the back of the DVD player. The networked DVD package will carry a $299 suggested retail.
To handle sales, Amoisonic has hired a national sales force of 14 manufacturers' rep groups. Amoisonic is offering retailers a variety of DVD models at different price points, including one that offers all the features of a professional Karaoke system. Amoisonic will also have a line of attractive home theater-in-a-box systems and flat-screen TVs and is actively seeking distributors and major retail chains to sell the product line. Product will be in the warehouse here early this month.
In China, Amoisonic claims to be a market share leader in the production and sales of DVD players to its domestic market. The Amoisonic name is also strong in other Asian markets. The company, which has headquarters in Xiamen, China, was established in 1981 as a producer of VCRs, starting with the manufacture of Betamax decks for Sony and later VHS decks for Panasonic's China business. By 1994, the company was the leading manufacturer and supplier of VCRs in China, until the V-CD category virtually wiped out the VCR business overnight. It has since become a major producer of DVD players for China and claims to have 60 percent share of the Chinese cellular phone market.
The company opened its U.S. sales office in Chino, Calif., in 2001, starting initially as an OEM resource for other brands. It has long planned to establish and grow the Amoisonic business here and in other countries. Its mission is to deliver competitive prices, high quality and good service, said Sun Ningjun, Amoisonic Electronics U.S. president.
Sollod said the company would soon begin building the Amoi and Sungale brands with select advertising initiatives, promotions and in-store merchandising efforts. As this went to press, the company was finalizing a strategy for co-op ad support, Sollod said.
Dealers interested in carrying the line can contact Sollod at (909) 902-1283 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.