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jWIN Enters New Markets In ’03

Consumer electronics manufacturer jWIN will break into the flat-panel television, DVD/home- theater-in-a-box (HTiB) and portable MP3 player market in 2003, hoping to grab a piece of the market share of value-priced products hitting shelves from overseas vendors.

According to national sales VP Stanley Reiff, the company will introduce three flat-panel TFT-screen televisions in 15-inch, 17-inch, and 20-inch incarnations with suggested retails of $529, $799 and $1,299, respectively. All feature 160-degree viewing angles with anti-glare screens, are desk and wall mountable and ship this month.

The company will also introduce four HTiB systems with progressive scan DVD players. Suggested retails will range from $129 to $179.

The top of the line will be the JD-VD600, a complete system featuring a slim design 5.1 channel DVD player that can play MP3 audio files as well as read Picture CDs.

In MP3 players, Reiff said the company would shorten the lineup of MP3/CD players from last year’s seven models, to five in 2003. In addition to scaling back MP3/CD players, the company will move into flash-memory-based MP3 players, with the introduction of four models that retail from $79 to $129. The entry piece will feature 32MB of memory, followed by 64MB, 128MB models and the top of the line will offer 64MB of memory and an FM tuner.

The introductions encapsulate what Reiff says is the company’s niche: “high promotional pricing and our secret weapon: low defect rates.”

The six-year-old company with offices in Hong Kong, China, Korea and North America has positioned itself against rivals such as Coby, GPX, Spectra and Emerson. The company prides itself on in-house product and packaging designers and is strong in portable audio products, mini systems and shower radios.

The company has enjoyed double digit growth year-over-year since its inception and Reiff said sales were up 17 percent from last year’s numbers as of March. “We can endure recessions,” he noted.

No stranger to market turbulence, Reiff has years of experience under his belt, having been in the CE business since 1963. “I have a bit of experience,” he jokes.

The company will tweak its offerings and push efforts into alternative distribution channels, Reiff said. Some categories will be scaled down this year, such as cellular accessories, due to a glut of product and rapidly changing phone technology.

On the distribution front, jWIN began courting alternative channels, such as Bed, Bath and Beyond and Linens ‘n Things, in the middle of 2002 with specially tailored audio products. That effort will broaden this year with a more robust product offering, Reiff said.

“We offer these [retailers] a chance to make a profit,” he noted. Unlike the CE channel “price killers” these alternative markets offer a bit of margin cushion, he added.