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A Complex Product?


Put camera, mobile DVR, HDD, SSD, 4G/3G module, Wifi module and other parts together to build a stable video system is complex. And what more complex is to develop the server, platform and app. Nowadays, a software engineer is very expensive. So for small companies, it is impossible to hire a team to handle both hardware and software. Many of mobile DVR companies in Shenzhen are trading companies, or using a unstable third-party to deal with R&D. For those companies, even to fix up a small bug will cost a long time, sometimes even just unable to fix well.


An expensive product?


Compared with similar electronics like GPS tracker and dash cam, a set of mobile DVR is undoubtedly very expensive. But surely there are a lots of technologies inside. And the R&D is a quite big investment to develop a stable model. Even the test for a model need at least half an year before releasing.


A Giant manufacturer in Shenzhen


Yes, it is Streamax. You may have heard the company. Founded in 2002, when most people had no idea about mobile DVR. Today we have to admit the company has become a king in mobile DVR area. Surely big company is always more reliable, but price not very good, and MOQ is high. For some smaller foreign buyers, it may not be necessary to pay more to buy a normal products while some other manufacturers can produce as well at a cheaper cost.


Second tier manufacturers


Icarvisions, teswell, easystorage, richmor. These are common manufacturers in mobile DVR field. Yes, there are other companies, but most of them are not manufacturers, just trading companies. Most foreign buyers don’t like trading companies, but actually some of them are very good. Even they have better prices than original manufacturers because they negotiate very well with manufacturers and even get better price than manufacturers’ salesman.


Compared with streamax, these companies have better price and much more flexible. They treat middle-small foreign buyers more seriously, try everything they can to satisfy their clients. Icarvisions’ R&D team members are former streamax core engineers. So they are very good at developing. The hardware can compete with streamax. With a steady increase in foreign markets, the domestic market has been dramatically increased in 2017. So the Icarvisions company doubled its factory scale in the beginning of this year, to solve shortage of manufacturing in 2017.


High cost of customization

Many foreign buyers who don’t know very well about manufacturing, may think it is not expensive to modify a model. But actually it is. For e.g. to change the shape of the shell is very costly. The moding process is very complex and need modify many times, can be over USD 20 thousand. People may think why moding is so expensive, but also need to realize that the moding machines are expensive and it takes a long time for workers to finally make a ideal workable mode. As for software, considering high labor price of engineers, if need to change original code too much, very costly as well. So if the order quantity is not very big, a complex customization is not economical. In other words, average the total cost to products, the unit price is too high for end users.


[*]How to find a reliable supplier?


Automative electronics like GPS tracker, GPS navigtor or car audio, dash cam, they are more like consumer electronics, very large quatity in need. While MDVR mostly only for public vehicles like Bus and taxi. So a MDVR maker’s sell quantity is normally much more smaller than a GPS maker’s, even though the MDVR price is higher than GPS tracker’s. Yes, because theMDVR market is much more smaller than GPS tracker or car audio, there are much less MDVR makers compared with GPS tracker makers.


To ensure a sustainable growing, running a MDVR factory is much more harder than GPS tracker factory. One reason is as above - the market, another reason is technology. MDVR is much more complex than other normal vehicle electronics. Some MDVR makers lost key clients, then they have to cut their R&D team. I know some makers, they have 10+ sales but only 4 engineers. It is really hard for few engineers to handle the R&D. If there is any complex bug, it will take a long time to fix. And if you need customization, even if they can, you need wait a long time. Mostly they just find a third party to deal with firmware.


So, when you are searching suppliers, I suggest you need to figure out how is their R&D capability. If you have a chance to visit them, you need to be aware of the scale of their enigeer team. A good MDVR maker must have more engineers, first they need engineers to develop products, second since a engineer salary is at least twice than a saleman’s or a administive’s. If they have many engineers, means the company is well being well run. It is good for long term corporation, good for ensure a stable quality. 


Cheap is a good thing or bad thing?


Since china gov open gates to join the global business in 80s, the China & world trade has been booming. 40 years ago, China is poor and lack of technologies. Foreign investigors came to China, bringing capital and technologies, mainly to build factories beacuse of quite cheap labor.


It was a good time for Chinese manufacturers to do trade business. First there were not many factories/ competitors in China. Second, Chinese labor was so cheap and resource such as land, electricity are very cheap as well. Third, the internet was not popular. It was quite unconvinient for foreign buyers to find many manufacturers and get price information. So many manufacturers easily get orders at good prices. But nowadays, it might be from 10 years ago, things changed. First,manufacturing cost has been keep rising, especially th labor and land. Second,too many competitors there and price war never stopped. Third, internet makes it very easy for foreign buyers to get information. Every manufacturer became transparent.


There’re lots of factories live in a too low profit rate, so they are too weak for a sustainale growth. For e.g. in 2008, there are many factories went bankeupt. Second,too low price makes the manufacturer cannot invest in R&D for new product. Third, the warefare of workers in factory is too bad. Working for over 12 hours in a no airconditioning noisy worksop only can earn US $900 a month. I am not joking, that’s life of the majority of Chinese factory workers. That’s why made in China is so cheap. There are even many workers working in toxic environment without any protection. More: www.danielsu.me


Personally I think yes, cheap is good. But too cheap is not healthy for a industry and many people including buyers and manufacturers will suffer too much for that.

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