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CES Asia: ‘Zero Distance’ to Supply Chains

SHANGHAI, China — If you’re in Shanghai this week to attend CES Asia, a new venture directly sponsored by the U.S.-based Consumer Electronics Association, you might not think you’re at CES. 

This ain’t Vegas.

The big exhibitors here — just like recent versions of CES in Las Vegas — are the global automotive companies. They range from Mercedes-Benz and Audi to Volkswagen and Ford.

Conspicuously missing, however, are big name consumer electronics brands — even local companies like Xiaomi and Lenovo.

Clearly, these are the early days of CES Asia. Given the magnitude of the Chinese market, this thing might amount to something by and by.

Proximity between design and production
In reality, this first CES Asia accurately captures the state of China’s consumer electronics industry. China still has few global CE brands. On display are lots of fragmented consumer products with a big emphasis on the Internet of Things.

This show also signals a close proximity between product design and manufacturing. Strong supply chains are also a part of the presence here. 

A group called Ingdan, with the funky slogan “Hatch that Internet of Things,” showed off a lot of connected devices designed by different entrepreneurs.

Ingdan calls itself 'a platform for hardware supply chain and resources'

Ingdan calls itself “a platform for hardware supply chain and resources”

Ingdan describes itself as “China’s largest hardware IoT innovator that links entrepreneurs with the right suppliers.” The company, specializing in supply chain integration, says it “supports startups from the beginning of a concept to mass production,” offering services such as supply chain consultation, project showcasing and product promotion.

Most visible at the show are products born out of the “makers movement,” including some with links to Kickstarter. “Too young to build brands” isn’t a phenomenon just among the Chinese. It’s a hurdle facing every entrepreneur in the world.

It’s important to note that many startups present at the show are operating their businesses sans borders. Ask where they’re based, they often say that they’re both in Silicon Valley and in Shenzhen (or Shanghai).

Fueled by the excitement of the makers movement in Shenzhen and a growing number of incubators in China, “I’m seeing a phenomenon that never occurred before – startups and makerspaces everywhere,” observed Yang Yang, an engineer works at RPTech Works and UniMaker in Shenzhen. Yang, whom we talked to a year ago, is one of the original leaders of Shenzhen-based makers movement.

As Bin Lin, president and co-founder of Xiaomi, said in an interview last week, “zero distance” from customers and “proximity between design engineers and factories” are key advantages for Chinese consumer electronics companies. “You can draw a beautiful design on a paper in an office” somewhere in Europe or the United States, said Lin. “But it’s critical for design engineers to work side-by-side with those working at factories” in China.

A glimpse of that promise and its potential is visible at CES Asia this week here. We share with you what caught our eyes at CES Asia in the following pages. 

Who is JD.com?

JD.com in essence is equivalent to Amazon.com in China. The Internet company, besides selling a lot of consumer goods, also defines its own hardware such as VR glasses, smartwatches and other gadgets like voice recognition speakers you can talk to. The booth was packed with attendants all day long.

The world’s lightest VR glasses

Forget about clunky and heavy head-mounted displays.

Dlodlo, China’s Virtual Reality developer, showed off Dlodlo VR Glasses at JD.com's booth.

Dlodlo claims it's “the world’s lightest portable immersive Virtual Reality glasses.”  Weighing at just 4 ounces (120g) – four times lighter than VR headsets, Dlodlo VR Glasses look like sunglasses.

Dlodlo VR Glasses offer HD resolution of 2K with a 16:9 aspect ratio and 120Hz refresh rate for a display, without dizziness, lag or distortion, the company says. Dlodlo supports 2D/3D switch video, 4K video displays and provides the largest 110° Field of View, according to the company.

Ticwear is coming

JD.com’s next big thing is Ticwear, a smartwatch scheduled for launch in June.  The watch face (captured in the poster above) reads: ”Find me a café nearby, with WiFi.”

Pardon for a fuzzy picture here. The photo of Ticwear was taken before we were asked not to take a picture of the product before the “official” launch.

To read the rest of this article, visit EBN sister site EE Times.

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