Computer lock makers underscore low price and target user preference. A few offer traditional and advanced USB units.
Suppliers of computer locks in China will continue to emphasize hardware types, leveraging strong demand and price advantage over software-based counterparts. They expect the increase to be within 10 percent this year as PC security gathers adoption.
Makers turn out mostly mechanical units. The variant has been dominating the country’s supply in the past three years, and will drive output and exports in the months ahead. It accounted for nearly 80 percent of total volume sold in 2010, and USB varieties the rest. China’s overall yield for the line was less than 3 million units.
Suppliers said mechanical PC locks will remain staple because they meet the requirement of their client base on physical security. For this reason, companies such as Make Locks Manufacturer Ltd plan to concentrate on the type in the next few years.
Enterprises that offer USB varieties bundle them with main products such as USB flash drives and hubs, and external HDD enclosures. Vson Technology Co. Ltd packages the locks with wireless presenters, its core business. The maker entered the PC security line in 1H08 but has not introduced new models since then. It does not have immediate plans to do so.
Still, a few companies offer USB versions with fingerprint recognition to suit upscale requirements, although demand remains small. This is because quotes are at least two times higher than standard USB counterparts.
There are no more than 20 suppliers in China. Lock specialists constitute the majority, while only a few come from the electronics sector and produce mainly USB types.
The maker number is projected to increase by 10 to 20 percent this year as upbeat prospects attract players from related categories. Chonghong ventured into the line in 2H10. It manufactures galvanized aircraft cables, and steel wire ropes in various structures and specifications. The company predicts more suppliers from a similar background will add PC locks as a sideline business.
China makers ship nearly 85 percent of their yield overseas. The majority focuses on OEM orders, which account for 90 percent of total output. Only a few companies have an ODM business. They include large operations such as Make Locks that can provide custom lock and software designs respectively for mechanical and USB variants.
The key export destinations are Europe, the US and Southeast Asia. Some manufacturers are expanding their reach, and will penetrate South America and the Middle East this year.
Shipments follow user preference in target areas. Mechanical and standard USB PC locks are mostly sent to Europe, the US, Asia, South America and the MiddleEast. Versions of the latter with fingerprint recognition are delivered to the first two areas and Southeast Asia. This is the case with 80 percent of such products from Singo Electronics Co. Ltd. Its traditional USB varieties export worldwide.
The domestic requirement, meanwhile, stays low due to limited safety awareness. Demand comes largely from personal users.
Mechanical locks: The selection in China consists of tubular, master and disc tumbler kinds. The first accounts for 60 percent of the country’s total yield, and the rest split equally between master and disc tumbler units. The three constitute the low-end, midrange and upscale options, respectively.
The key difference is in the cable diameter, which is 4 or 5mm and 5 or 6mm in the first two and 6 to 8mm in the last. The length varies from 1 to 2m. The majority of models adopt a straight cable design, while companies such as Make Locks have started using spiral versions for their space-saving feature.
Zinc alloy, brass, steel or stainless steel is utilized for the locking mechanism and housing, and carbon steel and stainless steel with PVC coating for the cable. Makers do not foresee a change in the cost of these materials this year and therefore expect prices to remain steady.
USB locks: Two types make up the range in China, namely software- and hardware-controlled units. The first represents 85 percent of the total yield for the segment. This is because demand for the latter remains low due to its 40 to 60 percent higher price.
Wired and wireless software-based models make up the low-end and midrange brackets, respectively. The former supports plug-and-play, and combines a USB key and software to secure the PC and encrypt data, while RF wireless variants prevent keyboard and mouse access. Upscale hardware designs boast a built-in fingerprint sensor for user authentication.
This year, the low-end and midrange varieties will continue to dominate production even as demand for upscale units is growing. Some enterprises, however, are taking advantage of the latter development. Singo will raise the output share of its high-end selection to 60 percent from 50 percent. The maker said more users are adopting the variants because of better performance compared with mechanical or conventional USB counterparts.
Prices of low-end and midrange models are anticipated to remain stable this year, while climbing requirement will result in up to 5 percent lower quotes for advanced versions.
Taiwan makers are enhancing the computer lock line, which consists of hardware and software solutions. They are releasing more user-friendly and multifunction models to suit various requirements.
The recent additions include units for travelers that can secure several items such as laptops, suitcases and desks. Variants that can ensure the safety of a printer, CPU, graphics card, HDDs and accessories are part of the list. There are also varieties with retractable cables for enhanced portability.
Configurations that can be operated with one hand such as those offered by Sinox Co. Ltd are also available. Models with lock heads that have a protective covering to avoid scratching machines are among options.
Tai-Lu Industrial Co. Ltd turns out units with an alarm that is triggered by lock tampering. These are priced at about $7. The supplier and Sinox also carry dual-lock kinds in their catalogs. These use 4-digit combination locks with attached key sets. Such products enable users who forget the password to release the device using the latter.
Mechanical types with coil cables are the mainstream in Taiwan. These include combination and key-set units. The former comes in 3 and 4-digit versions quoted $3.20 or lower. Key-set variants start at $3.50 depending on the materials or functionality.
For buyers emphasizing data security, there are software-based locks. Para Industrial Co. Ltd’s model adopts 256-bit AES technology, allowing the setting up of a virtual storage in the HDD for personal documents that can be accessed only by plugging the flash drive.
Prices in Taiwan are projected to rise this year due to the climbing cost of metal types and the appreciation of the NT dollar.
Make Locks Manufacturer Ltd
Para Industrial Co. Ltd
Singo Electronics Co. Ltd
Sinox Co. Ltd
Tai-Lu Industrial Co. Ltd
Vson Technology Co. Ltd
Zhejiang Cixi Anli Fty
Note:This article was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.
All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.
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