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Mechanical computer locks stay dominant

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.


Computer lock
Make Locks' MK805 model supports more than 100,000 key codes, and has a stainless steel cable and a zinc alloy lock.

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.

Computer locks
Taiwan: More user-friendly, multifunction computer locks offered
Product gallery


Mechanical computer locks price guide
Computer locks

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.


Computer lock
The RL570 model from Sinox supports up to 10,000 key codes, and unlocks with a key when the combination is forgotten.
Taiwan: More user-friendly, multifunction computer locks offered

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.

Related reports:
Desktop computers: Mini, all-in-one units dominate desktop PC line
Mini PCs: Mini PCs ride miniaturization trend


Computer lock
Product gallery

Make Locks Manufacturer Ltd
(mainland China)

Model: MK815
Description: Mechanical type; >10,000 key combinations, master key available; double key lock head; zinc alloy housing and barrel; for laptops, desktop PCs, LCD monitors, projectors, video equipment


Computer lock


Para Industrial Co. Ltd
(Taiwan)

Model: EZ-SG01
Description: USB type; USB 2.0; plug-and-play; sets up virtual storage in HDD for personal documents; add, manage, delete functions; 16-character password authentication; 256-bit AES encryption; Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7 OS


Computer lock


Singo Electronics Co. Ltd
(mainland China)

Model: FPR200
MOQ: 100 units
Delivery: 5 days
Description: USB type; USB 2.0, 1.1; built-in sliding fingerprint sensor, 500dpi resolution, <0.1s verification speed, 488fps capture rate, 10 maximum registered fingerprints per user, >1 million times cycle


Computer lock


Sinox Co. Ltd
(Taiwan)

Model: RL307H
MOQ: Negotiable
Description: Mechanical type; 3-digit resettable combination; up to 1,000 codes; memory saver; for desktop PCs


Computer lock


Tai-Lu Industrial Co. Ltd
(Taiwan)

Model: CP2599
MOQ: 2,000 units
Delivery: 30 days
Description: Mechanical type; 4-digit resettable combination, two keys; unlocks with key when combination is forgotten; 5 or 6mm cable diameter, 180cm length; for laptops


Computer lock


Vson Technology Co. Ltd
(mainland China)

Model: V900
MOQ: 200 units
Delivery: 5 days
Description: USB type; RF; software support; prevents keyboard and mouse access; USB wireless receiver, battery-powered portable transmitter


Computer lock


Zhejiang Cixi Anli Fty
(mainland China)

Model: 3603
MOQ: 500 units
Delivery: 10 days
Description: Mechanical type; stainless steel cable; zinc alloy lock with master key; plastic cover, bright chrome finish; for laptops


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.

Disclaimer: All product images are provided by the companies interviewed and are for reference purposes only. Those product images featuring products with trademarks, brand names or logos are not intended for sale. We, our affiliates, and our affiliates' respective directors, officers, employees, representatives, agents or contractors, do not accept and will not have any responsibility or liability for product images (or any part thereof) which infringe on any intellectual property or other rights of a third party.



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