Wed, Jul 28, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Tatung unveils new MP3 camera

YOUTH MARKET It's a peak season for spending by the affluent young, but the company also targeted the new brand at women, commuters and sports-lovers

By Jackie Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

A model holds up an MP3 player which can display photos stored from digital cameras. The gadget, produced by Tatung Co, marks the first time in the company's 85-year history that Taiwan's household electronics giant has launched a subsidiary label.

PHOTO: GEORGE TSORNG, TAIPEI TIMES

Tatung Co (大同), one of the nation's largest home-appliance makers, unveiled a new product line yesterday to tap the fast-growing digital entertainment market.

The "elio" brand is also expected to build a new image for the 85-year-old company as part of its efforts to appeal to younger generations, the major consumption force for portable electronics products.

"Young people recognize the Tatung brand, but may not identify with it," said Alan Pan (潘泰吉), general manager of Tatung's multimedia communications division at a press conference yesterday.

"Therefore, we would like to demarcate our products by launching different product lines. This is also a global trend," he said.

The event yesterday showcased the first product to be released under the new brand name, the Photo Jukebox, an MP3 player that can display photos stored from digital cameras.

The 178-gram unit is installed with a 2.2-inch diagonal colored screen and has a capacity of 20 gigabytes, capable of storing up to 5,000 songs or 7,000 photos.

The company targets women, commuters, sports lovers and people aged between 18 and 35 as the potential customers for Photo Jukebox, which is priced at NT$14,500, Pan said.

Tatung one of a number of electronics vendors that launched new MP3 players recently by targeting affluent young consumers in the peak summer season.

BenQ Corp (明基電通) unveiled two new models of flash-based MP3 players early this month, while Apple's new iPod Mini is expected to hit the shelves here later this month or early next month, according to an employee at Apple's Taiwan branch.

A market watcher said that Tatung's branding strategy may not create the effect it expects.

"People's brand loyalty in consumer products is weak. Their choices will change quickly when lower prices are offered and new functions are unveiled," said Helen Chen (陳佩君), a market analyst at Polaris Securities Group (寶來證券).

She said the launch of a new product line is merely a marketing strategy and that the effect it is likely to achieve will be smaller than the company hopes, as the market is already inundated with numerous brand names.

Tatung's new product will also hit the shelves in China, the US and Europe early next month but will be marketed under the brand names of their cooperating partners, which Pan said can help the company make inroads into overseas markets.

Tatung plans to roll out 150,000 Photo Jukebox units this year and hopes to sell between 500,000 and 600,000 units next year, according to Pan.

By launching versatile products packaged in fashionable designs, Pan said that Tatung wants to break away from price wars and become a leading manufacturer of portable digital devices.

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