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Saturday, April 14, 2018, 14:02
Promising entrepreneurs scoop China Daily Innovation Awards
By Evelyn Yu and Aska Cheong in Hong Kong
Saturday, April 14, 2018, 14:02 By Evelyn Yu and Aska Cheong in Hong Kong

Song Ping (5th from right, 2nd row), Deputy Editor-in-Chief of China Daily Asia Pacific, Cemellia So (1st from right, 2nd row), Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Global Sources and Tommy Wong (6th from right, 2nd row), President of Global Sources Electronics pose for a group photo with winners of the China Daily Innovation Awards 2018 at AsiaWorld–Expo, Hong Kong, on April 13, 2018. (PARKER ZHENG / CHINA DAILY)

Innovation and technology companies producing promising gadgets won recognition at the 2018 China Daily Innovation Awards at the world’s largest electronic sourcing fair Global Sources on Friday. 

Among the nine products that won awards were robots designed for the catering industry, a palm-sized 3D camera, a gaming keyboard and a sleeping mask. Three of them bagged the “Most Promising Startup” award, while the other six were awarded for being the “Most Promising Electronic Gadget”.

“The awards have been recognized as an outstanding event to honor game-changing devices and companies in the electronics industry in Asia. We are excited to put these innovations under the spotlight of the show,” said Tommy Wong, president of Electronics Group Global Sources.

China Daily has been awarding innovative products chosen among thousands at the Global Sources Exhibition held at AsiaWorld-Expo since 2016. This year’s fifth awards ceremony was very much in line with the nation’s development trend, with President Xi Jinping reiterating his commitment to innovation for a better future at the 2018 Boao Forum for Asia on Hainan Island last week. 

“China Daily recognizes the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship. That’s why we are here to support all the companies’ outstanding achievements in innovating ideas and products,” said Song Ping, deputy editor-in-chief, China Daily Asia Pacific.

Media consumption has now become so mobile-driven that even traditional-cinema goers are demanding portable movie theater experience. MovieMask, a gadget invented by a team of engineers from Norway, allows users to enjoy immersive cinema and gaming experience with a virtual reality headset equipped with unique lenses. The product won the “Most Promising Startup” prize. 

“There are thousands of virtual reality goggles out there using smartphones as a base. However, all of them operate on the same optical principle while we differ in that part.  We provide 4X resolution and give you access to more content,” said Eirik Garland Wahlstrom, co-founder of MovieMask. 

MovieMask was introduced in Asia for the first time as part of the Global Sources exhibition, with the goggle receiving a positive response from potential buyers. 

Being able to sleep well and a nutritious diet contribute a lot to a healthy lifestyle, and Shenzhen-based company Dreamlight offers to help users to sleep tight. The startup, which produced a winning sleep mask, aims to give users a good night’s sleep with sleep-inducing orange lights and white noise. The mask tracks a user’s sleep quality and generates a tailored sleep schedule within a cross-platform Dreamlight app.  

“We joined the exhibition to search for potential retail partners after selling our products on the crowd-funding website. Some potential buyers from Japan made orders at the exhibition,” said Will Wu, founder of Dreamlight. 

The product has been well received by customers from more than 40 countries on the internet, and the company aims to focus on markets in North America, Europe and Japan in the near future. 

On the food and beverage front, yogurt is widely considered to be healthy and nutrient-rich, but some of the commercial yogurt products in the market contain added sugar and preservatives. Home-made yogurt may be a better choice for health-conscious consumers. 

Yomee, an abbreviation for “yoghurt made easily”, is a yogurt-making machine with stirring, heating up and fermentation functions. The machine also clinched the “Most Promising Startup” prize.

The company has produced a prototype of the multi-function machine and the first batch of the product is ready for manufacturing. The company is looking for retail channels in the Global Sources exhibition. “We are based in Hong Kong and plan to sell the product around the world,” said Stephen Stanton, chief executive officer of Lecker Labs from Hong Kong.

Stanton said they hope to enter markets in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area by securing retailers at the fair.

This year’s China Daily Innovation Awards cast the spotlight on new and emerging gadgets that aim to make our lives easier and funnier. They have the potential to shake up the business models of various industries by addressing some of the chronic problems, including the acute labor shortage. 

One of the awards for the “Most Promising Electronic Gadgets” went to iCase, which serves as an all-round solution case to smartphone nightmares. It charges the battery up in a smartphone - the handset will be charged automatically when the battery drops to a reset voltage level. It also serves as a remote control at home when connected to a mobile app to set the temperature of the air-conditioner, turn on the TV set and control other smart home appliances. 

Electronic devices like drones and 3D cameras help us see the previously unseen. Two winners in this year’s awards were inventors of more advanced versions of such devices.

Holding a black cube the size of a matchbox, Joseph Lin, sales director of Weeview, which is behind SID Camera - the world’s smallest 3D camera - demonstrated to China Daily that high-quality videos could be uploaded to smartphones through wifi in no time. The swiftness is critical for today’s social network addicts who just cannot wait to share their life moments. 

Despite DJI’s dominating market share in drones both at home and abroad, Shenzhen Simtoo Intelligent Technology presented Dragonfly - a lighter, foldable drone with a battery that can last around half-an-hour -  a relatively enduring time among the current drone alternatives.

“I think DJI’s success has made us very proud, but it doesn’t mean there isn’t room for other players to fit in,” said Joe Tham, co-founder of Simtoo Intelligent Technology, “Actually, their success secures the foothold of Chinese brands in overseas markets and is conducive to the whole sector. A big chunk of our revenues is from the European market,” he said.

As video games and e-sport catch on among youngsters, Shenzhen Delux Technology, a leading manufacturer of computer peripherals, is reaping profits from its single-handed keyboards specialized for video gamers. Its latest model, T9X, a gaming pad for varied popular games, bagged this year’s “Most Promising Electronc Gadget” award.

“We’ve closely watched Smash Hit video games, both for PC and mobile and developed specific keyboards accordingly that would optimize gamers’ experience,” Kevin Lai, deputy general manager of Delux, told China Daily. As Tencent’s multiplayer online game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds gripped Chinese mainland gamers last year, one of Delux’s keyboards specialized for such gamers saw its sales double last year, Lai said. 

He said such computer and mobile accessories hold great promise for the future riding on the unabated frenzy of e-sports.

Two other winning gadgets seem a perfect duo in the catering industry. After the food delivery robot, PuduBot developed by Shenzhen Pudu Technology, brought meals to customers, the baton is now passed to Dexterous robotic hand, created by Beijing-based Inspire Robots Technology to serve the meals on the table. 

There has been food delivery robots in the past few years in the market, said Jerome Liu, sales director for Pudu but, for years, such robots have been wobbling their way to the dinner table - as adhesive magnetic tape is required to be affixed on the floor for the robots to track. To some extent, it lessened the appeal to customers.

The multi-storied PuduBot, which looks like a free-wheeling bookshelf on the run, has the mobility free of magnetic tape. Worries that they may collide with each other in the hustle is also unnecessary, as such robots are mutually repelled when approached too close as programmed.

Cai Yingpeng, chief executive officer of Beijing Inspire Robots Technology, saw a huge demand for the application of robotics in the catering business amid rising labor costs, especially in developed economies. “Much of the work in robotics has been placed in interactive robots, but I do believe we should put robots to ‘work’, that robots should be designed to solve problems and ultimately free us from onerous, repetitive labor,” he said. 

More than 3,800 booths will be showcasing auto electronics, smart living and components in the Consumer Electronics Zone at the Global Sources fair to be held from April 11-14.

The Mobile Electronics show will run from April 18 to 21, with booths exhibiting the latest mobile devices and accessories, such as speakers, headphones, VR/AR products and wearables.

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