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11 August 2015, Kuala Lumpur - Pensonic Holdings Berhad (Pensonic) launched its "Fonebud" Brand and "Fonebud Essential Plus" today. The event, hosted by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), was graced by YB Dato' Seri Ong Ka Chuan, Minister of International Trade and Industry II with the presence of YBhg. Dato' Azman Mahmud, Chief Executive Officer of MIDA and Mr. Dixon Chew, CEO of Pensonic Group.
Realising the vast potential of IoT (Internet of Things) in influencing the future, Pensonic, an established Malaysian manufacturer of Electrical Home Appliances (EHA), has diversified into the designing and manufacturing of smart devices that are trendy and lifestyle oriented, yet scalable and functional. Mr.Dixon Chew, Chief Executive Officer of Pensonic says, "It all started when I met Dr.Sunny Koay, the Chief Executive Officer of SUNWEU Sdn Bhd (SUNWEU), a leading Malaysian distributor of international mobile phone accessories. I shared with him over a tea chat about creating an intelligent power bank that is versatile and scalable to accommodate present and future innovations".
With Pensonic's strength in branding, product development and supply chain management, coupled with SUNWEU's knowledge and experience in marketing and distribution of international mobile phone accessory brands, both leaders decided to turn the intelligent power bank idea into a reality. Within six months after their discussion, Pensonic formed its Innovation Team, who were Malaysian talents handpicked by Mr.Dixon himself to kick start this project. The objective of this Innovation Team was to explore the smartphone accessories market and develop a new range of products. This new brand’s first product design was conceptualised and a prototype was developed. This innovative brand was called "Fonebud" and the product was named "Fonebud Essential Plus". The name "Fonebud" came from "Fone", which is a stylised word for phone, representing communications, while "Bud" is from buddy, an informal term for friend. "Fonebud" is aptly named as communications buddy or partner as it is an indispensable device that is essential to keep with a smartphone user at all times. Not only is Fonebud a smartphone's best friend, it is also a smartphone user's best buddy.
In his speech, YB Dato’ Seri Ong Ka Chuan said that Pensonic is in the forefront of Malaysian companies that utilise local manpower to spearhead the development of creative and innovative home appliances. The unique innovation developed by the Pensonic Innovation Team marks another milestone for the company and also the nation as it highlights Malaysia’s progress as a centre of excellence in the electronic and communication devices industries. The company's move is also very much aligned with Malaysia's focus on the development of high value-added, technology intensive and knowledge based industries in new growth areas.
“We need to be more selective and targeted in attracting investments and enhancing the ecosystem to make it more conducive to the needs of investors, of innovation-minded companies and to increase productivity. The successful implementation of this strategy is crucial if we are to achieve our goal of becoming a high-income economy by 2020. The revised policies and restructured process under the rubric of the ETP and the Government Transformation Programme are geared towards this target. Just as vital is the participation of the private sector. After all, Malaysia's economic growth is predicated on the close collaboration among the public and private sectors,” he added.
Fonebud Essential Plus was first showcased at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair in October 2014, where this product was among the six finalists selected to receive the prestigious Innovation Award. After the overwhelming response at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair last year, the Fonebud Essential Plus was introduced earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015 in Las Vegas. Fonebud was the only Malaysian exhibitor among the 3,600 international exhibitors who participated at the CES in Las Vegas this year, but managed to catch the attention of international media and has received favourable reviews from TPN.tv, DigiLife under Thailand's Nation Television, TEC Peru, Poc Network Tech Blog, Health Tech Weekly, ERing and many more.
This amazing, ergonomically designed 5,000 mAH power bank is packed with essential features such as two devices pairing to synch smartphone with Fonebud Essential Plus. Once the smartphone is paired with Fonebud Essential Plus, you can take your calls on Fonebud Essential Plus while your smartphone is being charged. Having bluetooth 4.0 connection means radiation and heat emissions are minimal during long conversations while using Fonebud Essential Plus. The expensive, dainty smartphone can be tucked away safety while the hardy Fonebud Essential Plus takes the calls. Other functions of Fonebud Essential Plus is it can be used as remote selfie shutter and has a range alarm prompt whenever either the smartphone or Fonebud Essential Plus is out of the 10 meter radius range. Another important feature is its easily accessible one touch torch light that comes in handy during emergencies. The Fonebud Essential Plus's app is free of charge and can be downloaded from Google Playstore or iTunes store. Now, Fonebud is offering Fonebud Essential Plus to be purchased either in bulk as a premium gift made exclusively with a specific design for a certain brand or client, or as a single unit with customised design.
According to eMarketer, it estimates more than 5.13 billion people globally will use smartphones in 2017, or 69.4% of all mobile phone users will do so. When it came to smartphone accessories breakdown, 70% comprised covers while the other 30% were powerbanks (10%), speakers (10%), and the last 10% were miscellaneous items such as smartwatches, headphones and other items. In the first quarter of 2015, from the total of 342 million handphones shipped, 78% are smartphones. An interesting emerging trend is Chinese brands are slowly gaining over the established international brands. Based on market numbers, Malaysia has the highest number of smartphone market penetration compared to other South East Asian countries, making Malaysia the best target for Fonebud’s launch.
Currently, 10,000 units of Fonebud have been released this year for the domestic market. Another 50,000 units will be released soon where about 70% of this volume will be distributed to the international market. The first batch from the 50,000 units will be distributed in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Mexico whereas the second batch will be released in Dubai, India, Japan, Russia and the United States. SunWeu has sole distributorship of the Fonebud Brand in Malaysia (website: Sun-u.com).
Fonebud's expansion plan is gradual but steady, with an appointed select partner from each country worldwide. Within the next two years, Fonebud plans to appoint a total of 50 dedicated distribution partners. These select distribution partners will be offered opportunity to develop an exclusive partnership where they will co-author or change this innovative product range according to their localised needs. Under this co-authorship or shared innovation policy, all partners can feedback and request specific features, colours or functions based on their clients' needs or requirements.
There are many new products in the pipeline for release next year while Fonebud continues to explore and penetrate both local and international markets.