There's plenty of action in two of the hottest emerging areas, as vendors push RFID technology into the booming Chinese industrial market.
Zebra Technologies is teaming up with Digital China Holdings Ltd., a Beijing-based company with a distribution network that includes over 6,000 agents. The Vernon Hills, IL, vendor will provide systems and support for RFID and bar code equipment. Digital China will market Zebra's RFID and bar code equipment throughout China. Last year, Zebra began a program aimed at cracking the Chinese market.
One of Europe's largest RFID suppliers, ASK RFID of Sophia-Antipolis, France, formed a joint venture with Tsinghua Tongfang (THTF), China's third largest computer manufacturer. Beijing-based ASK TongFang will initially deliver pre-laminated contactless products and contactless paper tickets to China, with plans to expand into other consumer markets.
Though there's a big push in China, there's still concern that the country will develop its own standards, impacting the volumes that could come if China uses formats used by the rest of the world. MarketStrat Inc. of Fremont, CA, predicts that the worldwide market for RFID products will surpass $2 billion this year, up sharply from $1.49 billion last year. That estimate includes readers, tags, and software and services. RFID tags will jump from $300 million worldwide in 2004 to $2.8 billion in 2009, according to In-Stat of Scottsdale, AZ. For more information on Zebra, go to http://rbi.ims.ca/4401-554. For more information on ASK, go to http://rbi.ims.ca/4401-555.