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An update on the state of the electronics industry in South Africa - Part VIII

19 May 2004 News

An important niche area where the local electronics industry has been particularly successful, is in vehicle tracking and recovery. There are several suppliers in South Africa of such systems but one that offers both a wide range of solutions and has a high installed base is Netstar. Netstar is a subsidiary of the Altech electronics group.

Netstar's engineers developed the concept from 1992, the first systems being introduced in 1994, at which time this was the first vehicle tracking system to be introduced in South Africa. Today, Netstar installs some 7000 units per month and has an installed base of over 130 000 vehicles. The company believes that its market share in 2003 was some 47%. During the financial year ending in 2003 almost 4000 vehicles worth in excess of R467 million were recovered.

Perhaps more significant is that Netstar has successfully established franchise operations in many other countries in southern Africa including Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia. A coup for the company during 2003 was the signing of a multimillion rand licence agreement to extend the Netstar operation into Malaysia. The agreement was signed with Proton which manufactures some 200 000 cars per year and the Netstar systems will be installed on the vehicle assembly line. During the initial phase the Netstar units will continue to be manufactured in South Africa but this could change.

The Netstar devices manufactured in South Africa are designed to meet certain rigorous requirements in that they must not interfere with the host vehicle's electronic systems and as a result they are subjected to a variety of international ISO and IEC tests. The devices have also been designed to meet the operational conditions of the harsh local environment.

This series looks at some of the leading companies in the electronics industry in South Africa today. To simplify presentation and avoid perceptions that they are being 'rated' in any way, this coverage is being presented in alphabetical order. Do not miss the next issue of Dataweek where we look at a company that develops, manufactures and markets systems for the detection, counting, access and control of vehicles, traffic and people.





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