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An Apple Accessories Maker Scrambles to Keep Up

By getting into the electronics accessories market, Matthew Vroom picked one of the most unforgiving businesses in tech, where startup failures abound. Mr. Vroom made life even harder for his company, Henge Docks, by specializing in high-quality docking stations for notebooks made by Apple, whose secrecy about new product designs has forced Henge Docks to play catch-up with its own products.

As a U.S. company that manufactures in China, Henge Docks also offers a window into a geopolitical topic currently roiling the business world. In China, the company has had to fight local copycat products, the kind of conflict over intellectual property that is at the heart of the U.S.-led trade war with the country. At the same time, Mr. Vroom’s experience with the global supply chain highlights the challenges President Donald Trump faces bringing manufacturing back to the U.S., where China’s capabilities sometimes far outstrip those of its Western counterparts.

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‘The saddest halls at the Consumer Electronics Show are the accessory halls. ...It's a brutal industry to be in.’