1 Jan 2002
Company Profiles(HKTDC Electronic Components & Parts, Vol 01,2002)
Vol 1, 2002
Vision, Strategies Inspire Success
Solomon Systech Ltd
|Solomon Systech Ltd is a fabless manufacturer of LCD driver ICs with special competence in product development, quality and logistics management.|
IN just two years, Solomon Systech Ltd has established its products and brand name to become a significant player in the global market for cellular phones.
President and managing director Humphrey Leung attributes such rapid progress to the company's vision of becoming a leading semiconductor company and to resulting strategies.
Solomon is a spin-off company of Motorola (a global communications and semiconductor solutions leader). A team experienced in developing and making LCD driver ICs transferred to the new company from the flat-panel display operation of Motorola's semiconductor products section.
Already, Solomon had developed more than 20 new products. Along with Motorola, its customers include Samsung, Acer, Siemens, Palm, Philips and Varitronix. In 2000, Solomon supplied 6.8% of all display ICs (representing 26 million units) to the worldwide cellular-phone market.
Solomon is a "fabless company", one that owns no factories. "Our competence is in product development, quality and logistics management, and these are the areas on which we focus. Although we outsource manufacturing to 12 factories, we do own and control the processes. We have our own quality- and supply-management systems. This strategy allowed us to grow fast," says Leung.
Product development lies at the core of Solomon's business with more than 60 staff members - comprising IC-design people and product engineers - involved. The focus has been on display- and telecoms-related products like display-driver ICs for cellular phones, PDAs, LCDs and OLEDs.
Extensive market research allows Solomon to adapt to changes, remain competitive and maintain supply-chain relationships. It works closely with customers to create added-value products.
"Fundamentals are needed to achieve a global brand name. You need technology and consistent quality, or you cannot compete. Then comes marketing," says Leung.
"We focus on getting one big end-customer, like Motorola, to use and endorse our solution. When Motorola uses our product, it becomes proven. In this way, Solomon gets others to 'speak for it'.
"We have established global offices and distribution channels. We participate in major trade and technology shows, advertise in specialist magazines and support new products through customer visits, press releases and advertising. Sometimes we also work with big customers to promote products together as companion solutions."
Solomon's customers occupy two categories: end-equipment makers (like telephone and PDA manufacturers) and panel makers delivering modules to such companies. Leading markets include Taiwan, South Korea, the US, the Chinese mainland, Singapore, Japan and Europe.
"The Chinese mainland is increasingly important, so we add more people and participate in more exhibitions there," says Leung.
Solomon has received ISO 9001 certification from the British Standard Institute for its design, development and sales of semiconductor IC products and systems. The company earned the Hong Kong New SME Gold Award for 2001.
"We have a clear vision: we want to be a leading semiconductor company and serve a global market," says Leung.
WRITTEN BY ANN WILLIAMS
Solomon Systech Ltd
Units 1-9, 37/F, Tower 1
388 Kwun Tong Rd, Kwun Tong
Kowloon, Hong Kong
|Countless products contain Universal Mfg (HK) Ltd's printed circuit boards assembled by hand insertion, surface mount assembly and bonding.|
UML's main objective is to supply quality, hi-tech, professional electronic components in compliance with customers' designs and backed by professional engineering services. It assembles printed circuit boards (including single-side, double-side and multi-layer PCBs) by hand insertion, surface mount assembly and bonding. Yet its expertise has a wider reach.
"We make many different electronic items since we work to customers' designs," says marketing director Benjamin Po, who demonstrates his point by waving a rough sketch from a European customer.
"We create to customers' requirements, whether the final product is an IC-smart-card control telephone, computer-controlled lamp, power supply or something else."
Since 1988, UML has specialized in both OEM and ODM work. After receiving basic concepts from customers, these are developed in three stages: electronic, mechanical and software.
In addition to PCBs, UML's strengths are to be found in telecoms items, Universal Power Supplies (UPS) and security products.
Although offering wide product choices, UML does not insist that customers place high-volume orders. "We have more than 1,000 workers at our factory on the Chinese mainland, but if a customer only wants a small volume, we can be flexible enough to reduce the production line. It is important to keep customers happy so we can build strong relationships for the long term," Po says.
With clients worldwide, UML is careful to strike a balance between large and small orders. The goal is to maintain about 50% high-volume business, mainly from the US, while also filling smaller orders from Europe and elsewhere. Sometimes the smallest orders involve very high-profile products.
UML has ISO 9002 certification and is considering ISO 14001. It invests in its team of highly qualified engineers by devoting substantial resources to research and development.
Considering the intricacy of PCBs, for example, it is essential to develop machines capable of ever-greater detail while removing possible errors. In turn, that means developing increasingly sophisticated testing machines to safeguard against mistakes undetectable to the eye.
While offering customers leeway in terms of design and capacity, UML practises strict quality control and rigorously tests all its products.
After 14 years of steady success, UML looks forward to fulfilling the needs of an ever-growing client list. "Our company policy is sincere and our commitment is firm," Po says.
WRITTEN BY TONI ASTOR
Universal Mfg (HK) Co Ltd