3 July 2006
Display Delight(HKTDC Electronic Components & Parts, Vol 03,2006)
Microtech Technology Co Ltd
|Microtech Technology Co Ltd offers professional design and manufacturing services for LCD modules|
The road from trading company to internationally-recognised manufacturer can be long and hard, but one Hong Kong firm also found it very rewarding.
Established in 2001, Microtech Technology Co Ltd offers professional design and manufacturing services for hundreds of types of LCD modules. These are used in audio and video products, mobile phones, cameras, PDAs and other hand-held devices where a small-to-medium size viewing screen is needed. The firm also offers OEM services.
"We started out trading in finished LCDs, and it was only in 2003 that we began operating our own factory in the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone on the Chinese mainland," says managing director Edward Chu.
It was Chu's familiarity with the LCD driver business that convinced him of the wisdom of manufacturing over sourcing to stay ahead of competition and secure a market niche.
"Unusually, perhaps, we went straight into advanced manufacturing processes - importing all the necessary machinery from Korea - with continuous product innovations, competitive prices, and total after-sale services," he recalls. "That's how we have managed to maintain a competitive edge."
To fine-tune the business, Microtech also recruits highly qualified and capable professionals, effects transfers of advanced technology, constantly develops new products, and improves processes to enhance the quality of output. In addition, the firm is now ISO 9000-certified.
"From the outset, we have enjoyed working with a very good customer in the US. Thanks to their faith in us, as soon as the building was complete, the machines installed and the lines were up and running, we started providing LCD modules for MP3 players, CD players and SMS mobile machines for them," recalls Chu.
Microtech has also invested in its own research and development teams. "We place great emphasis on R&D, the quality of our equipment and software, and other basic factors that enable us to develop high-quality LCD modules. This helps us to incorporate advances in technology and to quickly accommodate the product needs of many different markets."
The firm's LCDs come in a variety of types from black-and-white to colour TN, STN, colour STN and TFT. Individual parts and components are sourced in Taiwan, Korea and the mainland and used depending on the end-product and the client.
Mostly, Microtech employs Chip-on-Glass (COG) and Tape Automated Bonding (TAB) technologies. "These two offer the advantages of low cost, high contrast, fast response times, wide viewable angles and low power consumption," says Chu.
The COG and TAB technologies also favour LCD driver connection techniques, with their ever-increasing packaging densities.
"The LCD driver, which is an IC, is a key component that controls what and how the screen displays and performs," says Chu. "The client will usually determine the performance requirement, while we design LCD modules with LCD panels and the drivers."
Microtech then packages the drivers into the LCD panels. "The skill we bring to the table is the smart interface that allows the chip to drive the screen. This is where state-of-the-art knowledge and experience comes in, combining the various technologies to meet the client's specifications," says Chu.
It is also important to keep abreast of advances in technology, which Microtech achieves by keeping in constant touch with semiconductor suppliers.
"We also maintain a continuous dialogue with our customers, who best know what they want and are quite aware of what's coming up technologically. If it is upstream technology they are demanding, we look into it in depth as we are customer-oriented and must be able to perform up to their requirements," Chu emphasises.
"Fortunately, we do not have to face stiff competition from the bigger manufacturers as there are lots of opportunities at the SME level. Also, our smaller size makes us more active and adaptable. We can produce smaller orders profitably, whereas larger firms might not find them worthwhile."
Microtech accepts all ODM and OEM orders for LCD modules and offers exclusive rights to clients for selling LCD modules in the client's country or region if requested.
"However, most of our business is ODM, designing products based on customer requirements," says Chu. "We mostly sell to Malaysia, Japan and the US, and the business is running very well."
Illustrating that the risks of changing course can frequently result in much better prospects - and pay days.
WRITTEN BY TONY HENDERSON
Microtech Technology Co Ltd