18 Jan 2006
Maximising Opportunities(HKTDC Electronic Components & Parts, Vol 01,2006)
Solomon Systech Ltd
|Solomon Systech Ltd is a leading fabless semiconductor company specialising in the design, development and sales of proprietary IC products|
Solomon Systech puts the focus on the design, development and sales of proprietary IC products that enable sophisticated display applications seen in mobile phones, hand-held devices and LCD television sets.
The company gained ISO 9001 certification in March 2000 (subsequently upgraded in 2002), and witnessed the opening of its Shenzhen Technology Centre in November 2001.
Even more significantly, in April 2004 the company was listed on the main board of the Hong Kong stock exchange. By August 2004, Solomon had launched its Singapore Technology Centre - and by year-end witnessed its initial 33-person workforce increase to 230.
Today, the company serves a blue-chip portfolio of global customers and has received many awards from clients, suppliers and industry organisations in addition to the investment community.
"In the beginning," recalls product marketing manager C. K. Chow, "our main business was in LCD drivers - semiconductors - for the then most-popular communications devices, which were pagers and mobile phones." Following that period, the firm developed more ICs for different display technologies used in mobile phones and other portable electronic devices.
"Our differentiating element - and something that is at the heart of our company - is the body of protected intellectual property that we can lever into all of our products," says Chow.
"Today, our display ICs are endorsed and widely used by global mobile phone brand names, and we are currently a market leader in this sector."
Indeed, Chow claims there is data showing that for every five mobile phones in use anywhere in the world, one is using a display driver designed by Solomon Systech.
"Our own calculations show that we are probably among the top three producers of mobile phone drivers in the world," he claims.
Certainly in terms of sales revenue, the company is the largest vendor of fabless ICs in Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland. In addition, it is diversifying into new areas such as large displays for LCD TVs, computer monitors, notebook computers and other hi-tech consumer electronic products employing new display technologies such as micro-displays and e-paper.
With expertise in Mixed Mode High Voltage System-On-Chip (HV-SoC) and Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) design, Solomon Systech maintains an edge over its competitors in the fast-changing flat-panel display field. "We possess the agility and ability to quickly and successfully commercialise new product ideas," says Chow.
The firm intends making even more products available, including multimedia processors and micro-display controllers. "We also have a team doing R&D on applications such as multimedia processors that are something different from display drivers, and we hope to expand the applications such as large-panel displays for TVs," says Chow. "The common denominator in all this activity, of course, being the successful development of faster and better IC chips and technology."
Chow is also adamant that the future lies in a burgeoning demand for flat panel display ICs. "This business is only just beginning," he asserts, "and growth is projected to be dramatic as new display possibilities and functions are explored."
Solomon Systech does not own or operate any assembly plants for the manufacture of its ICs. "This offers good opportunities, as the slimmer we are the more efficient we can be and the more we can focus on product development," says Chow.
He assures that Solomon Systech's commitment to continuous investment means the company will remain at the forefront of all related new activities in the electronics sector. "We stand ready to provide the ICs and develop the emerging technologies and the next generation of products that will define a new electronics era," Chow says.
"We invest a lot in developing advanced technology, and we try to move faster than others to maintain our market edge. However, this adds to the pressures and the constant search to find ways and means to stay ahead of the competition. For us, it all comes down to creativity, innovation and making earlier, better use of advanced technology. But it is very difficult to stay a market leader in this business!"
Solomon Systech certainly appears to be well on track to do just that, integrating technology with good business sense.
WRITTEN BY TONY HENDERSON
Solomon Systech Ltd