Intel investing in FocalTech Systems, nine other start-ups

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Thu, Oct 04, 2012 – Page 13 News List

US chip giant Intel Corp yesterday announced a US$40 million equity investment to finance 10 global technology start-ups, including Taiwanese touch-sensor supplier FocalTech Systems Co (敦泰).

The investment in FocalTech marked Intel’s latest effort to secure touch sensors and touch panels after it signed agreements with four local touch-panel companies, including TPK Holding Co (宸鴻) and Wintek Corp (勝華), in June to “ensure adequate capacity to meet the expected demand” for touch-enabled Ultrabooks over the next few years.

The investment is being made through Intel’s global investment and merger and acquisition organization, Intel Capital.

FocalTech, unlisted, is a touch-sensor designer founded in 2005 by James Hu (胡正大), a former senior executive with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電).

FocalTech spokesman Pai Pei-lin (白培霖) confirmed Intel’s investment.

“We are included in Intel’s investment portfolio,” Pai said by telephone.

He declined to reveal financial details.

The company counts China’s major smartphone makers Huawei Technologies Ltd (華為), ZTE Corp (中興), Xiaomi Technology (小米) and Lenovo Group (聯想) as its major clients. FocalTech said 70 percent of smartphones on the Chinese market use its touch sensors.

FocalTech expects revenue to reach US$130 million this year, compared with US$40 million last year, given robust end demand for smartphones and tablets. The company also supplies touch sensors for US bookstore chain Barnes & Noble’s tablets.

FocalTech plans to launch an initial public offering on the local stock market next year.

Intel Capital’s US$40 million investment covers a range of technologies from collaborating in the cloud to deliver enhanced digital entertainment to simplifying mobile payments and enabling new forms of device interaction, according to a company statement released yesterday.

Intel Capital has invested US$250 million so far this year.

Last year, Intel Capital invested about US$526 million, including US$409 million in new investments with the biggest portion, about half, in North America.

Taiwan and South Korea grabbed 3 percent, according to Intel Capital, while China accounted for 12 percent.