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Opto Tech to develop high-performance photo coupler SoC

LED chip and Si-based sensor chip maker Opto Tech will develop high-performance photo coupler SoC for which average selling processes are about 10 times compared to general photo coupler sensing devices, according to company president David Huang at an August 31 investor conference.

With a capital expenditure budget of NT$800 million (US$28.6 million), Opto Tech will set up production lines for high-performance photo coupler SoC, long-wavelength VCSEL, LED, and photodiode chips, remove bottlenecks in the manufacturing process to increase output, upgrade CIM (computer integrated manufacturing) system, cooperate with New Smart Technology (of which Opto Tech is a shareholder) to introduce AI-based AOI (automated optical inspection) to increase the quality of products and efficiency in production, Huang said.

Along with the fast-growing development of 5G, AI, automated industrial control, automotive electronic components, power charging piles, and battery management systems used for electric vehicles, global demand for photo coupler devices will increase fast as well, Huang noted.

According to UK-based Omdia, the global market value for high-performance photo coupler devices will increase from US$870 million in 2021 to US$1.066 billion in 2025.

Global demand for Si-based sensor chips in 2022 is expected to grow 30-45% on year, Huang said. For Si-based sensor chips used in smartwatches, in particular, Opto Tech occupies over 50% of the global market currently, Huang indicated, adding that some of the clients are in talks with Opto Tech about long-term orders with shipments to be scheduled for 2022-2023.

Of Opto Tech's first-half 2021 total sales revenues of NT$2.830 billion, Si-based sensor chips accounted for 61.93%, visible and invisible LED chips and packaged devices for 27.64%, LED lighting products and fine-pitch displays for 10.43%. Of the first half of 2021 combined sales revenues for Si-based sensor chips as well as LED chips and devices, 42% came from Taiwan, 27% from the US and Europe, 12% from China and Southeast Asia, 15% from Japan, 4% from South Korea.

Opto Tech has raised additional paid-in capital of NT$1.376 billion from Japan-based Nichia via private placement.