GEORGE TOWN: Aemulus Holdings Bhd is looking at opportunities in China to help the group return to the black in the 2021 financial year ending next Sept 30.
Group chief executive officer Ng Sang Beng told StarBiz that China’s electronic companies lack the capabilities and experience to design and develop their radio frequency (RF) testers.
“They need to source externally RF testers and the intellectual properties that can help them to produce their RF testers.
“Aemulus is one of the few companies in Asia that own the intellectual properties to design and develop RF testers, ” he said.
Ng said Aemulus had recently in the first quarter secured a US$1.3mil contract to deliver RF testers to a China-based company over 18 months.
“We have also recently sold about US$900,000 worth of intellectual properties to our joint-venture partner TMSS Co Ltd, ” he added.
Ng was commenting on business opportunities in China in a webinar dialogue titled “The China Series: Creating a Golden Ticket in Semiconductors, ” organised by Star Media Group, with Aemulus as the partner.
The speakers are Ng, Special Investment Advisor to Chief Minister of Penang Datuk Seri Lee Kah Choon and University of Malaya Asia Europe Institute senior advisor Cheong Kee-Cheok. The webinar was moderated by Malaysian American Electronics Industry chairman Datuk Seri Wong Siew Hai.
According to Ng, China currently imports about US$300bil worth of chips.
“The Chinese government wants to reduce it by 70%, and it has set 2025 as the deadline to achieve the goal.
“This means China would need to source locally in the country about US$200bil worth of chips, of which 5G RF chips form a significant portion.
“China, therefore, would need also to buy more RF testers, ” Ng added.
According to Ng, besides RF testers, China also needs to acquire the technologies to develop electronic design automation tools, front-end wafer manufacturing equipment, and integrated circuits. “The opportunities are in China for those companies willing to share their technologies, ” Ng said.
On the impact of the pandemic on China’s economy, Cheong said China entered into the new normal two years ago.
“Even before the pandemic, China’s growth has slowed. However, the growth was of higher quality.
“China’s economy has also become domestically driven, with the rural sector growing a bit faster.
“China has also been moving towards online transactions faster than the US and other countries.
“These factors help to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on China’s economy, ” Cheong added.
On US and China tensions, Cheong said there was no real economics behind the call for decoupling China and US.
“We have been asked to choose between China and US on geo-strategic criteria, ” Cheong said.
On whether Malaysia can attract high-value investments, Cheong said over the past few years, Malaysia’s technology has fallen behind that of China.
“The value-added imparted to the supply-chain to China has fallen. We have a lot of catching up to do, ” he said.
Meanwhile, Lee said Malaysia needed to determine whether it has the capacity and the capability to absorb what the Chinese wanted to invest here.
“China’s population is about 1.3 billion, while Malaysia has only a population of 30 million.
“In Shanghai and Beijing, there are one million graduates every year, while in Malaysia, we have only about 20,000 graduates.
“Malaysia cannot do the things that China can.
“We need to position ourselves in the niche market and focus on low volume and high-mixed product business, ” he said.
On 2021, Lee said he was very optimistic about the future.
“We have technologies with excellent growth potential such as artificial intelligence, automation, electric vehicles, 5G, and renewable energy.
“Regardless of whether there is a depression coming, given the evolution of these technologies I am confident that we will be able to ride through the challenges ahead, ” Lee said.