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Monday December 17, 2007

Aemulus gets MNCs’ attention

Formed barely two years ago, Aemulus Sdn Bhd has generated a lot of interest from multinational corporations (MNCs) with its semiconductor automated test equipment (ATE). 

Aemulus semiconductor ATE, designed with a special technology known as 'Avalanche', has caught the attention from MNCs in India, Taiwan and Malaysia. 

Aemulus chief executive officer Ng Sang Beng, said in an interview it had just appointed a company in Taiwan to distribute its ATE under the brand names Aemulus in Taiwan and China. 

Ng Sang Beng
“We will set up a sales and servicing office in Taiwan soon. Aemulus is also in talks with another company based in Singapore to distribute our semiconductor ATE in India and in Southeast Asia. We expect our products to be in these countries by early next year,” he said. 

Ng said the company would set up a sales and servicing office in Malacca next month to serve its multinational corporation customers in the Southern region. 

Aemulus designs semiconductor test equipment for verifying the functionality of micro-controllers, microprocessors, and digital signal processors used in digital, analogue, and mixed signal consumer electronics products.  

The 'Avalanche' technology is used to design the ATE's test modules, architectural platform, software, and hardware logic system. 

The 'Avalanche' technology, which will be patented soon, increases the speed of testing and shortens the entire test process. 

Ng said Aemulus' semiconductor ATE attracted attention from MNCs because they were designed to test the low and medium range consumer electronics products. 

“The price of our unit ranged between RM50,000 and RM500,000, or about 40% of the price of imported semiconductor ATE. 

“Presently, manufacturers of low and medium range consumer electronics products use semiconductor ATE from the United States and Japan to test the functionality of the microprocessors in their products. 

“These imported semiconductor equipment are designed to test complex consumer electronics products. 

“The imported brand names are costly and only about 20% of the features are relevant for the testing of low and medium range consumer electronics goods,” he said.  

Ng said the company was now producing five units of semiconductor ATE per month. 

“We expect by early next year to increase the monthly production figure to 20, as we have already received orders from MNCs in Malaysia and in Taiwan,” he said. 

“This is due to the growing demand for hand-phones, personal device assistants, digital cameras, and light emitting diodes (LEDs),” he said. 

Ng and five of his partners, who are also engineers, started Aemulus upon leaving their job in one of the MNCs in Penang. 

“We saw a need for such semiconductor ATE in the market, and managed to convince an “angel” investor to back us up,” he said, adding that Aemulus was started with an initial capital outlay of RM2mil. 

Ng said to stay lean and competitive, Aemulus outsourced the fabrication and assembly of printed circuit boards to subcontractors in Malaysia and in Singapore.  

“Presently our competitors are the big players from US and Japan, where branded semiconductor test equipment such as Credence, LTX, Teradyne, and Advantest are produced. 

“The global market share of these giants at present is worth about US$4bil and expected to rise to approximately US$5bil in 2010. 

“Aemulus strives to achieve approximately 1% of this market share, which will be approximately US$45mil by 2010,” he said.