Firm seeing double sales growth per year, CEO says
Semiconductor startup Qualitas Semiconductor is eyeing the advanced semiconductor market such as those used for data center with its high-speed interconnect IPs, CEO Duho Kim told TheElec in an interview.
Kim said the interconnect IP business requires knowledge of circuit design for both analog and digital semiconductors, which means it has a high entry barrier and its a high value market.
The startup, founded in 2017, is aiming to expand its business using next-generation IPs that can be used in data centers and other applications, the CEO said.
The company offers IPs for interconnect solutions from IPs, SoCs to modules. Its IPs are mostly related to optical telecommunication and display communication.
Qualitas secured a 112Gb/s SERDES IP this year, the first for a South Korean fabless company.
It is aiming to commercialize the technology with its customer Samsung Electronics for the FinFET process by next year.
Kim said the company plans to enter the SERDES-based SoC and module market in the future.
SERDES changes the parallel data set to in serial form that they can transfer quickly in one channel, then converts them back to parallel.
The interest in interconnect IP is increasing as more data are being required to process for AI applications and large data centers. According to IC Insights, the global interconnect IP market was worth US$1 billion last year but this will grow to US$2.7 billion by 2025.
Qualitas recorded 1.25 billion won in sales in 2019; it recorded 2.15 billion won in 2020. CEO Kim said the company is seeing its sales double every year and is expected to record over 120 billion won in annual sales in 2025.
The company has 80 employees, with 70 of them working in research and development. Kim said he is aiming to secure more talents to develop new IPs.
The CEO worked at Samsung Electronics for around four years to learn the ropes on chip design and related work.
The IP business requires consistent maintenance costs as chip production processes are constantly evolving so the firm requires many experts, the CEO said. The company is aiming to secure around 150 employees, mostly in research, to stay competitive, he added.