South Korea’s ITM Semiconductor has exclusively supplied battery Protection Circuit Module Packages (PMPs) for Apple’s Airpod Pro earphones, according to industry sources.
This marks the first time that the manufacturer was confirmed to have supplied to the US-based tech company. Industry watchers believe the contract could lead to deals for supplying to iPhones and iPads. ITM is currently hoping to supply circuits to the budget-type Airpod Pros -- minus the noise-cancelling function -- as well.
ITM has been supplying the parts to other Chinese smartphones such as Huawei, Xiaomi and Vivo since last year. The South Korean firm is now expecting to post up to 900 billion won of revenues from these deals including the one with Apple.
PMPs can effectively reduce the size of the device because it encompasses the protection IC, the MOSFET and the PCB. It also doesn’t require a holder case, unlike protection circuit modules. PMP allows smartphones to become 57% smaller and for wireless earphones, 55% smaller.
Meanwhile, the wireless earphone market has been showing exponential growth in recent years. At its earnings report for the final quarter of 2019 from July to September, Apple said it posted sales of $6.5 billion from wearables and related accessories such as earphones used in not just smartphones, but for the Apple Watch, Apple TV and the iPod.
The sales showed a significant surge following the launch of the Airpod series, and also exceeds the $4.6 billion for iPads.
According to market research firm Counterpoint Research, global wireless earphone sales rose 56% on-year in the second quarter of this year to 27 million units. By 2021, the market is expected 새 be worth up to 27 billion.
Established in 2000, ITM Semiconductor is an affiliate of Nice Group. It is headquarterd in Cheongju City and was listed on the Kosdaq this month. Last year, its sales stood at 228.2 billion won, with an operating profit of 21.1 billion won. Operating profit rate was at 8%. This year, it expects to post sales of 300 billion won with a 10% operating ratio.
The Elec is South Korea’s No.1 tech news platform.