IQE executes multi-year agreement with global consumer electronics leader

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By Louis Allen - 

United Kingdom semiconductor company IQE (LSE: IQE) has entered into a multi-year strategic agreement with an undisclosed “global consumer electronics leader” based in Asia.

The agreement is focused on the high-volume production of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) for advanced 3D sensing applications, and highlights the company’s push to expand into Asia.

It will also focus on joint research and development for next generation sensing technologies and use cases.

IQE chief executive officer Americo Lemos said the deal marks the beginning of what he hopes is a long relationship between the two industry leaders.

“At IQE we have demonstrated our ability to deliver unparalleled levels of innovation, scale and quality over the history of our VCSEL production,” he said

“To secure this partnership with a consumer electronics company of this calibre, reaffirms our position as the leading global vendor of VCSEL products to the semiconductor industry.”

IQE expects the multi-year agreement will strengthen its position as a market leader in 3D sensing.

IQE deals with Korean company SK Siltron

IQE’s latest deal marks the second Asia-based partnership in a week, after inking a strategic collaboration agreement with Korean company SK Siltron for the development and commercialisation of its computer chip products on the continent.

SK Siltron focuses on next-generation semiconductor devices and the agreement was set up to aid business in the Asian market, using SK Siltron’s expertise to aid IQE’s existing epitaxy strengths.

The companies will develop and deliver epiwafers based on gallium nitride (GaN) on silicon carbide for radio frequency applications in the wireless communications market and GaN on silicon for power electronics applications across a variety of applications.

IQE highlighted the window of opportunities, indicating the numerous markets represent a multi-billion dollar opportunity for GaN devices.

“There are tremendous synergies between IQE’s GaN pedigree and SK Siltron’s substrate offerings, and we will leverage these to bring innovative solutions to market,” Mr Lemos said.

IQE prioritises Asia push

Cardiff-headquartered company aims to penetrate Asian markets, with its advanced compound semiconductor wafers and material solutions.

Asia’s markets have suffered as a result of the tensions between the US and China in recent times, with the US also imposing export restrictions limiting China’s access to high-end semiconductors.

Mr Lemos spoke of the company’s Asia push last week, suggesting it would be a significant growth opportunity for the company.

“Expansion in Asia is a key focus for IQE, and we are excited to be partnering with a globally-recognised leader in advanced materials,” he said.

IQE’s strategy aims to rival the US’ Chips Act, helping the UK to compete with China and Taiwan.

Taiwan is seven times smaller than the UK, but remains the world’s largest chipmaking hub.

“It’s [increasing Asia presence] would really position IQE and the UK as a world leader of compound manufacturing,” Mr Lemos said.

“It would allow the UK to have a seat at the semiconductor table alongside Taiwan.”

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