While international IC players such as Atmel, Cypress and Synaptics are currently dominating the global touchscreen controller IC market, Melfas, Zinitix and Imagis Technology are emerging as the leading touch controller vendors in Korea, according to Digitimes Research.
Melfas began venturing into the touch controller chip market in 2005 and managed to ramp up total sales of its touch controller ICs to KRW160.83 billion (US$151.9 million) in 2012. Buoyed by its expanding portfolios of touch-enabled ICs, Melfas' touch controller sales amounted to KRW110.93 billion in the first three quarters of 2013, up 2.9% from a year earlier.
Samsung Electronics began to step up its purchases of G1F(glass-film) touchscreens from Melfas in the fourth quarter of 2012 due to tight supply of ITO (indium tin oxide) films at Samsung. A continued cooperation between Samsung and Melfas will be positive to the future development of the Korea's touch controller IC vendor, said Digitimes Rsearch.
Zinitix began to develop its touch controller ICs in 2000 and ramped up its revenues to KRW21 billion in 2012. However, Zinitix managed to secure equity investment from Intel Capital in April 2013, which will help it accelerate development of related touch controller IC parts and boost its sales to overseas markets.
Imagis saw its touch-enabled IC revenues decline to KRW800 million in 2012 as sales of its resistive touch controller ICs were affected by the growing popularity of capacitive touch controller parts. Nevertheless, Imagis began to ship its capacitive touch controller ICs to Samsung and some China-based device makers in the second quarter of 2013 and saw its touch IC revenues amounted to KRW10.99 billion in the first three quarters of 2013.
Measures being taken by Samsung recently, including a push for standardization of sensor patterns for touchscreen controller ICs made in Korea and an expansion of its touch controller IC suppliers to include Imagis and G2 Touch in addition to Melfas and Zinitix, will help ramp up the ratio of homegrown touchscreen controller ICs in Korea, Digitimes Research believes.