Taiwan-based Profet AI poised to scale up in Asia

Peng Chen, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

Jerry Huang is the co-founder and CEO of Profet AI. Credit: Profet AI

Manufacturing is the cornerstone of many Asian countries. Profet AI helps manufacturers improve efficiency by empowering their employees with AI. The Taiwan-based AI software developer has launched an ambitious plan to expand in Asia, especially China, Japan and Vietnam.

Jerry Huang, co-founder and CEO of Profet AI, said the company's first-generation product, AutoML Platform, integrates over 50 machine learning algorithms commonly used in manufacturing to support customers in production, sales, human resources, R&D and finance to form prediction models. They can use the models in the R&D process, predicting employee turnover and many other tasks.

Huang said a large enterprise might use AI to predict thousands of subjects. Therefore, it is essential to standardize the process. That is why Profet AI plans to launch the second-generation product, AI Lifecycle Management (AILM), in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Huang explained that AILM will tackle how a judgment in the manufacturing process was formed and the critical process parameters that might be used. AILM can help new staff learn the domain know-how of experienced staff through prediction models.

Targeting 12 leading manufacturing groups

Huang described Profet AI's mission as assisting customers in equipping 80% of their crucial workforce with AI abilities to achieve digital transformation. Experienced workers with AI knowledge could be a new "weapon" for companies, he added.

Established in 2018, Profet AI has accumulated 150 customers in Taiwan, with 70% of them being high-tech manufacturers. The company's solutions have been adopted by producers in semiconductor, textile, rubber, automotive and many other industries, including AUO and Cheng Shin Rubber.

Huang said Profet AI targeted 12 groups of Taiwanese manufacturers, including semiconductor and printed circuit board producers, at the beginning of its establishment. Now, the company has accumulated customers from all 12 sectors, of which Taiwan is the leader. Suppliers for those industries are also getting interested in Profet AI and are willing to know how its AI technology can help.

Scaling up Chinese market with AUO DigiTech

Profet AI has the ambition to become a global software company headquartered in Taiwan, Huang said. To be the front-runner of machine learning in the manufacturing industry, the company has to expand its reach in China.

In May 2023, Profet AI formed Aedgetech, a joint venture, with AUO Digitech in Suzhou, China. Huang said the reputation and resources AUO built in China will accelerate Profet AI's expansion.

He also said Profet AI has encountered less competition in China as the country's AI talents mostly work in retail. Moreover, China's manufacturing industry closely resembles that of Taiwan, largely due to the substantial contribution of Taiwanese skilled workers to its development.

Huang said China also hosts the 12 groups of manufacturers that Profet AI is working with. The company can leverage its domain know-how to engage with Chinese customers who intend to understand how Taiwanese competitors adopt AI.

Huang said AI can significantly improve a company's efficiency. In addition, the technology could standardize judgment and help workers pass down their knowledge and experience.

For example, Huang said a procurement supervisor can use AI to predict prices monthly, streamlining the working process. If the supervisor leaves the company, their know-how and prediction models will stay and help a successor make procurement decisions easily.

Huang said if every employee uses the platform's AI tools properly, the prediction models will become more intelligent. The situation will help a company be more sustainable and grow in a new market.

Japanese manufacturers considering AI technology

A new market that Profet AI plans to expand to is Japan. The company has participated in local events for startups and worked with accelerators. Huang, who visited the country in September, said the atmosphere in the manufacturing sector is different now. As Japan's economy gradually recovers, business owners are gaining more confidence in the industry outlook. They are beginning to consider digital transformation and the implementation of AI technology in their businesses.

Huang also said Japanese companies are more open-minded and willing to learn from others now. The above changes will create a great opportunity for Profet AI.

He acknowledged that the company will encounter more competition in Japan, which has long favored US and European software companies. But he said Profet AI's customer base, domain knowledge, and experiences in working with various manufacturers will help the company set a foothold in the country.

Changing Vietnam presents new opportunities

Due to geopolitics and the friendshoring policy promoted by the US, businesses are moving operations to Vietnam.

In June this year, Profet AI held an event in the Southeast Asian country. According to Huang, the company organized a large group comprising venture capital, AI experts in Taiwan and about 40 Taiwan-based customers who have a presence in Vietnam. These companies shared their stories about leveraging AI with over 60 Vietnamese businesses.

Huang said Vietnam has had a different mindset. The country used to focus on attracting foreign investment to create job opportunities rather than retaining businesses. Now, the Vietnamese government and startups realize that it is essential to keep manufacturing in the country. They want to know how Taiwan makes its manufacturing sector sustainable and cooperates with China.

Those who invest in Vietnam also have become aware that they should put more resources into their production bases, Huang said. They will begin investing in AI and enhancing the abilities of their workforce. This creates an opportunity for Profet AI.

The company aims to secure 200 top manufacturers as customers in 2023, according to Huang. The CEO said Profet AI plans to get 400 market leaders from multiple industries within three years before expanding to the European and US markets. By the time the company hits its target, Europe and the US will be at a more mature stage of their plans to bring manufacturing back. Profet AI would be able to seize the chance and establish a competitive edge in the market.