Galaxycore History

Image Sensors World        Go to the original article...

EastMoney, MooreElite, Laoyaoba publish a glorified history of Galaxycore from early days to IPO. Few quotes:

"I personally think that Galaxycore is a very lucky company." [CEO] Zhao Lixin attributed the primary factor of Galaxycore's success to luck.

In business before, Zhao Lixin just an ordinary back from the US technology engineer, has worked in Chartered Semiconductor, the United States ESS company, UT StarcomEngage in related work. In 2003, with the initial investment of 2 million US dollars from high school students and his own patents in the field of high-end image sensors, Zhao Lixin returned to China and founded Galaxycore.

In the early days, Zhao Lixin planned the development of Galaxycore as follows: first make the process, then do the technology well, and then make the product. To achieve the market from the source of technology, this is not in line with business logic. Zhao Lixin also admitted, "It was a bit crazy at the time, Don Quixote style." Such an idea was destined to fail to produce results in the market environment at the time.

When Galaxycore started, it was just when SMIC wanted to make an image sensor. The two sides hit it off. Galaxycore helped SMIC establish the CIS production process line, and SMIC was responsible for its R&D expenses. When colleagues complained about "burning money", Galaxycore survived unbelievably, "If we had paid for it, we would have burned to death."

Galaxycore's fortune continued, “When we started selling products, the market was out of stock.” In early 2005, many of its peers had no time to take into account the relatively small PC market at that time and focused on the high-end mobile phone market. "Although the technical content of the PC market is not high, this is the starting point for Galaxycore to survive." Zhao Lixin said.

After seizing this unattended market gap, Galaxycore sold 16 million chips in 2005, with sales reaching 5 million U.S. dollars and achieving profitability. This kind of performance was rare in the industry at that time, which also helped Galaxycore to successfully obtain the investment from Walden International and Sequoia Capital.

With a firm foothold in the low-end chip market, Galaxycore has further exerted its cost advantages, “wherever it goes, no grass will grow.” By 2014, Galaxycore's CMOS Image Sensor IC shipments exceeded 940 million.

Zhao Lixin has always emphasized that an enterprise cannot go far without the core technology of its own creation. At present, Galaxycore has completely independent intellectual property rights in the design and algorithms of CMOS image sensors and multimedia processors, as well as the world's leading and most competitive manufacturing process technology. It has obtained a number of US patents on the structure and process of CMOS image sensors, nearly 200 domestic invention and utility model patents, and more than 260 Chinese patents on the structure of CMOS image sensors are under review.

Zhao Lixin proudly mentioned that Galaxycore has at least about ten patents, which are very basic and breakthrough innovations in this field.

In recent years, Galaxycore has developed an innovative packaging patent for Chip On Module (COM), and has spent five or six years developing special equipment for this purpose. This breakthrough invention played a vital role in the company's future development and also brought considerable profits to the company.

Zhao Lixin introduced Galaxycore's technical advantages: the number of lithography layers is 20% less than that of the competition, and the die size is 30% less than that of the competition. These two advantages are superimposed on each other, and the cost advantage is huge.

Under fierce competition, Galaxycore hopes to promote a differentiated strategy. In the low-end products, Galaxycore will stick to its position in the mobile phone market; in the high-end products, it will cooperate with IDM giants in the CMOS image sensor industry to meet the needs of the Chinese market.

Not only competing with IDM, but also cooperating with IDM, Zhao Lixin emphasized: We must dance with wolves and live with them.

Landing in the capital market brings new opportunities for Zhao Lixin. According to the prospectus, Galaxycore plans to raise 6.96 billion yuan in this initial public offering, of which 6.376 billion yuan will be used for 12-inch CIS integrated circuit characteristic process research and development and industrialization projects, and 584 million yuan will be used for CMOS image sensor research and development. project. "After going public, we will transform to the Fab-Lite model." Zhao Lixin said that in the future, the company will expand its own production capacity by building part of its production lines, and enhance the company's high-end products. Research and development capabilities and speed of research and development.

"Galaxycore's goal is to let the world see China's innovation." Zhao Lixin said, "We have been on this road for 18 years, and there will be more 18 years waiting for us to move forward."

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