Allwinner roots in the 90s

From: Zhuhai sez daily: Gan Lin investigated in high-tech zones “two little two two high” enterprise [Allwinner press release, June 10, 2010]

… Gan Lin,  Party Secretary of Zhuhai city … accompanied by director of the CMC Qiu Shi, successively investigated the Kingsoft Park (Jinshan Software Park) project site, Xuan Garment Co., Ltd. Design Center, BOXlight (Po Wright) Medical Technology Inc., Tin Shui Power Technology Limited, Allwinner Technology Co., Ltd. and Bioenergy Limited. …

Zhuhai Allwinner Technology Limited is committed to becoming a leader of application requirements in the area of key technologies for HD multimedia and communication networks, radio and television networks, and the Internet “triple play”; specializes in low power VLSI design capacity of independent research and development of core technologies, has completely independent intellectual property rights. According to the General Manager [Chairman and CEO] of the company, Zhang Jianhui (张建辉), the Allwinner company was established in 2007. In the first two years to April 2009, the company had been working hard on technology R & D and did not earn a penny, then launched two categories for the introduction of a series of nine full HD network integrated smardescriptiont chips in order to become one of the leading manufacturer of ultra-large-scale system-on-chip and embedded software technology.

May I ask [about] Zhuhai [珠海] Victory Technology [全胜 科技] – How can I like it?[http://laoyaoba.com in Chinese, Oct 23, 2010]  

Looking for a job, this company has come to our school, a little want to go, but I don’t know how on Earth is this company, [since there is] almost no information on the Internet, looking for an insider look, appreciate it!

The entrepreneurial team of Zhao Guangmin [赵广民先]’s [Zhuhai] Actions Semiconductor Co., Ltd. was brought over after Zhao’s unfortunate, untimely death. The Zhang Jianhui [张建辉]-led team, however, is still very strong in the Chinese semiconductor industry. It began to grab the PMP [Personal Media Player >>> MP3 etc.] market share last year, and it is estimated that [its] revenue this year should be around $ 30 million ….

The life and spiritual heritage of the legendary Chinese IC design industry leader Zhao Guangmin [Baidu in Chinese, Aug 27, 2007]

… In early 2006, Zhao Guangmin left Actions, where had been working for a number of years, and with a number of like-minded partners co-founded Victory (Zhuhai) Microelectronics Co. as chairman with aspirations to win a new peak. …

Mr. Zhao Guangmin (赵广民) Memorial page [eMedia Asia Global resources, Aug 29, 2007]

image

  • He was born on March 28, 1960 in Xi’an Hu County, Shaanxi Province,
  • 1977: Xi’an Jiaotong University (西安交通大学), Bachelor’s degree in Semiconductors
  • 1985: Tsinghua University (清华大学), Master’s  degree in Semiconductors
  • 1982: recruited by Beijing Electronic Tube Factory (北京电子管厂) as semiconductor technology and integrated circuit design engineer
  • 1990: joined Zhuhai Yali Electronics (珠海亚力电子), served as manager of IC design, then of the Department of Long term Research and Development, EVP. and Acting General Manager and other staff
  • 2001: founding Actions Semiconductor Co., Ltd. (炬力集成电路设计有限公司), as CEO from 2001 to 2004 the company had been growing 10 times, in 2005 had grown by 2.6 times compared to 2004, achieving over 1.2 billion [yuan] [nearly $150M] and beautiful results
  • In 2004 and 2005 Actions Semiconductor ranked the third and first among domestic IC design companies, respectively.
  • 2005: [Actions Semiconductor] listed on NASDAQ, [the company] is now the world’s leading supplier of the MP3 control chips
  • 2006: founded Victory (Zhuhai) Microelectronics [全胜] Co. Ltd.
  • Individual honors received:
    2004 to 2005 – China semiconductor industry leader,
    2004 – Zhuhai ZHTV annual economic figures ,
    2005– Zhuhai top ten charming characters, and so on.

International Electronic Business affectionate memorial

Here is the Commemorate [what] Zhao had insisted on: a win-win situation, team together and do things realistic [Aug 24, 2007] by his deputy (??) and effective successor in charge of his Victory Microelectronics Co., Ltd., Zhang Jianhui (张建辉):

Zhao went away from us, the circle of friends chatted about Zhao, and so far we are still unable to accept that this is a fact. Remembered Zhao, in addition to in the legendary entrepreneurial experience at Actions, we talk about the most, is the insistence of Zhao and low-key.

Speaking of the insistence of old Zhao, when Zhao won the Zhuhai Special Economic Person of the Year in 2004, in an interview he said: “As long as you choose the right direction, be sure to persist in walking, did not insist on was not successful.” It is this insistence on belief and perseverance of action which created Zhao’s unusual success story.

First, Zhao insisted on the concept of win-win, through the development of core IC products to add value for the customer, and industry chain downstream supporting enterprise vertical and horizontal, building win-win business model among enterprises, resulting in overall lead between the company and the customer.

Zhao served as general manager of Actions by virtue of more than 10 years accumulated of IC design and enterprise operating management experience. He led there a well-trained professional operating team to share common goals, to carry out efforts with hard work, to get global semiconductor industry attention via achievements. This made Actions from an unknown small company, in just a few years, China IC design industry’s  first to become a globally known enterprise. The MP3 multimedia master chip R & D accounted for more than 50% of the world market share. This led to billions of dollars via the quick formation of the MP3 industry chain in China, prompting mainland China to become world’s major export base of MP3 which has brought tremendous development and benefits to the consumer electronics industry [here].

This was for the first time as a mainland China IC design company established itself in the field of global consumer electronics products, mastered and mass provided the core technology products with international advanced level. Actions’ operating income grew significantly from a few million yuan in 2002 to 1.2 billion yuan [nearly $150M] in 2005, [thus] creating rapid growth of more than 100 times for the Actions Semiconductor in three years only, and [then] eventually prompting the success of Actions to be listed on NASDAQ.

Second, Zhao insisted on the need to uphold the integrity of the fundamental values [which] can be established between the team and the customer, [on the] long term sustainable growth of business culture, [that] the strength of the team is always greater than the power of any individual.

In the early venture days of Actions Zhao personally wrote a column for the internal publications, talked about the issues of development ideas and the reform of corporate culture, and also to encourage other executives to write articles for publication. Fixed each Wednesday [?his?] commuting leadership talked about the exchange of business issues, to develop common thinking habits and language of communication – because every time before this would open, the kitchen will cook a pot of noodles as participants of dinner, affectionately called “noodles will”.

This will sometimes be open until two o’clock at night, and the truth is argued more and more out; companies and departments use the monthly regular meeting with employees face-to-face communication. After a year passed, not only everyone has made great progress, but he also formed a fully functional teamwork of high degree of homogeneity and quality, great combat effectiveness of entrepreneurial backbone of the team, and subsequently laid a very good foundation to the success of the company.

Third, Zhao insisted on doing anything seriously, down-to-earth. He used to say that a 99.99% working IC is still not working. Design paradoxes are in place, it is where the BUG. In 1995 I and old Zhao did cooperative research and development projects for the first time. I was responsible for the system design, Zhao for the circuit design. There was no RTL coding method as now, the circuit was built by human hand structures. Zhao’s design adhered to repeated scrutiny and carefully optimized design logic based on clear, simple drawing. Sometimes he explained to me where is the circuit of the collar, which is the heart of the circuit and the limbs, old Zhao could meander, and the favorite circuit design is input ready.

It is quite unfortunate that China’s IC design industry has lost an outstanding leader, and friends lost an honest, down-to-earth best friend. However, true to Zhao’s spirit, I believe in increasing prosperity and burgeoning growth of Chinese IC design, offering useful lessons and inspirations, and I believe this will also correspond to Zhao’s heartfelt wishes and expectations.

Mr. Zhao Guangmin may rest [in peace] .

Author: Zhang Jianhui (张建辉), Victory Microelectronics [全胜] Co., Ltd. (Zhuhai), general manager, for the friends and colleagues of Zhao Guangmin years

It is quite remarkable that after the departure of Zhao Guangmin and most of his team Actions went into decline as visible from the chart showing the revenues generated by the company.

With $150M in 2005 Actions was the second-largest China-based fabless company. Employing not less than 280 people in 2006 the new Taiwanese executive duo of Nan-Horng Yeh as CEO and David Lee as CFO (both educated in the United States) have completely failed. This is all despite of their strategy to move into midrange products by developing mobile TV SoCs via licensing core technology from U.S.-based Mavrix Technology. See: SoC firm finds fertile ground in China [EDN, Aug 22, 2006]. This licensing decision led only into an industry sideline with stronger external reliance on MIPS processor cores (originally selected by Zhao Guangmin in July 2005 as the vice president, but for fast internal development) and a subsequent, necessary acquisition of Mavrix as licensee in 2010. Paradoxically Mavrix’s CEO, Dr. Zhenyu Zhou became even the CEO of Actions in December 2011. Only David Lee has still a high-level position with the company as chairman of the board. The future outlook for Actions is also rather uncertain as only a single analyst had any interest in the company’s Q2 2012 Results Call [Aug 7, 2012].

How that happenned had been described in Actions pass the sudden departure of founder, investors have been excluded [VentureData.org, April 4, 2006], the picture of Zhao Guangmin below is from this source which is the Chinese origin of this material below:

 

image

Led the company successfully landed on the Nasdaq after 4 months, founder of Zhuhai Actions Semiconductor Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “Actions”), Zhao Guangmin [then vice chairman of the company] suddenly announced his resignation.

Zhao Guangmin the early 1980s graduated from Xi’an Jiaotong University, has a number of Semiconductor companies in the office. Zhao Guangmin founded in December 2001 and served as general manager [not CEO] of Actions. Actions a total investment of $ 10 million, primarily engaged in the development of VLSI design and test production. Taiwan-funded by the holding of shares in which Zhao Guangmin unknown.

Under Zhao Guangmin leadership, relying on keen to capture the opportunity to MP3 chips, Actions to achieve rapid development. In 2002, Actions Semiconductor sales only 1.08 million yuan [US$ 130K]; in 2003 sales increased to 4,000 million [US$ 4.3 million – see the chart above]; in 2004 sales soared to more 460 million [US$ 55.5 million], net profit up 200 million yuan [US$ 24.1 million].

At the same time, Actions also introduced more than a dozen proprietary chip. In 2004, the company was selected as the China Semiconductor Industry Association, the annual top ten IC design companies. To the fourth quarter of 2004, Actions in the global chip market share in the first MP3.

November 30, 2005, to Actions as the main Action Semiconductor Co.Ltd (Nasdaq: ACTS) in the U.S. Nasdaq market, the first phase of financing $ 72 million. Since listing, the market responded well to the Actions, and there have been investment banking analyst cut its rating to “buy.”

Actions with the same period of rapid development and to the patent dispute. Zhao Guangmin issue in the mail two days before departure, the U.S. International Trade Commission a preliminary ruling, Actions part of the audio processor infringes two U.S. SigmaTel’s patents. SigmaTel is the world’s leading mobile phones and digital audio players, chip vendors, the company early last year to the U.S. District Court in Austin, sued Actions Semiconductor infringed its patents.

“Now I can not say anything, but to leave and certainly nothing to do with the lawsuit.” Zhao Guangmin side of the phone hesitantly.

Zhao reasons for leaving, Actions official answer is “retired.” One of the company staff responsible for media relations, said, “Although less than the retirement age, but Zhao fame in this industry has made the decision to retreat is also very natural.”

However, close to Zhao Guangmin the industry does not think so. He said that Zhao’s departure and the investors.

The source said, as early as Actions Prior to listing, to facilitate investment in the idea of ​​a replacement company executives. Public information, Zhao Guangmin general manager of the term of Actions of August 2005, is the company going public push. Zhao’s successor as general manager, is working with many years experience in the semiconductor industry, China Taiwan nationals Yenan Hong.

On this course, after listing a media interview, Zhao Guangmin stunned: “In order listed, and sometimes take their cut first!”

According to Zhao said, in order to make more in line with investors Actions taste, Actions update prior to listing a number of board members and executives. Most of these people in the chip industry has a deep background and is familiar to foreign investors, including former vice president of operations SMIC Chiu Tsz Wan.

Interestingly, in the Actions of the prospectus, as the founder of Zhao Guangmin not appear in the list of shareholders, executives, Zhao’s team did not name.

Further explanation is given here, only two sentences are important to quote (the picture of Zhao Guangmin below is from this source which is the Chinese origin of this material below):

image… [Till] June 2005 Zhao Guangmin has been Actions’ general manager, [then] since June to become vice president, and in November the company officially listed [that] Zhao Guangmin had [been] transformed into a vice chairman. … In fact, although ZhaoGuangmin since 1993 as was general manager of Zhuhai Actions, but he hashad no control of the company, the company has had been in a firm grip on the hands of equity investment in Taiwan.

More information is in the $99 Android 4.0.3 7” IPS tablet with an Allwinner SoC capable of 2160p Quad HD and built-in HDMI–another inflection point, from China again [‘Experiencing the Cloud’ Blog, Dec 3, 2012] post of mine.

One thought on “Allwinner roots in the 90s

  1. Pingback: Intel az Allwinner és társai ellen | Szoftver aktualitások

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