Actions Semiconductor Co., Ltd.
Overview: A small Company, but big in its Business
Actions Semiconductor Co., Ltd. is one of China's leading fabless semiconductor companies worldwide and is headquartered in Zhuhai. It primarily develops and sells portable multimedia and mobile internet system-on-a-chip (SoC) solutions for portable consumer electronics and multimedia digital signal processing (DSP) solutions. In the future the tablet PC market will become a key part of Actions Semiconductor's business. The most important subsidiaries of Actions Semiconductor are Artec Micro and Actions Semiconductor Shanghai.
Actions Semiconductor is one of the fastest growing companies in China's IC design industry
Actions Semiconductor's multimedia chip products account for nearly 50 percent of the global market, and the complete output value accumulated to nearly USD 800 mn in 2011. The company has been identified as one of the ten fastest growing IC (Integrated Circuit) Design companies in China for six consecutive years.
Internationalization Strategy: Foreign Markets are the Key
Actions Semiconductor has been operating in foreign as well as the Chinese market from birth. Besides Asia, its key markets include the US and Europa. In these overseas markets, Actions Semiconductor is focusing on the establishment of well-organized distribution networks. Thus, Actions Semiconductor generated approximately fifteen percent of its revenue in foreign countries in 2011.
R&D and Intellectual Property: Innovation at its Best
Innovation is crucial for Actions Semiconductor's business model. 75 percent of its employees are employed in its R&D division, where the main focus lies on IC Design.
The management team consists of technology veterans from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Silicon Valley. These experts have deep industry knowledge and experiences in successful IC Design and product development.
75 percent of Actions Semiconductor's employees work in the R&D sector
To generate a return on its substantial investments in R&D, Actions Semiconductor extensively protects its new inventions with patents and utility models. When issued it seeks to license its new technologies to third parties. As a consequence, newly developed and innovative technologies are introduced to the marked in an effective way. An advantage of this strategy is the improvement of these technologies by the different companies.
In 2012, the company registered 136 authorized patents, 262 patent applications and 22 software copyright registrations. For its leading products Actions Semiconductor has received several awards and appreciations, both in China and overseas.
The following graphs represent Actions Semiconductor's patent and utility model applications. The main difference between a patent and an utility model is the durability and the strength of protection. Patents are protected for twenty years, while utility models are only protected for ten years. Thus, an utility model can be described as a weaker form of patent.
The first graph represents the distribution of Actions Semiconductors patent and utility model applications over time. As the company established in 2001, there are no patents in 2000 and 2001. In the years afterwards, a small number of applications were filed. The first appreciable number of applications was registered in 2006. From that point on the number increased steadily to a maximum of nearly 60 applications in 2008 and 2009. In 2010, a sudden drop is detectable, which could be explained with the publication process of the patent and utility model apllications and the resulting inaccuracies of the search engine.
The chart below illustrates the allocation of patent and utility model applications across different geographical areas. In the beginning of its existence, Actions Semiconductor only filed applications in China. In the period of 2008 onward, the first applications in foreign regions were registered. This is the result of the company's growing internationalization efforts. Especially applications in Europe, the US and at the worldwide patent office (WIPO) were registered. As mentioned, the USA and Europe are two very important markets for Actions Semiconductor. Therefore, new inventions need protection in these areas.
The two following charts show the distribution of patent and utility model applications across different technological areas. The two most significant technologies are information technology and telecommunications. Actions Semiconductor filed nearly no utility model applications. This is a result of its business. The company operates in the high-tech sector, thus new inventions need a high level of protection.