Shanghai-based image sensor corporation, SmartSens, recently announced it completed its acquisition of Shenzhen headquartered CMOS/CIS manufacturer Allchip Microelectronics. Neither firm disclosed details of the sale, but the purchase stated its new subsidiary had relocated to its new Longgang District research and development center last month.
SmartSens intends to utilize its new property’s expertise and portfolio to pursue a very lucrative emerging market.
SmartSens Corporate Details
Though not a household name, SmartSens is a player in the Chinese high-performance image sensor industry. In 2018, the company conducted a Series A round that netted $20 million in fresh capital. That cash infusion, led by Lenovo Capital and Incubator Group, showed the brand captured the attention of local industry leaders.
The Sino corporation’s component library consists of imaging chips that provide robust image clarity, shutter efficiency, and night vision. The manufacturer prioritizes optimization with each new product release, so its current line of image sensors is 40 percent more energy-efficient than the prior generation.
SmartSens primarily supplies OEMs with components to power their security and surveillance systems, industrial monitoring networks, and automobile camera platforms. The company also fabricates world-class parts for a host of consumer electronic devices, robot cleaners, and smart home setups.
Why SmartSens Acquired Allchip Now
On the one hand, SmartSens’ acquisition of Allchip makes sense as a strategic consolidation maneuver. By snapping up the Shenzhen CMOS and CIS manufacturer, the Shanghai brand generated new business opportunities within its market. On the other, the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the world economy makes any near-term merger activity riskier than normal.
In a press release, SmartSens explained its move to buy Allchip as a play to expand its automotive camera footprint. Since the firm already has CMOS component resources, its new subsidiary could possess automotive technology with game-changing potential. Moreover, there has been a sharp uptick in autonomous vehicle solution development recently.
Amazon came to terms to buy self-driving car company Zoox for $1.2 billion late last month. The e-commerce giant probably purchased the startup to use its tech to empower an autonomous delivery fleet. Around the same time, Chinese ride-hailing corporation Didi Chuxing began a robotaxi pilot in Shanghai. The service plans to put over 1 million driverless cabs on the road by 2030.
In the context of those events, SmartSens’ acquisition of Allchip is a strategic masterstroke. If it can establish its bona fids as a connected car image sensor market leader, it can address a $4.23 billion market. But if it secures some commercial and corporate self-driving automobile supply contracts, its growth potential will be much grander.