Finbarr Moynihan, General Manager- Business Development, MediaTek focuses on 'democratization of smartphones' by building products, platforms, developing reference designs and system solutions that allow customers for all price points. In an exclusive interview with TelecomTiger, he talks about future growth in India and other markets. Excerpts from the interview:
Q. MediaTek has recently launched its first quad-core SoC (System on chip) processor. Given that you have traditionally focused on low-end smartphones. Will this help you tap the high end smartphone market and tablets?
A. MediaTek strength lies in feature phones and if you divide the market into entry level and high end phones or developed or emerging market, our focus is on the entry level segment in the emerging market, be it India, China, south east Asian countries or some other market. Our customers are also very strong in feature phone market. So our products that were announced last year whether single core or dual core processors were very much focused on feature phone market. We have shipped 110 million chipsets for smartphones in 2012. We also see success in market like Europe. Through the launch of quad core platform we want to expand into other market by enabling quad core performance, by upgrading video, graphics and modem performance.
Q. Qualcomm, it is learnt, is coming out with the similar chip sometime in 2013. Will this make inroads into your market share?
A. we don’t comment directly on what our competitors are doing. We want to stay focused on our own platforms. Our focus continues to be on delivery of as much performances as we can in competitive platforms market through our customers, whether by delivering video performance, gaming performance and good modem performance. We keep pace of launching our product to give our customers a range of products to select from 3G HSPL or 2G options, single or dual core.
Q. Despite being the one of the largest firms in terms of shipping processors, you are still behind Qualcomm and Samsung. Do you have any plans to look beyond China where you have largest market share?
A. We have strong China market but over the years over the years large shipments of our products have been outside China. We cover India, South East Asia, Latin America and Europe. We even ship our products to feature phone operators in the US. We look at India for our future growth. There is a lot of optimism as far as India is concerned. The focus will not only be on feature or smartphones but will also on tablets. So, in a way our focus has always been global.
Q. Recently you have used the phrase 'democratization of smartphones'. Elaborate on this.
A. By 'democratization of smartphones' I mean building products, platforms, developing reference designs and system solutions that allow customers for all price points and pushing it down to lower price points to have that smatrphone experience from being a market that is dominated and restricted by premium and high end smartphone owing in the US, Europe and Japan making it integrated into solutions that allow our customers to make devices at attractive price for consumers all over the world.
Q. You are supplying chips to Huawei, Lenovo and ZTE and also supporting lesser-known manufacturers, including those that make“bandit phones” that imitate premium models from Apple, Samsung and HTC. Don’t you think it will sully your image?
A. That is not something that we support or endorse. This is something of an industry challenge. Our focus is on our customers and brands that are trying to make their own phones, devices and products.
Q. What are your business plans in India? Who are your clients?
A. India is a very important market for us and in the last couple of years we had a great success with feature phones here. Right now our focus is to support our customers and comprehend the desires of consumers and the market as customers transition from 2G to 3G, from feature phones to smartphones. We will continue to work with our Indian brand partners and provide them our products. Microamax for example has recently launched d Canvas HD (A116) smartphone with MediaTek’s quad-core processor which will go on sale in February.
Q. Do have any plans to start manufacturing chips in India?
A. We don’t manufacture. We outsource manufacturing, packaging, assembly. All this is outsourced to our partners. All our resources are in design, sales, marketing. We have in Noida a software development team and have business development and customer engagement activities because of the importance of Indian market.
Q. Will MediaTek have its own handsets in near future?
A. We don’t manufacture phones, that is our customers’ job. Our focus is on delivering full system solutions to our customers. That looks close to complete handset, that is not a complete handset. So, no confusion.