Rockchip, which views the current media tablet market as an extension of
the portable media player boom, has logged a host of notable design wins.
The Archos touch tablet Internet media player was driven by Rockchip’s CPU.
Rockchip also scored a win with Thailand’s “One Tablet Per Child” initiative. Other Chinese manufacturers are also building tablets based on Rockchip designs,
although they’re increasingly under attack from newcomers like Allwinner.
Rockchip now employs close to 500 people. Half its employees are
software engineers. It is now focused on using its own IP in designing
chips and is more heavily involved in back-end works,
according to Chen.
After earning his BS at Tsinghua University in Beijing, Chen studied at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. Chen’s worked more than six years at
Lucent Technologies, then five years at SMIC before joining Rockchip in
April 2008. He calls himself Rockchip's “only ‘overseas’ guy.”
Unlike other startups here, Rockchip has been profitable from the start.
But as the tablet battle heats up, it also needs to find a way to move to the next level. “We are fighting a world war. We need the world’s
The company also needs access to capital. Without it, Rockchip can’t even think about mergers or
acquisitions. Organic growth alone won’t get it to the next level, Chen acknowledge, saying he expects consolidation in the Chinese fabless sector but “no Chinese
companies want to give up.”
Lastly, Chen said, “We need to be clear on the market” so that Rockchip can choose its battles.
How many tablets does China make, how big is the Chinese market?
80 percent of media tablets made in China are exported
Unit: Million of units
Source: Chinese industry estimates
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