EE Times recently sat down with Satoru Yamaguchi, a 32-year veteran of Fujitsu Semiconductor Ltd., who in April was tapped to lead the company's U.S. subsidiary, Fujitsu Semiconductor America Inc. (FSA), for a wide ranging discussion on Yamaguchi's plans for the subsidiary and opportunities for growth in North and South Amercia. Yamaguchi sounded opptimistic about Fujitsu's growth opportunities in high-speed I/O products, imaging ICs, chips for electric vehicles and hybrids, and other areas. The following is an excerpted portion of the interview.
EE Times: What are your major goals in your new role?
Satoru Yamaguchi: Fujitsu Semiconductor America is primarily a sales company, a subsidiary of Fujitsu Semiconductor Limited. Our main objective is to expand our business in North and South America. But since our customers are also global, we need to think about the global business as well. To do that, we need to cooperate with our colleagues in Japan, Asia and Europe.
EET: What kind of opportunities do you see for expanding FSA's sales in North America?
SY: We have two business units. The first is our Semiconductor Manufacturing Service business unit that provides ASIC, COT and foundry services. We want to expand our business in this area, especially for high-speed I/O embedded products such as our 56 GSa/s 8-bit analog to digital converter. Nowadays, more bandwidth is required to base stations and other infrastructure equipment thanks to smartphones and other mobile devices. This megatrend is a great opportunity for us and Fujitsu has a strong portfolio of IP for these applications.
The second business unit is our Standard Products group which offers various embedded devices, including microcontrollers, graphics display SoCs, FRAM, power management ICs and so on. Fujitsu is a leader in graphics technologies and one of our strengths is in the imaging processor arena where we offer a series of ASSPs nicknamed Milbeaut. Digital cameras as well as smartphones and feature phones use this type of image processor to manage the pixel imaging data. We are expanding our market share with Milbeaut, especially in the mobile phone market. Today's smartphones have image sensors capable of at least 8 megapixels and require very clean and beautiful photos. Our ASSP provides up to 16 megapixels and also has the capability to support H.264 for encoding and decoding while offering other sophisticated imaging functions. This is another example where we see promising opportunities.
EET: What other markets are you targeting with Fujitsu's imaging technology?
SY: We need to find other markets which require the kind of high-quality and powerful imaging technology that Fujitsu provides. For example, in the automotive market, there is a great deal of interest in the potential for detection systems to warn drivers about pedestrians walking outside of the driver's view and other hazards. These systems take input from multiple cameras and need fast image processing to identify and track objects accurately. Since this is a safety critical application, we are making strides to improve our detection level. We hope to soon be able to offer a solution using our imaging technology.
Security cameras are another growing application requiring encoding with clear image quality. We see the possibility of using our H.264 compression engine for this market.