(Hong Kong, 20 January 2015) Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) and Sunming Technologies (HK) Limited jointly hold a special ceremony today (20 January) to officially mark the transfer of ASTRI’s batch process auto-focus camera technologies to Sunming, a company specializing in R&D and manufacturing of auto-focus, optical imaging stabilization (OIS) voice coil motor (VCM) and related products.
The agreement was signed by Dr Frank Tong, Chief Executive Officer of ASTRI, and Dr Lam Sio-Kuan, Chief Executive Officer of Sunming. The signing was witnessed by ASTRI Chairman Mr Wong Ming-yam, Sunming Board Director Mr Zhu Jia, Assistant Commissioner (Infrastructure and Quality Services) of Innovation and Technology Commission Mr Vincent Tang, and Secretary General of Zhongshan Science and Technology Bureau Mr Yin Ming, among other guests.
The transfer involves the licensing of 12 patents of ASTRI’s batch-processed chip scale auto-focus camera technologies to Sunming on a non-exclusive basis for 10 years. These disruptive technologies constitute a low-cost and highly efficient solution for Sunming to produce miniaturized auto-focus camera modules tailored for smart phones, tablets and other portable consumer electronic products.
It revolutionizes the manufacturing process by allowing a batch of VCM to be assembled at the same time in contrast to the traditional way of unit-by-unit assembly by hand. As a result, production throughput can be greatly multiplied while high quality is maintained. This will empower manufacturers with new capacities to meet surging demands in this highly competitive yet promising imaging market. It is estimated that global shipment of smart phones could reach 1.7 billion by 2018, suggesting huge market potentials for sophisticated compact camera modules.
Established in 2013, Sunming Technologies is a Hong Kong based company with manufacturing facilities in Torch High-tech Industrial Development Zone in Zhongshan. Its founding member and CEO Dr S.K. Lam obtained his PhD degree from Chinese University of Hong Kong, and was formerly an R&D leader at ASTRI. He worked with his ASTRI teammates to invent a series of compact camera technologies, some of which were subsequently commercialized in a spin-off business led by Dr Lam in 2010. The licensing of batch process auto-focus technologies is the second time that Dr Lam is involved in commercializing ASTRI’s technologies of which he is an inventor.
Mr Wong Ming-yam said in his address at the ceremony, “I am much delighted in seeing that ASTRI has entered into collaboration with Sunming Technologies whose founder was once a key member of our research team and has been our long-term business partner. I am sure with ASTRI’s groundbreaking technologies, Sunming will be able to lead the trend in the industry and mark new milestones in the manufacturing of camera modules.”
Dr Lam said, “The batch process technologies will enable Sunming to achieve both high quality and high volume of production unmatched by any predominant method. I am fully confident that this disruptive innovation will significantly influence the global market. This proves once again Hong Kong has the capabilities to produce world-class technologies that could change the world.”
ASTRI started its R&D endeavour in compact camera technologies in 2007 with anti-shaking, auto focus and optical zoom modules consequently developed. These advanced and market leading technologies were successfully commercialized by manufacturers in both Hong Kong and the Mainland and have been embedded in many leading brands of mobile phones in the world.