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Navitas to expand presence in China

Navitas Semiconductor, a US-based gallium nitride semiconductor maker, is strengthening its presence in China as it sees growing business opportunities emerging from the country's booming data, electric vehicle and solar energy sectors.

"China is a key market in our global strategy, with revenue from the Chinese market accounting for over 70 percent of our total," said Charles Zha, vice-president and general manager of Navitas China.

"We are making great efforts to build stronger research and development as well as sales teams, and expand our design teams in the country to grasp new opportunities brought by the development of data centers, electric vehicles, solar and energy storage."

Gallium nitride, or GaN, is a next-generation semiconductor technology that is believed to run up to 20 times faster than legacy silicon, and enable up to three times more power and three times faster charging in half the size and weight. Such chips are currently mainly used in chargers for consumer electronics such as smartphones and laptops.

Navitas said it is cooperating with a number of electronics manufacturers on fast chargers, including Xiaomi, Oppo, Dell, Lenovo, and LG among others. More than 30 million chips have been shipped so far, with no reports of any field failure, the company said.

Apart from consumer electronics, Zha expects data centers to become another major field for the application of GaN integrated circuits next year. About 44 percent of the costs incurred in data centers are related to power and GaN can reduce electricity use by up to 10 percent, he said.

"That will be followed by the electric vehicle and solar energy sectors," Zha said, adding they will build a team in Shanghai in three years dedicated to automotive-related businesses. He forecast the company's revenue will grow by 94 percent annually in the next five years to hit $640 million by 2026.

Founded in 2014, Navitas began trading on the Nasdaq on Oct 20. Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder Gene Sheridan said earlier the company is poised to play an active role in green development by "accelerating the transition to electric vehicles, saving billions in data center electricity costs and lower carbon dioxide emissions".

A report by global research company MarketsandMarkets said the GaN semiconductor device market size is expected to grow to $24.9 billion by 2026 from $19.4 billion in 2021, representing a 5.2 percent annual growth rate over the period.

The Asia-Pacific region is projected to register the largest market share by 2026, with China forecast to see the fastest growth, driven by growing digitalization and 5G infrastructure development, the report said. GaN devices will be more widely used among consumers and enterprises, telecom, automotive and industrial fields.

Roger Sheng, vice-president of research at global consultancy Gartner Inc, said GaN semiconductor is still in its early stage of development domestically and internationally.

The development of 5G infrastructure and electric vehicles is expected to promote its growth in the future. But it should also be noted that compared with its silicon counterpart, application scenarios of GaN are relatively small and costs from raw material purchases, fabrication to packaging are higher, he said.

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