Goodix executive says trade war preventing global acquisitions

Goodix is not about to make any global acquisitions, as the company’s CTO and COO Pi Bo told the Nikkei Asian Review that trade conflict between the U.S. and China has made such deals impossible for Chinese semiconductor companies.

Smartphone makers Xiaomi and Huawei are major customers of Goodix’ biometric technology, and both are currently targeted by a U.S. government crackdown on Chinese technology companies, the Review reports.

“In the near future, I don’t think the U.S. and China will be friends again … but China may likely need to address some U.S. demands,” Pi told the Review. “Under the current conditions, it has become very unlikely for Chinese tech companies like us to acquire companies in the U.S. That’s the biggest impact brought by the conflict between the world’s two biggest powers.”

Pi says potential European acquisitions are also affected by the conflict. Goodix acquired Germany-based CommSolid in early 2018 to target several new application areas.

Goodix is not likely to be targeted by the U.S. government, Pi says, as its size is modest compared to tech giants like Huawei. IHS Markit reports that Goodix is the global leader in the fingerprint sensor market, with a 33 percent market share in 2018.

The U.S. has long complained that China does not protect intellectual property rights. Fingerprint Cards filed a patent infringement suit against Goodix in the Beijing Intellectual Property Court last year.

Government investment arm China Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund became a Goodix investor in 2017, and now owns 6.61 percent of the company, according to the report. The company has 1,300 employees in China, the U.S., Korea, Taiwan, and Germany, and its annual revenue has grown to $551 million.

Goodix showed off its in-display fingerprint technology, which is featured in 22 smartphone models, at the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

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