There is a strategic shift taking place in electronic components manufactured by tech companies.
Computex Taipei, Taiwan’s top tech fair, is seeing a different energy this year. While traditionally the focus had mostly catered to electronic parts for smartphones, this year, chip manufacturers have latched onto burgeoning growth engines such as virtual reality, self-driving car technology and artificial intelligence. These products will play a leading part in Taiwan’s export-driven economy.
This year, companies have squarely focussed on “internet of things” (IoT).
“We are going from hype phase to more a reality phase with real products. You can see them, you can feel them,” said Hugo Swart, head of business development and product management for Internet of Things and consumer electronics at Qualcomm Inc.
“I see last year was a year of a lot of promises and this year is a material realisation,” Swart said of IoT.
“Computex seems to have shied away from mobility in favour of ‘internet of things’, which incorporates aspects of both cloud computing and artificial intelligence,” said Anshel Sag, associate analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy.
The fair is also seeing a large push towards artificial intelligence processors, a key technology behind driverless cars.
Case in point: Nvidia Corp is choosing to showcase its Volta Graphics Processing Unit, a product of $3 billion worth of investment in research and development. The processor will be used in Tesla’s smart cars, who made its debut in Computex with two of its vehicles.
Incidentally Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp partly owns Nvidia. In May 2017 SoftBank had announced its Vision Fund – a vehicle through which it has raised $93 billion for investing in technologies such as robotics and artificial intelligence.
SoftBank also has a majority stake in ARM Holdings, a British software and semiconductor company which expects to ship 100 billion chips globally in the next five years.