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LG invests in power management chip developer

Posted: 27 Jun 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:power management chips? smartphone? tablets?

South Korean multinational company LG Electronics has agreed to invest an undisclosed sum to Active-Semi, a developer of highly integrated power management chips, which plans to use the additional funding to develop energy-efficient chips for the mobile and home appliances markets. The company's target is the imminent next-generation smartphones and tablets in Asia, which need to meet much tougher cost constraints than their U.S. counterparts.

The investment by LG, already a long-time customer of Active-Semi, is a shot in the arm for the Dallas-based fabless chip designer. Active-Semi is developing an energy efficient power application controller (PAC) platform featuring 32bit ARM Cortex M0 processor integrated with the company's patented peripherals.

Active-Semi hopes the world will recognise the LG's investment as an endorsement for its new PAC platform. Active-Semi's goal for the PAC solutions is to reshape the way microcontrollers are designed into smart embedded systems, especially for power electronics.

LG joined Active-Semi's existing investors including U.S. Venture Partners, Tenaya Capital and others in the fourth round of financing totalling $7 million.

Undoubtedly, LG has a huge global market presence. Winston Fu, chairman of Active-Semi and a general partner at U.S. Venture Partners, said, "LG got Active-Semi's value proposition immediately."

Fu described the value proposition as a "classic integration play," whereby a microcontroller and analogue chips are tightly integrated while keeping the overall cost down.

The investment in Active-Semi will give LG early access to "certain things," said Fu, including the PAC-based solutions (which aren't shipping yet) and future products.

Applications for Active-Semi's power electronics chips include car chargers for smartphones and tablets, which require higher charge rate and wattage, and a Power Management Unit for mobile devices and smart appliances.

Fu believes Active-Semi is hitting a segment of the market-a huge number of cell phone users in China demanding much more cost conscious smartphones compared to those available in North America-at the right time.

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