MediaTek co-Chief Executive Officer Rick Tsai outlined the company's ambitious plans for 2018, including significant investments in emerging technologies spanning a wide variety of industries, DigiTimes reported on Thursday. The Taiwanese chipmaker already committed itself to 5G solutions, artificial intelligence platforms, NarrowBand IoT, and connected vehicles systems in recent times, but is now seeking to ramp up investments in such segments going forward in an effort to establish a stronger foothold in these new markets and ensure sustained growth in the medium term.
Mr. Tsai said the chip unit of the Taiwanese tech giant will be looking to additionally strengthen ties with its clients, largely smartphone makers and manufacturers of Internet of Things gadgets. The semiconductor unit of the company has been recording underwhelming performance throughout the majority of the year, though it managed to partially recover in the last several months. The high-end segment of the silicon market that traditionally yields by far the highest profit margins has been a particularly sore point for the company in 2017, with poor sales leading to missed revenue targets and ultimately prompting the Hsinchu, Taiwan-based firm to indefinitely pause its flagship chip efforts. While a successor to the Helio X30 is likely to be announced at some point in the future, it isn't expected to launch in 2018, especially since MediaTek is yet to publicize its 7nm roadmap that will have to be completed if it hopes to compete with the likes of Qualcomm and Samsung in the premium end of the market.
Mid-range and entry-level silicon will hence be the company's largest focus as far as its chip endeavors in 2018 are concerned, though MediaTek is also expected to commit some resources to solutions intended for embedded systems, largely IoT devices. Not many details on application processors for Android smartphones meant to be launched next year have yet been provided by the company. Mediatek's Helio P40 is planned to be released in the first half of the year, the chipmaker's President Joe Chou said earlier this week. In regards to 5G projects, the firm is expected to start trialing its first modem prototypes compatible with the next-generation wireless standard over the course of 2018.