Pulsus amplifies success
2004.05.27 HIT:3517
Pulsus amplifies success under professor


Dominates international market in digital-to-digital amplifying chip technology


The quality of pounding and screeching sounds is vital when it comes to domestic entertainment.
In today's digital world, even a dull horror flick can make viewers shriek if their home theater system is good enough.It's all music to the ears of Oh Jong-hoon, chief executive officer of Pulsus Technology, which supplies groundbreaking semiconductors that enhance the sound of electronic products to companies worldwide.

Oh's keen interest in audio systems led him to commercial uses in 1999, when he was teaching physics at Pohang University of Science and Technology.

The professor invited audio professionals and students to work on a unique digital pulse modulation amplifier technology.

A year later, Pulsus developed the world's first digital-to-digital amplifying chip (DDC), which transforms digital signals from a CD or a DVD into another digital form for a speaker system's amplifier. In conventional amplifiers, digital signals are changed into analog before being amplified, thus causing static noise and distortion.

More importantly for Pulsus customers, DDC dramatically increases energy efficiency and enables the size reduction of products in which they are used, such as home theater in-a-box, digital TVs, set-top boxes, mini-components and mobile communication devices.

Pulsus chips now dominate domestic and international markets in digital audio processors for full digital amplifiers.

The venture's sales last year reached 6 billion won ($50 million)."Our competitors in the DDC market include Texas Instruments and ST Microelectronics.

They are world's third and fourth-largest makers of fabless semiconductors - companies that design chips and outsource the production of silicon wafers - after Qualcomm and Intel.

We plan to develop a variety of chips other than those for digital amplifiers and aim to become one of the top 20 by the year 2010," said Oh."This means our sales would have to exceed $200 million by then. Our goal this year is to double the sales to $100 million," said the professor-turned-entrepreneur.

The company's major investors include global players Carlyle Group and Softbank.

Pulsus keeps them informed through a corporate governance system that meets foreign standards. "Everything, including the employees' salaries, is reported to the board of directors in English after each quarter.

Five out of the six board members are from outside the company," explained Oh. Unlike many small ventures where management information is rarely open to the public, Pulsus has reached global standards in terms of transparency, according to Wesley Koo, senior associate of Softbank Korea.

Pulsus DDC is now used by LG Electronics Corp., Samsung Electronics Co., Sony Corp., Kenwood, RCA, Toshiba and Taekwang. Original equipment manufacturers such as Europe's Thompson, America's Apex and Singapore's Creative Labs have also applied them in this year's new products.

The venture operates branches in Hong Kong and Shenzhen hoping to seize the Chinese market because nowadays most customer electronics products are manufactured in China once sales growth matures.

"Although our overseas distributors in China, Japan, Britain and Singapore were quite helpful, it was usually the original equipment makers themselves who found out about Pulsus Technology and proposed deals before distributors could even reach them," said Oh.

Another area that differentiates Pulsus from others is its devotion to technical support.
"When we sell our products, we don't just hand them the chips.
We provide a total solution.
We give them a half-assembled set showing how the chips should be placed inside the equipment.
We work together with the OEMs to complete the final equipment and provide technical support even after the equipment has been sold to customers," said Oh. Pulsus is currently preparing to launch a new product for mobile communication devices.

"Our aim is to become the Qualcomm of Korea," said Oh.

(sophie@heraldm.com)

By Kim So-hyun

2004.05.27 by The Korea Herald
출처 : The Korea Herald