APS INVESTMENT PTE. LTD. (‘APSI’ or ‘the Group’), through its operating subsidiary, Advanpack Solutions Pte Ltd (‘APS’) and its joint ventures, provides innovative and integrated flip chip solutions to companies that manufacture semiconductors. Its proprietary flip-chip technologies include the Copper Pillar Bump, Molded Interconnect Substrate, No-Flow Underfill, and flipchip packaging methods and structures including flipchip on leadframe and flipchip on substrate packages.
APSI was formed as a subsidiary of Advanced Systems Automation Limited (ASA) in 1996 to develop new technologies in the flip chip industry and was later also co-owned by various venture funds. Through a series of restructuring exercises, the Company now counts amongst its shareholders key corporate partners, the CEO, and some original minority shareholders and employees.
The Company is a global pioneer in Copper Pillar Bump (‘CPB’) technology that is one of the critical pillars of APSI’s technological superiority in the flip chip interconnection arena. APSI’s Molded Interconnect Substrate (‘MIS’) is another global pioneering invention. Invented later than CPB, it is now fast gaining traction with adoption from key licensees.
APSI is an R&D centered company with its business model based mainly on patent and technology licensing, royalties and technology transfer fees as well as participation in joint ventures. Other than manufacturing plants run by its joint venture partners, it does not have any commercial scale manufacturing facilities of its own but works with its partners and licensees to develop and refine its technologies.
Back in 2004, APSI developed a light fixed-asset, R&D-focused strategy that leveraged heavily on its industry partners. Consequently, the Company formed its first joint venture with Jiangsu Changjiang Electronics Technology Co Ltd to start Jiangyin Changdian Advanced Packaging Co Ltd (“JCAP”) for high volume manufacturing of semiconductor devices in China using flip-chip process. Subsequently, APSI formed another joint venture called Unisem Advanced Technology Sdn Bhd (“UAT”) with Unisem Bhd in Malaysia. To date, both the CPB technology and MIS technology has been licensed to more than 15 licensees in total to Integrated Device Manufacturers, bumping entities and Outsourced Assembly and Test companies.
By selling licenses to downstream semiconductor manufacturers, the Company can proliferates its technologies in the industry much faster than it could do on its own as it leverages on its network of leading semiconductor customers to spread the technologies across broadly. This business model greatly reduces the capital investment and operational costs of APSI that would have been needed were it to manufacture the products by itself. By opting to license its technologies to potential customers, the Company can focus on its research and development, which is its core competence.
A further benefit of this model is that by working closely with leading edge downstream manufacturers, the Company can more deeply appreciate the manufacturing challenges faced by these manufacturers. Under the culture of innovation in APSI, such insights often spur innovations to improve the Company’s existing technologies or even lead to ideas for new, as-yet, undeveloped technological solutions for the IC packaging industry.
Increasingly, research and development in the Company occurs within an eco-system of equipment and material suppliers, potential customers, research institutions and service providers. Such an open innovation model cuts down on development cost and time and reduces the time for adoption of new technology by customers.
The Company has also taken on the approach of promoting its technologies directly to end-user manufacturers, which has the effect of creating a network effect of derived demand for its technologies. As these end users understand the advantages of APSI’s advanced packaging structures and materials, its CPB and MIS, they would ask for new package designs that incorporate such technologies from their suppliers who in turn have to approach the Company for license rights.