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Taiwan's Connector Makers Benefit from Rising Adoption of Type C USB

Jul 29, 2015 | By Ken Liu

Taiwan's leading connector makers are benefiting from the increasing use of the Type C universal serial bus (USB) by international consumer-electronics heavyweights in their products.

The bus is built around a complex specification that enables data transfer, power charging, and video/audio streaming functionalities to be integrated into a connector, which plugs in a USB port in various electronic devices as PC, smartphone, tablet, etc.

Connector makers in Taiwan as Cheng Uei Precision Industry Co., Ltd., LOTES Co., Ltd., Speed Tech Corp., and BizLink Holding Inc. are making Type C bus products.

Thanks to Type C contracts for Apple Macbook, Cheng Uei saw its revenue jump 21 percent to NT$7.5 billion (US$242.16 million) in June from May's NT$6.2 billion (US$200.77 million). Company executives point out that more Type C connectors will be shipped by the company in the second half of this year.

Stronger-than-expected demand in mainland China for Type C smartphones contracted by Leshi Internet Information & Technology, also known as LeTV, the mainland's biggest online video company, has inspired other big-name smartphone makers in the mainland to place orders for built-in type connectors with Speed Tech, which is the world's exclusive supplier of this type of connectors.

Speed Tech Chairman J.W. Tsai says the company will double output capacity of the connectors by the end of this year to keep up with the strong market, in which the company began shipping the products in June this year.

BizLink executives point out that many of the company's customers have even made Type C bus a standard device in their new products, a trend set to drive up demand for the connectors, adding that the Type C USB market will become a driving force of the company's sales in the second half.

LOTES executives say the company has tested its connectors according to at least 10 criteria specified by customers and begun shipping the products, which are relatively complicated and not easy to develop. They feel the company's sales will grow further when Intel releases the Skylake microprocessor, which is the industry's first Type C processor, this August.

Information-technology (IT) industry executives predict that motherboard heavyweights including Asustek Computer Inc., Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd., and Micro-Star International Co., Ltd. will release Type C boards after Intel launches Skylake. International laptop heavyweights Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) and Dell, Inc. project to ship around 20 million laptop PCs embedded with Type C USB next year, respectively.

Despite seeing uncertain global economic development in the second half this year, they feel the Type C-enabled Skylake will drive PC makers and laptop makers as well as IT-peripheral makers to integrate Type C USB into new products, to trigger the replacement of traditional USB with the Type C USB.

Industry executives estimate in five years all end-user IT products will be integrated with Type C USB.

While many of Taiwan's connectors have begun shipping Type C products, the island's IC design houses will not start delivering such products until the first quarter of next year.

The IC design houses point out that currently all Type C end-user products, including Apple New MacBook, Pixel (Google's next-generation Chromebook), Nokia N1 tablet PC, and LeTV's super smartphones, are equipped with IC chips from international heavyweight designers albeit with connectors from Taiwan's suppliers.

They say the Type C USB has indeed given a boost to Taiwan's electronics supply chain when the business outlook is so bearish because the new specification prompts IT-system makers to redesign their products.


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