LEDinside has recenctly conducted an exclusive interview with Dr. Guowei Xiao, APT's Managing Director, who explained why the price of APT’s high power HB LED chips goes against the price downtrend.
Dr. Xiao pointed out that APT has concentrated on developing high power HB LED from the very beginning. In terms of the luminous efficacy, APT’s 1W LED has achieved over 110 lm, way ahead of other high power LED brands. There are very few high power LED chips from mainland China can reach such an efficacy hence orders are continuously flowing into APT in 2010. So far as APT is concerned, the production capacity is not able to meet the supply and the price of mainstream LEDs has risen despite the price downtrend of high power LEDs on the market.
APT says that its products mostly fall into the range of the blue LED chip applied into the white LED lighting and commercial lighting at 0.5W, 1W or 3W. APT’s flip chip technologies combined with ICs and supporting systems cannot only provide single chip light sources at 0.5W or 1W but also multiple chip modules and light sources. Besides, APT LED modules with integrated functions tailored to customer needs can be provided to package and application manufacturers as well as downstream lighting manufacturers.
Dr. Xiao also remarked that APT’s flip chip technologies benefit from the IP patents of the founding stock holder—the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. When customers package APT LED products, the bonding wire can be directly bonded to the Si substrate which has good thermal conductivity thus cools easily. Meanwhile, the adopted pad is sized at 250mm x250 mm for the assembly convenience. If customers need multiple chip modules, APT can simply provide high power module chips. Although the price of module chips is typically 10% higher than normal chips, customers can save the costs like die bonding and wire bonding, which will in total cut 10% cost for customers.
In addition, compared with COB package products, chip modules are not only good at cooling as well but also able to combine functionaries, for example, in the form of the high voltage LED module for voltage protection. When customers require high efficacy in addition to the high voltage, APT can directly offer a chip with brightness raised by 15 to 20 percent.
Dr. Xiao believed that the promotion of flip chip technologies first needs downstream package manufacturers to solve the cooling and light distribution problems. Due to the limited number of mid- and high-end package manufacturers in mainland China, APT meets a great challenge in promoting high power HB chips there. In order to solve the problem for market expansion, APT has strategically joined hands with international investors and emphasized oversea marketing. Though cooperation with high-end customers of considerable sizes, it establishes good relations with end lighting companies and deliver high power HB LED chips to be packaged in LED lighting fixtures by large lighting manufacturers. Its market positioning is package and lighting manufacturer, lighting fixture production excluded.
APT develops on its own with the help of venture capital and strategic investors. Its current monthly capacity is 10,000 to 15,000 pieces, mainly high power HB chips oriented at mid- and high-end markets. Small chips for low-end market basically do not fall into APT’s product range. Moreover, the end applications of APT LED chips are in the street light, commercial and special lighting markets with major customers of high power LED package manufacturers and important functional lighting application manufacturers.
Dr. Xiao estimated that APT’s market share can be ranked No.1 in China’s local high power HB LED chip manufacturers. Plus oversea manufacturers like Epistar and Cree, APT still takes the third or fourth place. Established as mid-and high-end brand, 90% of APT products are sold in mainland China.
Meanwhile, he thought it necessary to reduce the cost of LED system, master advanced core technologies and increase the added value of the product by means of technology upgrade. Thus with high cost-performance products, a company can establish its position in the market and realize long-term development.