QBit's Announcement of Sister Company Featured in The MFP Report

The September 2022 issue of The MFP Report included an article on QBit. The article is reproduced here with permission.

The MFP Report: QBit Semiconductor Announces Sister Company to Serve OEMs in China

QBit Semiconductor, a small Boston area developer of printer and MFP system-on-a-chip (SOC) processors, announced on August 11 the formation of what it described as a Chinese “sister company” located in Shanghai. While QBit drove the formation of the new SynQ Technology, the company was set up and funded by New Kinpo Group (NKG), which has also funded QBit since the company was formed in 2016. QBit has no ownership stake in SynQ.

Establishing SynQ comes at a time when Chinese IT companies — including China-based hardcopy vendors — are under pressure from the Chinese government to reduce dependence on foreign technology suppliers. Likewise, foreign technology companies are seeking to lessen their dependence on Chinese customers and manufacturing partners.

Right now, SynQ is a very small company that does not even have a web site. QBit’s plan is to increase its collaboration with the new Chinese company over time. Initially, SynQ will take over serving existing and new QBit hardcopy customers that are based in China, while QBit will continue to work with hardcopy customers in the rest of the world.

In addition, QBit and SynQ will work as partners to jointly develop and cross license rights to new SOC integrated circuits for hardcopy devices — and conceivably for other devices — for the worldwide market. For those future chips as well, SynQ will handle China, and QBit will handle the rest of the world. However, new jointly developed chips are unlikely to be available commercially until 2025 at the earliest.

QBit was formed by a long-time group of silicon engineers with printing expertise who left Qualcomm six years ago. QBit received an initial $8 million investment from NKG QBit Semiconductor Announces Sister Company to Serve OEMs in China in 2016. It had also expected additional investments from “a major Japan semiconductor company and a major Japan printer company,” but those deals ended up getting scrapped, and NKG invested an additional $4.5 million in QBit in 2020.

NKG refers to a collection of four publicly-traded companies whose origins go back to 1973. NKG says it is a “world leader in electronic manufacturing services, original design manufacturing, and own-brand products.” Its companies have locations in the US, China, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brazil, Mexico, and the Philippines. QBit is part of one of these companies, Taiwan-based Kinpo Electronics, which reported $4.3 billion in revenue last year.

Today, QBit has around 60 employees in offices located in or near Boston, Taipei and Tokyo. In 2021, QBit had record revenue of $11.2 million, which was up 23% from 2020. But QBit has accumulated losses much larger than that.

Since 2016, QBit has had two avenues of business. It has continued to sell and support the existing Quatro SOC processors that Qualcomm acquired when it purchased CSR in 2015. And QBit has also been developing its own new SOC parts for printers and MFPs, while licensing the underlying imaging technology for those chips from Qualcomm.

QBit’s first new chip is the QB6300, which debuted last year in Fujifilm’s 30 ppm A4 color LED ApeosPrint C320dw printer and Apeos C320z 4-in-1 MFP. Versions of the QBit-branded QB6300 are also reportedly used in Deli’s latest inkjet AIOs in China, and in the most recent laser MFPs from Lenovo and Xiaomi in China. QBit is working on two related hardcopy SOCs that will replace old Quatro chips to address a broader range of hardcopy devices.

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