Business / Technology

Knowles expects sound future in China

By Wu Yiyao (China Daily) Updated: 2015-06-12 09:32

Micro-acoustic products maker Knowles Corporation is banking on China's growing demand for consumer electronics and hearing aid products for sustainable growth, a top company official said.

Jeffrey Niew, president and chief executive officer of the Illinois, United States-based company, said Knowles will cater to the demand by further expanding in presence in China. He made the remarks during the opening of the company's micro-acoustic production facility, the largest in the world, in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, on Tuesday.

According to Niew, revenue from the company's China operations grew by 75 percent in the past year despite an overall market slowdown. This gives Knowles the confidence to remain bullish on the China market in the long run, he said, adding that the emergence of Chinese smartphone makers like Xiaomi Corp is another positive for the company.

In 2014, Xiaomi Corp became Knowles' third-largest client after Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co. China's contribution to the company's overall market share has risen due to the popularity of made-in-China consumer electronics products, he said.

Though growth in smartphone sales is expected to fall to 11.3 percent this year, compared with 27.6 percent in 2014, the demand for better sound solutions will continue to drive demand for consumer electronics companies, said a recent report from market research firm International Data Corp.

"Handsets which had only one microphones untill now may need four to five for better results and thus may demand more advanced micro-acoustic components in one handset," said Niew.

Wearable devices are another area that holds immense promise for Knowles, he said, adding that the company has stepped up research and development on components and acoustic software solutions.

Hearing aid devices will also see fast growth in China, with the market clocking double-digit growth rate and sales of more than four million sets in 2014, according to Bosi Data, a market research firm. Hearing aids may not only become a medical appliance but also a wearable tool that could perform various functions, said Niew.

In April, Knowles said it had reached a definitive agreement to acquire California-based Audience Inc, to expand its intelligent audio and signal processing solutions. The company will also look at developing solutions for speech recognition, better acoustic performances and video conferencing, said Niew.

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