Zhongguancun, China?s Silicon Valley gambles on CES exposure

Five of the top technology companies in China made an appearance at CES. They proved that China is a power to be reckoned with, not only in the world economy, but in the world of technology. They come from Zhongguancun, better know to English speakers as the Beijing Science Park. And impressive they were.

Beijing Standing Panel
Beijing Standing Panel – Leaders of Chinese Silicon Valley located close to Beijing.

Zhongguancun is a 232 square kilometer complex, with nearly 20,000 high tech enterprises residing. In 2006, the Park?s sales revenue was approximately equivalent to $80 billion USD. This is their first excursion into the US arena at CES.

Dave Yang, founder, CTO and VP of Vimicro, kicked off the list of presenters. He proudly told us that "Vimicro was the first China [fabless] chip company to go public" [Nasdaq: VIMC]. That was five years ago. It is a semiconductor design company involved in advanced multimedia processors for desktop and notebook computers, and mobile devices.

Dr. Yang is not unfamiliar with the US, a Stanford University Electrical Engineering graduate, he worked at Pixim in the Silicon Valley of California. His research on mixed-signal imaging gained the attention of Intel and Hewlett Packard. His Beijing-based company, Vimicro, has applied for 1800 patents – "with no disputes over intellectual property" claims Yang, apparently fully aware of China?s uneasy reputation in this area.

Vimicro's Olympic Torch
Vimicro’s Olympic Torch

He was at CES to announce a scene-based, high-fidelity image processing technology for surveillance markets. Designed with low-power, it has a configurable multi-core architecture. It boasts wide dynamic video, nature scene which can capture and display up to 16 bits per pixel [bpp], with tone-mapping 12-16bpp down to 8bpp LCD. The quality is good enough for high accuracy video analytics and to use as evidence due to its image/video process and compression which preserves the details of the original scene. Microsoft, Samsung, Sony, HP, Logitech, Lenovo, and Philips are some of the companies already counted among Vimicro?s customers.

Next on the podium was IVT Corporation, a global supplier of Bluetooth software, Fixed-Mobile Convergence terminal solutions, and location-based marketing systems. British Telecom, Motorola, LG, Richo, Panasonic, Mitac, and Lenevo are a few names on their customer list. IVT is Intel’s MID worldwide Bluetooth solution provider on Moblin.

Products developed by IVT include Bluetooth V3.0 high speed host stack and profiles source code, and their application software BlueSoleil, which has a Linux version. IVT products are found in 145 countries. At home, their Interoperability Testing Center provides design services, testing, and Bluetooth BQB qualification support. 

Hanvon N520 menu - a medical phoneDr. Qiang Gao, founder, CEO, and inventor, told of a personal loss that lead him to develop IVT?s newest product. The Mobile Health Management and Rescue Service System, is aimed at the elderly and ill, for their caregivers, physicians and emergency centers. The system is built around vital sign monitoring, mobile and fixed line phones, wireless, and fixed-mobile convergence solutions, and on-line accessible information. Home-based or mobile patients being monitored can send distress calls using the S120 health care mobile phone. Dr. Gao is hoping to develop distributors worldwide to provide these life-saving services. The website about his latest offering is available in English, German, Russian, Spanish, French, and of course, Chinese.

The third presenter Liu Yingjian is chairman of the board of Hanvon Technology Company. His initial claim to fame 25 years ago was the development of the first online handwriting character recognition device. Since then, his technology has won numerous awards and recognition, gaining partnerships with the likes of Nokia, NEC, Acer, Casio, Sony Ericsson, Epson, and Toshiba.

Hanwang owns core technologies including those that recognize handwritten characters, handwriting input, OCR and embedded technology. The company owns intellectual property in online handwriting cursive recognition, OCR, and digital drawing tablets. Their market focus is education, the financial industry, and traffic surveillance for their face recognition capabilities.

To fulfill their mission to "make customers, partners, shareholders, employees live easier and happier" Hanwang introduced the world?s first 5 inch Electronic Book series in 2008. They brought an English version of their latest E-Books, N520 and N526 with touch screen to CES.

The IGRS Engineering Lab spokesman and president, Dr. Yuning Sun gave the fourth presentation. He began by telling us that they had no commodity, nor goods to offer. IGRS [Intelligent Grouping and Resource Sharing] concentrates on 3C convergence, the junction of content, computers and communications. IGRS is the national standard in China and has been approved as IS [International Standard] by ISO [International Organization for Standardization] and IEC.
IGRS Standardization - pushing for standardization of 3C Convergence Standard
IGRS Standardization – pushing for standardization of 3C Convergence Standard

IGRS?s goal is to break down the barrier between devices. IGRS overcomes incompatibility between drives, interfaces, and network configurations. IGRS devices interact with each other seamlessly. Every IGRS device recognizes another within a network and forms either a peer-to-peer or master/slave device group. Each device shares its resources with the other. For example, a PC will share audio visual content to a digital media player such as a TV, or multimedia service messages with a mobile phone.
China owns the independent intellectual property rights in the 3C collaborative standard. The IGRS Alliance owns 48 international patents. Member companies? products cover the gambit from Smart TV?s, PC?s laptops, projectors, and mobile phones to printers. Dr. Sun was at CES to encourage companies to join the IGRS Alliance and adopt the 3C interoperability standard.

Dr. Gang Qiu, founded Patentics, a large scale concept search engine, which was the topic of the final presentation of the day. It is a next generation intelligent search engine that understandings patents and document content worldwide. Patentics provides relevant machine-ranked results. It was devised for patent searching, a most complex task. Patentics understands the mathematical meaning of all patent contents regardless of country. Patentics technology, itself, has patents pending (US 2009/0276420 and 276421).

Patentics showcased a demo of Textics expanded intelligent search resultsPatentics showcased a demo of Textics expanded intelligent search results

Building on the text-understanding technologies developed for patent searches, a second application, Textics addresses the content of the world wide web, ranking words, phrases, or paragraphs of text in news or ads by their true meaning, not by keywords. Ad opportunities are matched with the meaning, reducing ads with no relevant connection to the contents. Additionally, Textics identifies the concepts in an article and extends it with highly relevant terms and seamlessly blends them into the contents.

Patentics also has a US patent [7,490,031] on Software Amplifier. The software mining machine systematically takes the binary software of its system input, identifies the models of the software, and constructs new software as its system output. With the modeled software as its content, the new software becomes a software- medium that can be executed automatically or interactively.

Mr. Frank Tan, Chief Representative of Zhongguancun in the US, acted as interpretor for the panel and the audience as questions were posed both in English and Chinese. He ended the day by saying, "We are proud to be here this year, because we are with world class players, and we brought innovative entrepreneurs. We come as a team from the Science Park in China telling one story. We have this name, ZhongGuanCun, hard to pronounce. You will keep it in your mind." He concluded with a famous phrase, "We?ll be back" and ended the conference with "Xie Xie."