Company Quick10K Filing
Himax Technologies
20-F 2019-12-31 Filed 2020-03-25
20-F 2018-12-31 Filed 2019-03-28
20-F 2017-12-31 Filed 2018-03-28
20-F 2016-12-31 Filed 2017-04-12
20-F 2015-12-31 Filed 2016-04-13
20-F 2013-12-31 Filed 2014-04-15
20-F 2012-12-31 Filed 2013-04-30
20-F 2011-12-31 Filed 2012-05-01
20-F 2010-12-31 Filed 2011-05-20
20-F 2009-12-31 Filed 2010-06-03

HIMX 20F Annual Report

Part I
Item 1. Identity of Directors, Senior Management and Advisers
Item 2. Offer Statistics and Expected Timetable
Item 3. Key Information
Item 4. Information on The Company
Item 4A. Unresolved Staff Comments
Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects
Item 6. Directors, Senior Management and Employees
Item 7. Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions
Item 8. Financial Information
Item 9. The Offer and Listing
Item 10. Additional Information
Item 11. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk
Item 12. Description of Securities Other Than Equity Securities
Part II
Item 13. Defaults, Dividend Arrearages and Delinquencies
Item 14. Material Modifications To The Rights of Security Holders and Use of Proceeds
Item 15. Controls and Procedures
Item 16. [Reserved]
Part III
Item 17. Financial Statements
Item 18. Financial Statements
Item 19. Exhibits
Note 1. Reporting Entity
Note 2. Basis of Preparation
Note 3. Application of New and Revised Ifrs As Issued By The Iasb
Note 4. Significant Accounting Policies
Note 1: Emza Visual Sense Ltd. Was Wholly Acquired By Himax Technologies Limited and Becomes A Subsidiary of The Company From June 28, 2018.
Note 1: Since The Company Had Net Loss for 2019, The Unvested Rsus and Employee Stock Options Are Not Being Considered with Dilutive Effect for The Year.
Note 5. Acquisition
Note 6. Cash and Cash Equivalents
Note 7. Financial Assets At Amortized Cost
Note 8. Financial Assets At Fair Value Through Profit or Loss
Note 9. Financial Assets At Fair Value Through Other Comprehensive Income
Note 10. Financial Liability At Amortized Cost
Note 11. Accounts Receivable, Net
Note 12. Inventories
Note 13.	Equity Method Investments
Note 14.	Other Intangible Assets
Note 15.	Property, Plant and Equipment
Note 16. Other Current Liabilities
Note 17. Short-Term Borrowings
Note 18.Employee Benefits
Note 19. Share-Based Compensation
Note 20. Equity
Note 21. Income Taxes
Note 22. Financial Instruments
Note 23. Financial Risk Management
Note 24. Capital Management
Note 25. Related-Party Transactions
Note 26. Pledged Assets
Note 27. Commitments and Contingencies
Note 28. Segment, Product and Geographic Information
Note 29. The Nature of Expenses
Note 30. Himax Technologies, Inc. (The Parent Company Only)
EX-8.1 tm206809d1_ex8-1.htm
EX-12.1 tm206809d1_ex12-1.htm
EX-12.2 tm206809d1_ex12-2.htm
EX-13.1 tm206809d1_ex13-1.htm
EX-15.1 tm206809d1_ex15-1.htm

Himax Technologies Earnings 2019-12-31

Balance SheetIncome StatementCash Flow

20-F 1 tm206809-1_20f.htm FORM 20-F

 

 

UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

 

 

FORM 20-F

(Mark One)

 

¨REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR (g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

OR

 

xANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019

OR

 

¨TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from ________________ to ________________

 

OR

 

¨SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
Date of event requiring this shell company report ________________

 

Commission file number: 000-51847

 

HIMAX TECHNOLOGIES, INC.

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)

 

Not Applicable

(Translation of Registrant’s name into English)

 

CAYMAN ISLANDS

(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)

 

NO. 26, ZIH LIAN ROAD

SINSHIH DISTRICT, TAINAN CITY 74148

TAIWAN, REPUBLIC OF CHINA

(Address of principal executive offices)

 

Jackie Chang

Chief Financial Officer

Telephone: +886-2-2370-3999

E-mail: jackie_chang@himax.com.tw

Facsimile: +886-2-2314-0877

10F, No. 1, Xiangyang Road
Taipei 10046

Taiwan, Republic of China

(Name, Telephone, E-mail and/or Facsimile number and Address of Company Contact Person)

 

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of each class Trading Symbol Name of each exchange on which registered
     
Ordinary Shares, par value $0.3 per ordinary share HIMX The NASDAQ Global Select Market Inc.*
     

*       Not for trading, but only in connection with the listing on the NASDAQ Global Select Market, Inc. of American Depositary Shares representing such Ordinary Shares.

 

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:     None

 

Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act:     None

 

Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the issuer’s classes of capital or common stock as of the close of the period covered by the annual report. 344,368,062 Ordinary Shares.

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. x  Yes      ¨  No

 

If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. ¨  Yes      x  No

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. x  Yes      ¨  No

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). x  Yes      ¨  No

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or an emerging growth company. See definition of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):

 

Large accelerated filer ¨ Accelerated filer x Non-accelerated filer ¨

 

Emerging growth company ¨

 

If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards† provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ¨

 

† The term “new or revised financial accounting standard” refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.

 

Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:

 

U.S. GAAP ¨

International Financial Reporting Standards as issued

by the International Accounting Standards Board x

Other ¨

 

If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow. ¨  Item 17      ¨  Item 18

 

If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).
¨  Yes      x  No

 

 

 

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

 

Page

 

SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS   4
CERTAIN CONVENTIONS   4
PART I   7
ITEM 1. IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS   7
ITEM 2. OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE   7
ITEM 3. KEY INFORMATION   7
3.A. Selected Financial Data   7
3.B. Capitalization and Indebtedness   9
3.C. Reason for the Offer and Use of Proceeds   9
3.D. Risk Factors   9
ITEM 4. INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY   31
4.A. History and Development of the Company   31
4.B. Business Overview   32
4.C. Organizational Structure   58
4.D. Property, Plants and Equipment   59
ITEM 4A. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS   60
ITEM 5. OPERATING AND FINANCIAL REVIEW AND PROSPECTS   60
5.A. Operating Results   60
5.B. Liquidity and Capital Resources   73
5.C. Research and Development   74
5.D. Trend Information   75
5.E. Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements   78
5.F. Tabular Disclosure of Contractual Obligations   78
ITEM 6. DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND EMPLOYEES   79
6.A. Directors and Senior Management   79
6.B. Compensation   80
6.C. Board Practices   81
6.D. Employees   83
6.E. Share Ownership   86
ITEM 7. MAJOR SHAREHOLDERS AND RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS   86
7.A. Major Shareholders   86
7.B. Related Party Transactions   87
7.C. Interests of Experts and Counsel   87
ITEM 8. FINANCIAL INFORMATION   87
8.A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information   87
8.B. Significant Changes   89
ITEM 9. THE OFFER AND LISTING   89
9.A. Offer and Listing Details   89
9.B. Plan of Distribution   89
9.C. Markets   89
9.D. Selling Shareholders   89
9.E. Dilution   89
9.F. Expenses of the Issue   89

 

2

 

 

ITEM 10. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION   89
10.A. Share Capital   89
10.B. Memorandum and Articles of Association   89
10.C. Material Contracts   90
10.D. Exchange Controls   90
10.E. Taxation   90
10.F. Dividends and Paying Agents   93
10.G. Statement by Experts   93
10.H. Documents on Display   93
10.I. Subsidiary Information   93
ITEM 11. QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK   93
ITEM 12. DESCRIPTION OF SECURITIES OTHER THAN EQUITY SECURITIES   94
12.A. Debt Securities   94
12.B. Warrants and Rights   94
12.C. Other Securities   94
12.D. American Depositary Shares   94
PART II   95
ITEM 13. DEFAULTS, DIVIDEND ARREARAGES AND DELINQUENCIES   95
ITEM 14. MATERIAL MODIFICATIONS TO THE RIGHTS OF SECURITY HOLDERS AND USE OF PROCEEDS   95
ITEM 15. CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES   95
ITEM 16. [RESERVED]   97
16.A. Audit Committee Financial Expert   97
16.B. Code of Ethics   97
16.C. Principal Accountant Fees and Services   98
16.D. Exemptions from the Listing Standards for Audit Committees   98
16.E. Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers   98
16.F. Change in Registrant’s Certifying Accountant   99
16.G. Corporate Governance   99
16.H. Mine Safety Disclosure   99
PART III   99
ITEM 17. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS   99
ITEM 18. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS   99
ITEM 19. EXHIBITS   100

 

3

 

 

SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

 

This annual report on Form 20-F contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act. Although these forward-looking statements, which may include statements regarding our future results of operations, financial condition, or business prospects, are based on our own information and information from other sources we believe to be reliable, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which apply only as of the date of this annual report. The words “anticipate,” “believe,” “expect,” “intend,” “plan,” “estimate” and similar expressions, as they relate to us, are intended to identify a number of these forward-looking statements. Our actual results of operations, financial condition or business prospects may differ materially from those expressed or implied in these forward-looking statements for a variety of reasons, including, among other things and not limited to, our anticipated growth strategies, our and our customers’ future business developments, results of operations and financial condition, our ability to develop new products, the future growth and pricing trend of the display driver markets, the future growth of end-use applications that use flat panel displays, particularly TFT-LCD panels, development of alternative flat panel display technologies, market acceptance and competitiveness of the driver and non-driver products developed by us, our ability to protect intellectual property, changes in customer relations and preference, shortage in supply of key components, our ability to collect accounts receivable and manage inventory, changes in economic and financial market conditions, and other factors. For a discussion of these risks and other factors, please see “Item 3.D. Key Information—Risk Factors.”

 

CERTAIN CONVENTIONS

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all translations from U.S. dollars to NT dollars in this annual report were made at a rate of $1.00 to NT$29.91, the exchange rates set forth in the H.10 weekly statistical release of the Federal Reserve System of the United States (the “Federal Reserve Board”) on December 31, 2019. No representation is made that the NT dollar amounts referred to herein could have been or could be converted into U.S. dollars at any particular rate or at all. On March 20, 2020, the noon buying rate was $1.00 to NT$30.3. Unless otherwise indicated, in this annual report,

 

the terms “we”, “us”, “our company”, “our” and “Himax” refers to Himax Technologies, Inc., its predecessor entities and subsidiaries;

 

the term “Himax Taiwan” refers to Himax Technologies Limited, our wholly owned subsidiary in Taiwan and our predecessor;

 

“shares” or “ordinary shares” refer to our ordinary shares, par value $0.3 per share;

 

“RSUs” refers to restricted share units;

 

“ADSs” refers to our American depositary shares, each of which represents two ordinary shares;

 

“ADRs” refers to the American depositary receipts that evidence our ADSs;

 

“AR” refers to the augmented reality;

 

“ROC” or “Taiwan” refers to the island of Taiwan and other areas under the effective control of the Republic of China;

 

“PRC” or “China” for purposes of this annual report refers to the People’s Republic of China, excluding Taiwan and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau;

 

“AIoT” refers to Artificial Intelligence & Internet of Things;

 

“AMOLED” refers to active matrix organic light-emitting diode;

 

“ASIC” refers to application specific integrated circuit;

 

“ASC” refers to active stereo camera 3D sensing, which uses two cameras to replicate 3D vision in nature, augmented by coded light for image depth enhancement;

 

4

 

 

“CMOS” refers to complementary metal oxide semiconductor;

 

“edge computing” refers to a distributed computing paradigm which brings data computation closer to the location it is needed, to reduce power consumption needed for data computation, improve response time and save bandwidth;

 

“head-mounted-display” refers to a display device, worn on the head or as part of a helmet, that has a small display optic in front of one or each;

 

“IC” refers to integrated circuit;

 

“IFRS” refers to The International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board;

 

“IGZO” refers to indium gallium zinc oxide;

 

“Innolux” refers to Innolux Corporation, its predecessor and consolidated subsidiaries, unless the context otherwise requires;

 

“LCOS” refers to liquid crystal on silicon;

 

“LED” refers to light-emitting diode;

 

“LTPS” refers to low temperature poly silicon;

 

“MEMS” refers to micro-electro mechanical systems;

 

“OLED” refers to organic light-emitting diode;

 

“Structured Light” refers to a 3D infrared structure light projector, which is composed of a laser light source, a collimated lens and a diffractive optics element (DOE);

 

“SLiMTM” refers to Structured Light Imaging Module, which is Himax homegrown structured light-based 3D sensing total solution;

 

“TDDI” refers to touch display driver integrated circuit for advanced in cell touch display;

 

“TFT-LCD” refers to amorphous silicon thin film transistor liquid crystal display, or “a-Si TFT-LCD”;

 

“ToF” refers to a time-of-flight (ToF) 3D camera works by illuminating the scene with a modulated light source, and observing the reflected light;

 

“VGA” refers to Video Graphics Array;

 

“VR” refers to the virtual reality;

 

“wafer level optics” or “WLO” are optical products manufactured using semiconductor process on wafers;

 

“WiseEye®” refers to WiseEye intelligent vision solution is based on Emza’s unique AI-based machine-learning trainable algorithms, on top of Himax’s proprietary computer vision processor and CMOS image sensor – all equipped with ultra-low power design;

 

“WiseEye WE-I Plus” refers to an AI accelerator-embedded ASIC platform solution for application developers to develop and deploy CNN-based machine learning models on AIoT applications including smart home appliances and surveillance systems;

 

“processed tape” refers to polyimide tape plated with copper foil that has a circuit formed within it, which is used in tape-automated bonding packaging;

5

 

 

“semiconductor manufacturing service providers” refers to third-party wafer fabrication foundries, gold bumping houses, and assembly and testing houses;

 

“large-sized panels” refers to panels that are typically above ten inches in diagonal measurement;

 

“small and medium-sized panels” refers to panels that are typically around ten inches or less in diagonal measurement. All sizes of smartphone, automotive and tablet displays are identified as small and medium;

 

all references to “New Taiwan dollars”, “NT dollars” and “NT$” are to the legal currency of the ROC; and

 

all references to “dollars”, “U.S. dollars” and “$” are to the legal currency of the United States.

 

On August 10, 2009, we effected: (i) a stock split in the form of a stock dividend of 5,999 ordinary shares for each ordinary share held by shareholders of record, followed by a consolidation of every 3,000 ordinary shares into one ordinary share; (ii) a change of the par value of our ordinary shares from $0.0001 each to $0.3 each; and (iii) a change in our ADS ratio from one ADS representing one ordinary share to one ADS representing two ordinary shares. See “Item 7.A. Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions—Major Shareholders” for more information. Unless otherwise indicated, all shares, per share and share equity data in this annual report have been retroactively adjusted to reflect the effect of the stock split and the change in par value for all periods presented.

 

6

 

 

 

PART I

 

ITEM 1. IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

 

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 2. OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

 

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 3. KEY INFORMATION

 

3.A. Selected Financial Data

 

The selected consolidated statements of profit or loss data and selected consolidated cash flow data for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019 and the selected consolidated statements of financial position data as of December 31, 2018 and 2019 are derived from our audited consolidated financial statements included herein, which are presented in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards, or “IFRS”, as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board, or “IASB”. The selected consolidated statement of financial position data as of December 31, 2017, set forth below, is derived from our audited consolidated financial statements not included herein. Since 2018 was the first year of our audited consolidated financial statements prepared in accordance with IFRS, pursuant to the transitional relief granted by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in respect of the first-time adoption of IFRS, we have only provided financial statements and financial information for the financial years ended December 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019. Additionally, financial data as of and for the years ended December 31, 2015 and 2016 derived from our consolidated financial statements prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP have not been included below, and no audited consolidated financial statements and financial information prepared in accordance with IFRS for the year ended December 31, 2016 have been included in this annual report. Historical financial results as of and for the year ended December 31, 2017 have also been adjusted based on IFRS, which differs from the results included in our annual reports on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2017. Our historical results do not necessarily indicate results expected for any future periods.

 

The selected financial data set forth below should be read in conjunction with “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects” and the consolidated financial statements and the notes to those statements included herein.

 

   Year Ended December 31, 
   2017   2018   2019(1) 
   (in thousands, except per share data) 
Consolidated Statements of Profit or Loss Data:               
Revenues  $685,167   $723,605   $671,835 
Costs and expenses(2):               
Cost of revenues   518,142    554,690    533,916 
Research and development   117,662    123,037    114,859 
General and administrative   20,461    21,823    23,672 
Expected credit loss   155    290    67 
Sales and marketing   20,388    20,380    17,628 
                
Operating income (loss)  $8,359   $3,385   $(18,307)
                
Profit (loss) for the year  $25,538   $6,026   $(16,184)
Profit (loss) attributable to Himax stockholders  $27,680   $8,569   $(13,614)
                
Earnings (loss) per ordinary share attributable to Himax stockholders:               
Basic  $0.08   $0.02   $(0.04)
Diluted  $0.08   $0.02   $(0.04)
Earnings (loss) per ADS attributable to Himax stockholders(3):               
Basic  $0.16   $0.05   $(0.08)
Diluted  $0.16   $0.05   $(0.08)
Weighted-average number of ordinary shares used in earnings per share computation(3):               
Basic   344,849    345,020    345,101 
Diluted   344,903    345,069    345,101 
Weighted-average number of ADS equivalent used in earnings per share computation(4):               
Basic   172,425    172,510    172,550 
Diluted   172,452    172,534    172,550 
                
Cash dividends declared per ordinary share(5)  $0.12   $0.05   $- 
Cash dividends declared per ADS  $0.24   $ 0.10   $- 

 

7

 

 

 

Note:(1) Reflects the adoption of the new accounting standard in fiscal year 2019 related to IFRS 16 “Leases”.

 

(2)The amount of share-based compensation included in applicable costs and expenses categories is summarized as follows:

 

   Year Ended December 31, 
   2017   2018   2019 
   (in thousands) 
Cost of revenues  $204   $90   $9 
Research and development   5,222    3,165    339 
General and administrative   723    387    50 
Sales and marketing   995    544    59 
Total  $7,144   $4,186   $457 

 

Of the $7.1 million, $4.2 million and $0.5 million in share-based compensation in 2017, 2018 and 2019, $6.1 million, $3.8 million and nil were settled in cash, respectively.

 

(3)Since the Company had net loss for 2019, the unvested RSUs and employee stock options are not being considered with dilutive effect for the year.

 

(4)The number of ADS equivalent outstanding is determined by dividing the number of ordinary shares by two. The earnings (loss) per ADS is presented solely for the convenience of the reader and does not represent a measure under IFRS.

 

(5)The above cash dividends should not be considered representative of the dividends that would be paid in any future periods or our dividend policy. See “Item 8.A.8. Financial Information—Dividends and Dividend Policy” for more information on our dividends and our dividend policy.

 

   As of December 31, 
   2017   2018   2019 
   (in thousands) 
Consolidated Statements of Financial Position Data:               
Cash and cash equivalents  $138,023   $106,437   $101,055 
Accounts receivable, net   188,774    189,279    164,943 
Inventories   135,200    162,561    143,774 
Total current assets   662,621    654,415    604,668 
Total assets   803,193    836,678    818,481 
Accounts payable   139,933    150,500    114,320 
Total current liabilities   343,726    391,155    380,890 
Total liabilities   349,605    394,391    387,237 
Ordinary shares   107,010    107,010    107,010 
Treasury shares   (8,878)   (8,819)   (8,764)
Total equity   453,588    442,287    431,244 

 

8

 

 

   Year Ended December 31, 
   2017   2018   2019 
   (in thousands) 
Consolidated Cash Flow Data:               
Net cash provided by operating activities  $29,393   $4,009   $7,656 
Net cash used in investing activities   (35,088)   (38,266)   (47,767)
Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities   (41,214)   2,801    35,261 

 

Note: More detail explanation, please see “Item 5.B. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—Liquidity and Capital Resources.”

 

3.B. Capitalization and Indebtedness

 

Not applicable.

 

3.C. Reason for the Offer and Use of Proceeds

 

Not applicable.

 

3.D. Risk Factors

 

Risks Relating to Our Financial Condition and Business

 

Our suppliers may have increasing bargaining power as a result of industry consolidation, which could result in an increase in our average unit cost and a decrease in our profit margin.

 

There has been an increased level of industry consolidation among our suppliers. Merger and acquisition activities will likely increase the size and market power of the relevant suppliers and reduce the number of suppliers we could use under a simpler supplier chain. Such industry change could further reduce the number of suppliers for gold bumping, COF packages services and Tape that we could use. Therefore, suppliers could be in a better position to bargain for higher prices for their services and products, which could result in an increase in our average unit cost. Moreover, as gold is a crucial raw material in the gold bumping process, any increases in the price of gold could result in an increase in our average unit cost and a decrease in our profit margin. If we are unable to transfer any increase in average unit cost to our customers by selling at higher prices, our gross margin would decrease, and our results of operations could be adversely affected.

 

9

 

 

We derive the majority of our net revenues from sales to the TFT-LCD panel industry, which is highly cyclical and subject to price fluctuations. Such cyclicality and price fluctuations could negatively impact our business or results of operations.

 

In 2018 and 2019, 81.0% and 81.1% of our revenues, respectively, were attributable to display drivers that were incorporated into TFT-LCD panels. We expect to continue to substantially depend on sales to the TFT-LCD panel industry for the foreseeable future. The TFT-LCD panel industry is intensely competitive and is vulnerable to cyclical market conditions. The average selling prices of TFT-LCD panels generally decline with time as a result of, among other factors, capacity ramp-up, technological advancements and cost reduction with the exception of the new high end and high-resolution products. The average selling prices of TFT-LCD panels could further decline for numerous reasons, including but not limited to the following:

 

·lower-than-expected demand for end-use products that incorporate TFT-LCD panels;

 

·a surge in industrial manufacturing capacity due to the ramping up of new fabrication facilities and/or improvements in production yields; and

 

·manufacturers operating at high levels of capacity utilization in order to reduce fixed costs per panel.

 

The TFT-LCD panel industry is volatile and difficult to predict. For example, in 2014, the smartphone boom in developed markets and in China generated great demand of small and medium sized panels, helping the TFT-LCD panel business to gradually recover. However, 2015 was a more challenging year for the TFT-LCD industry due to macro uncertainties and soft demand across the consumer electronics sectors. We cannot assure you that such similar events will not occur in the future or there will not be any future shortages of materials or components for our products or our customers’ products or a decrease in demand for our products.

 

In addition, the merger of certain of our major customers, including CMO, Innolux and TPO in 2010, could result in an increase in their bargaining power and therefore subject us to additional downward pricing pressure. We cannot assure you that in such periods in which we experience significant downward pricing pressure, we could sufficiently reduce costs to completely offset the loss of revenues. In addition, a severe and prolonged industry downturn could also result in higher risks in relation to the collectability of our accounts receivable, the marketability and valuation of our inventories, the impairment of our tangible and intangible assets, and the stability of our supply chain. As a result, the cyclicality of the TFT-LCD panel industry could adversely affect our revenues, cost of revenues and results of operations.

 

Our strategy of expanding our product offerings to non-driver products may not be successful.

 

We have devoted, and intend to continue to devote, financial and management resources to the development, manufacturing and marketing of non-driver products as we diversify our product portfolio and because our non-driver products have higher gross margin than our driver products. Our non-driver products include, among others, timing controllers, touch panel controllers, LCOS and MEMS microdisplays, power management ICs, CMOS image sensors, wafer level optics (WLO) products, 3D sensing solution and ultra-low power smart sensing.

 

We believe end products utilizing our LCOS technology could potentially be a large market and we have made major progress toward commercialization of LCOS microdisplays for head-mounted-display. On top of that, we have seen supply chain maturing throughout the years with a growing number of significant players investing in microdisplay reference designs. Our LCOS microdisplay business hit on inflection point in September 2015 with pilot production shipment made to a major customer. Since then, we have increased shipments of our LCOS products to some industry heavyweights and secured additional design engagements with current and new customers. Some of our major customers already launched their products in 2016. At present, our main focus areas for LCOS business are AR goggle devices and head-up-displays (HUD) for automotive, while AR will take a few years to fully realize its market potential. We continue to see heavyweight companies allocating major R&D resources and budgets to bring the new products into the market. Tier 1 companies and start-up companies are investing heavily to develop the ecosystem -- applications, software, OS, firmware, system electronics, and optics. With all these investments, we will see an ecosystem build up within the next few years; the AR market will then be in an acceleration mode. While most customers don’t expect big volume for their early generation products, we have been working with many of them for future generation devices. We are committed to providing the best technology to support them in the effort. We are also seeing constant additions of new customers using our LCOS for a variety of new applications. We believe that Himax stands to benefit from our customers’ successful commercialization of their new products due to our unique position as one of the providers of choice for microdisplay and related optics. Nevertheless, these product categories are at a relatively early stage as compared to other products and they have a relatively immature supply chain. Therefore, it is difficult to project the success of the applications that use LCOS microdisplay products.

 

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We also believe there are new market opportunities for our CMOS image sensors. Although it seems relatively challenging for us to gain significant market share in conventional RGB camera, we do think there are various interesting and different applications in imaging. On top of our legacy products in laptop and multimedia, we’ve developed two technologies for computer vision, i.e., near infrared (“NIR”) sensor and Always-on-Sensor (“AoS”). NIR sensor is a building stone for passive as well as active computer vision system. With the special design in pixel architecture and materials, our NIR sensor provides industry leading Quantum Efficiency (“QE”) to absorb NIR signal. AoS, on the other hand, is a specific sensor which consumes only several micro watts to do people detection, eye ball tracking, and other cool features. New sensor architectures, readout, pixel, and the corresponding slim algorithms are integrated together to contribute the always-on feature. Himax is the industry leader in these two new technologies. Given that the two new exciting product lines just hit the market, it’s still quite new to the industry. To build up the competition barrier, we have also devoted ourselves and pour a lot of resources into making the product lines more mature. As a result, these two new products take time to bear some fruits.

 

Moreover, we continue to participate in most of the smartphone OEMs’ ongoing 3D sensing projects covering structured light and time-of-flight (ToF). However, in 2018, our structured light-based 3D sensing solution targeting Android smartphone’s front-facing application was unsuccessful due to high hardware cost of 3D sensing, the long development lead time required to integrate it into the smartphone and the lack of killer applications which is limited to phone unlock and online payment. Instead of 3D sensing, most of the Android phone makers have chosen the lower cost finger print technology which can achieve similar phone unlock and online payment functions with somewhat compromised user experience. Since 2019, we are seeing increasing ToF adoption by smartphone makers for world-facing cameras to enable advanced photography, distance/dimension measurement and 3D depth information generation for AR. We have been actively working with an industry leading ToF 3D camera vendor to develop a new and advanced ToF solution, targeting Android smartphones. Leveraging on our WLO technology, we have made great progress providing the partner with spot projector for their reference design which will be ready for leading Android smartphone makers’ evaluation as soon as first quarter of 2020.

 

We reported at second quarter of 2019 earnings call on August 7, 2019, we have also adjusted our structured light-based 3D sensing technology development to focus on applications for non-smartphone segments which are typically less sensitive to cost and always require a total solution.

 

Our non-smartphone 3D-sensing engagements have focused on smart door lock and industrial automation segments where we provide structured light-based 3D sensing total solution. We have been collaborating closely with two main types of partners: those with industry-leading expertise in facial recognition algorithm and those offering application processors with strong AI capability. We have started design-in projects with several smart door lock end customers. Separately, we are working with partners who wish to take advantage of our 3D sensing know-how to automate traditional manufacturing to improve efficiency and reducing cost. One market opportunity we are pursuing is shoe factory automation. The prototypes of 3D sensing enabled automatic robotic cementing system are available now for production optimization testing.

 

Our WiseEye solution contains Himax’s industry leading CMOS image sensor and ASIC designs with Emza’s AI-based algorithm. All with low power features. WiseEye will enable next generation AI-based computer vision technology with ultra-low power for notebook and many other markets. Additionally, our new product WiseEye WE-I plus, as an edge AI computing platform solution, is aggressively joining this edge computing ecosystem by closely working with machine learning framework provider, tool chain developers, AI algorithm developers and OEM/ODM to provide flexible and cost-effective solutions to fulfill this booming but diversified market.

 

Developing and commercializing each of our non-driver products requires a significant amount of management, engineering and monetary resources. For example, we have established certain in-house facilities for key manufacturing processes of our non-driver products including LCOS microdisplay solutions, wafer-level optics and active alignment for 3D sensing. If we are unable to efficiently ramp up our production facilities or lack of customers’ demand, the lower capacity utilization rate will negatively affect our gross margin and our results of operations. Moreover, we will be subject to ramp-up expenses in the early stage of mass production of our non-driver products. Numerous uncertainties exist in developing new products and we cannot assure you that we will be able to develop our non-driver products successfully. We may underestimate the amount of capital, personnel and other resources required to develop and commercialize our non-driver products, which may affect the success of our growth strategy. We may also overestimate the market potential of the end products that are utilizing or will utilize our non-driver products, which may negatively impact our strategy for the development of non-driver products. In addition, if we are unsuccessful in expanding our product offerings to non-driver products, it may negatively affect our reputation and the status of our brand in our other markets. The failure or delay in the development, production or commercialization of any of our non-driver products, the occurrence of any product defects or design flaws, or the low market acceptance of or demand for either of our products or the end devices using our products may adversely affect our results of operations and growth prospects.

 

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The concentration of our accounts receivable and the extension of payment terms for certain of our customers exposes us to increased credit risk and could harm our operating results and cash flows.

 

As of December 31, 2019, our accounts receivable from Customer A and its affiliates were $62.1 million, which represented approximately 37.7% of our accounts receivable, net. The concentration of our accounts receivable exposes us to increased credit risk. Moreover, we have at times agreed to extend the payment terms for certain of our customers. Other customers have also requested extensions of payment terms. We may also agree to grant such requests for the extension of payment terms in the future. As a result, a default by any such customer, a prolonged delay in the payment of accounts receivable or the extension of payment terms for our customers could adversely affect our cash flow, liquidity and our operating results.

 

Our customers may experience a decline in profitability or may not be profitable at all, which could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

 

The TFT-LCD panel industry is highly competitive. TFT-LCD panel manufacturers, including our customers, experience significant pressure on prices and profit margins, due largely to growing industry capacity and fluctuations in demand for TFT-LCD panels. Some TFT-LCD panel manufacturers have greater access to capital or greater production, research and development, intellectual property, marketing or other resources than our customers, who may not be able to compete successfully and sustain their market positions. In addition, our customers’ business performance may fluctuate significantly due to a number of factors, many of which are beyond their control, including:

 

·consumer demand and the general economic conditions;

 

·the cyclical nature of both the TFT-LCD industry, including fluctuations in average selling prices, and its downstream industries;

 

·the speed at which TFT-LCD panel manufacturers expand production capacity;

 

·brand companies’ continued needs for original equipment manufacturing services provided by TFT-LCD panel manufacturers;

 

·access to raw materials, components, equipment and utilities on a timely and economical basis;

 

·technological changes;

 

·the rescheduling and cancellation of large orders;

 

·access to funding on satisfactory terms; and

 

·fluctuations in the currencies of TFT-LCD panels exporting countries against the U.S. dollar.

 

Our customers continued to operate in a challenging business environment and may experience a decline in profitability or may not be profitable at all. In addition, the aggressive expansion plans for next generation fabs in China proposed by several TFT-LCD panel manufacturers might significantly increase the output of TFT-LCD panels if all of the plans are implemented in the next few years, which could result in a decline in the average selling prices of TFT-LCD panels. In addition, the antitrust lawsuits in the U.S. and the European Union against several TFT-LCD panel manufacturers have materially and adversely affected the profitability of certain of our customers, which could, in turn, adversely affect our profit margin, significantly reduce our profits and materially affect our results of operations and financial condition.

 

We depend on sales of display drivers used in TFT-LCD panels, and the limited potential for further growth in both the market size of display drivers and the market share of our display drivers or the absence of continued market acceptance of our display drivers could limit our growth in revenues or harm our business.

 

In 2018 and 2019, we derived 81.0% and 81.1% of our revenues, respectively, from the sale of display drivers used for large-sized applications, mobile handset applications and consumer electronics applications, and we expect to continue to derive a substantial portion of our revenues from these or related products. As the display driver industry and our display driver business are relatively mature, there may be limited potential for the overall display drivers market to grow and for us to further grow our market share, which could limit our future growth in revenues.

 

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Failure to grow our unit shipments for display drivers, coupled with a general decline in the average selling prices, could adversely and materially affect our results of operations. See also “—Risks Relating to Our Industry—The average selling prices of our products could decrease rapidly, which may negatively impact our revenues and operating results.” We expect to continue deriving a substantial portion of our revenues from the sale of display drivers. Therefore, the continued market acceptance of our display drivers is critical to our future success. Failure to grow or maintain our revenues generated from the sales of display drivers could adversely and materially affect our results of operations and financial condition.

 

Technological innovation may reduce the number of display drivers typically required for each panel, thereby reducing the number of display drivers we are able to sell per panel. If such a reduction in demand is not offset by the general growth of the industry, growth in our market share or an increase in our average selling prices, our revenues may decline.

 

With the high penetration rate of smartphones, growth of the market has been slowing down in the past years. LCD display and its driver IC in smartphone application is getting more commoditized with lower ASP. Meanwhile, addressable market size of conventional smartphone DDIC is eroded quickly by AMOLED and in-cell TDDIs, which used to be emerging technologies but have ramped up with significant adoption rate. Being one of the leading DDIC suppliers, Himax also has been devoted to development activities for AMOLED DDIC and in-cell TDDIs. Himax TDDI for smartphone has gone through the learning curve since 2016 and have doubled in 2019. However, the AMOLED for smartphone keep penetrating from high-end to mid-end market to compete in-cell LCD with TDDI. The smartphone market continues to embrace new technologies and are moving toward higher frame rate displays to enable smoother screen viewing and gaming experience. This will drive the adoption of next generation high frame rate TDDI solutions, for which Himax is a leading technology provider. Also, industry research indicates that the demand for 5G in China is expected to drive worldwide smartphone growth in 2020 which will in turn stimulate the growth for TDDI. All these trends will benefit Himax.

 

AMOLED display and related DDICs have been dominated by Korean companies. The marketplace is increasing utilization of the OLED display for smartphone. This is due to expanded AMOLED capacity as well as increased demand for under-display fingerprint technology that is only available in the AMOLED display for the time being. We are encouraged by the progress we have made, collaborating closely with leading panel makers across China for AMOLED product development. We believe AMOLED driver ICs will soon become one of the major growth engines for our small panel driver IC business.

 

Except for certain small-sized panels, multiple display drivers are typically required for each panel to function. In order to reduce costs, TFT-LCD panel manufacturers generally seek to have display drivers with higher channel counts and new panel designs to reduce the number of display drivers required for each panel. We have been developing such innovative and cost-effective display driver solutions in order to grow our market share, attract additional customers, increase our average selling prices and capture new design wins. However, we cannot assure you that we will successfully achieve these goals. If we fail to do so and the number of display drivers typically required per panel decreases thereby reducing our unit shipments, our revenues may decline. TFT-LCD panel manufacturers have developed several panel designs to reduce the usage of display drivers, including gate in panel, or GIP, amorphous silicon gate, or ASG, or simply gateless designs, which integrate the gate driver function onto the glass and eliminate the need for gate drivers, as well as dual gate and triple gate panel designs, which would largely reduce the usage of source drivers. If such designs or technologies become widely adopted, demand for our display drivers may decrease significantly, which would adversely and materially affect our results of operations.

 

We face numerous challenges relating to our growth. If we are no longer able to keep our competitiveness to maintain current market share or to gain market share in new product segments, our revenues and profit may decline.

 

The scope and complexity of our business has grown significantly since our inception. Our growth has placed, and will continue to place, a strain on our management, personnel, systems and resources. If we are unable to manage our growth effectively, we may not be able to take advantage of market opportunities, execute our business plan or respond to competitive pressures. To successfully manage our growth, we believe we must effectively:

 

·hire, train, integrate, retain and manage additional qualified engineers, senior managers, sales and marketing personnel, and information technology personnel;

 

·implement additional, and improve existing, administrative and operations systems, procedures and controls;

 

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·expand our accounting and internal audit team, including hiring additional personnel with IFRS and internal control expertise;

 

·continue to expand and upgrade our design and product development capabilities;

 

·manage multiple relationships with semiconductor manufacturing service providers, customers, suppliers and certain other third parties; and

 

·continue to develop and commercialize non-driver products, including, among others, timing controllers, touch controller ICs, LCOS and MEMS microdisplays, power management ICs, CMOS image sensors, wafer level optics (WLO) products, 3D sensing solution and ultra-low power smart sensing.

 

Moreover, if our allocation of resources does not correspond with future demand for particular products, we could miss market opportunities, and our business and financial results could be materially and adversely affected. Therefore, we cannot assure you that we will be able to manage our growth effectively in the future.

 

Our quarterly revenues and operating results are difficult to predict, and if we do not meet quarterly financial expectations, our ADS price will likely decline.

 

Our quarterly revenues and operating results are difficult to predict. They have fluctuated in the past from quarter to quarter and may continue to do so in the future. Our operating results may in some quarters fall below market expectations, likely causing our ADS price to decline. Our quarterly revenues and operating results may fluctuate because of many factors, including:

 

·our ability to accurately forecast shipments, average selling prices, cost of revenues, operating expenses, non-operating income/loss, foreign currency exchange rates, and effective income tax rates;

 

·our ability to transfer any increase in unit costs to our customers;

 

·our ability to accurately perform various tests, estimations and projections, including with respect to the write-down on slow or obsolete inventories, the impairment of non-financial assets, the collectability of accounts receivable, and the realization of deferred tax assets;

 

·our ability to successfully design, develop and introduce new or enhanced products acceptable to our customers in a timely manner;

 

·changes in the relative mix in the unit shipments of our products, which may have significantly different average selling prices and cost of revenues as a percentage of revenues;

 

·our ability to efficiently ramp-up in-house manufacturing facilities;

 

·changes in share-based compensation;

 

·the loss of one or more of our key customers;

 

·decreases in the average selling prices of our products;

 

·our accumulation and write-down of inventory;

 

·the relative unpredictability in the volume and timing of customer orders;

 

·shortages of other components used in the manufacture of TFT-LCD panels;

 

·the risk of cancellation or deferral of customer orders in anticipation of our new products or product enhancements, or due to a reduction in demand of our customers’ end product;

 

·changes in our payment terms with our customers and our suppliers;

 

·our ability to negotiate favorable prices with customers and suppliers;

 

·changes in the available capacity of semiconductor manufacturing service providers;

 

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·the rate at which new markets emerge for new products under development;

 

·the evolution of industry standards and technologies;

 

·product obsolescence and our ability to manage product transitions;

 

·increase in cost of revenues due to inflation;

 

·our involvement in litigation or other types of disputes;

 

·changes in general economic conditions, especially the impact of the global financial crisis on economic growth and consumer spending, and the unease in the Middle East;

 

·changes in our transfer pricing policy and applicable income tax regulations; and

 

·natural disasters, particularly earthquakes and typhoons, or outbreaks of disease affecting countries where we conduct our business or where our products are manufactured, assembled or tested.

 

The factors listed above are difficult to foresee, and along with other factors, could seriously harm our business. We anticipate the rate of new orders may vary significantly from quarter to quarter. Our operating expenses and inventory levels are based on our expectations of future revenues, and our operating expenses are relatively fixed in the short term. Consequently, if anticipated sales and shipments in any quarter do not occur as expected, operating expenses and inventory levels could be disproportionately high, and our operating results for that quarter and, potentially, future quarters may be negatively impacted. Any shortfall in our revenues would directly impact our business. Our operating results are volatile and difficult to predict; therefore, you should not rely on the operating results of any one quarter as indicative of our future performance. Our operating results in future quarters may fall below the expectations of securities analysts and investors. In this event, our ADS price may decline significantly.

 

The strategic relationships between certain of our competitors and their customers and the development of in-house capabilities by TFT-LCD panel manufacturers may limit our ability to expand our customer base and our growth prospects.

 

Certain of our competitors have established or may establish strategic or strong relationships with TFT-LCD panel manufacturers that are also our existing or potential customers. Marketing our display drivers to such TFT-LCD panel manufacturers that have established relationships with our competitors may be difficult. Moreover, several TFT-LCD panel manufacturers have in-house design capabilities and therefore may not need to source semiconductor products from us. If our customers successfully develop in-house capabilities to design and develop semiconductors that can substitute for our products, they would likely reduce or stop purchasing our products. In addition, we also face challenges in attracting new customers for our new products. To sell new products, we will likely need to target new market segments and new customers with whom we do not have current relationships, which may require different strategies and may present difficulties that we have not encountered before. Therefore, failure to broaden our customer base and attract new customers may limit our growth prospects.

 

We depend primarily on nine foundries to manufacture our wafers, and any failure to obtain sufficient foundry capacity or loss of any of the foundries we use could significantly delay our ability to ship our products, causing us to lose revenues and damage our customer relationships.

 

Access to foundry capacity is crucial to our business because we do not manufacture our own wafers, instead relying primarily on nine third-party foundries. The ability of a foundry to manufacture our semiconductor products is limited by its available capacity. Access to capacity is especially important due to the limited availability of the high-voltage CMOS process technology required for the manufacture of wafers used in display drivers. Moreover, Japanese integrated device manufacturer companies may outsource their semiconductor manufacturing to foundries outside Japan. This could result in tightness in the foundry supply available to us and affect our ability to acquire sufficient capacity. As we currently do not have any long-term supply arrangements with any third-party foundries to guarantee us access to a certain level of foundry capacity, if the primary third-party foundries that we rely upon are not able to meet our required capacity, or if our business relationships with these foundries are adversely affected, we would not be able to obtain the required capacity from these foundries to meet any increasing demand for our products and would have to seek alternative foundries, which may not be available on commercially reasonable terms, or at all, or which may expose us to risks associated with qualifying new foundries, as further discussed below. Our results of operations and business prospects could be adversely affected as a result of the foregoing.

 

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We place wafer orders on the basis of our customers’ purchase orders and sales forecasts; however, any of the foundries we use can allocate capacity to other foundry customers and reduce deliveries to us on short notice. It could be that other foundry customers are larger and better financed than we are or have supply agreements or better relationships with the foundries we use and could induce these foundries to reallocate our capacity to them. The loss of any of the foundries we use or any shortfall in available foundry capacity could impair our ability to secure processed wafers, which could significantly delay our ability to ship our products, causing a loss of revenues and damages to our customer relationships.

 

Although we use several foundries for different semiconductor products, certain of our products are manufactured at only one of these foundries. If any one of the foundries that we use for a specific product is unable to provide us with our required capacity, does not deliver in a timely manner, or the quality or pricing terms are not acceptable to us, we could experience significant delays in receiving the product being manufactured for us by that foundry or incur additional costs to obtain substitutes. Also, if any of the foundries that we use experience financial difficulties or insolvency risks due to the impact of the global economic turmoil or any company-specific reasons or otherwise, if their operations are damaged or if there is any other disruption of their foundry operations, we may not be able to qualify an alternative foundry in a timely manner. If we choose to use a new foundry or process technology for a particular semiconductor product, we believe that it will take us several quarters to qualify the new foundry or process before we can begin shipping such products. If we cannot qualify a new foundry in a timely manner, we may experience a significant interruption in our supply of the affected products, which could reduce our revenues, increase our costs and expenses, and damage our customer relationships.

 

The fluctuations in the prices of certain metals, chemicals and gasoline and the volatility of foreign exchange rates may have increased costs for foundries and semiconductor service providers. This increase in costs could limit their ability to continue to make the research and development investments needed to keep up with technological advances. Any increase in costs for foundries and semiconductor service providers we use could lead to an increase in our unit costs or could limit our ability to lower our unit costs. We cannot assure you that we will be able to continue to reduce our costs and maintain our profit margins.

 

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited, or TSMC, and Vanguard International Semiconductor Corporation, or Vanguard, historically manufactured substantially all of our wafers in the early years since our inception. In order to diversify our foundry sources, we have also used Macronix International Co., Ltd., or Macronix, Nexchip Semiconductor Corporation, or Nexchip Globalfoundries Singapore Pte., Ltd. (formerly Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Ltd.), or Globalfoundries Singapore, United Microelectronics Corporation, or UMC, Powerchip Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, or PSMC, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation, or SMIC, and SK hynix system ic or SKHYSI to manufacture a portion of our products. As a result of outsourcing the manufacturing of our wafers, we face several significant risks, including:

 

· failure to secure necessary manufacturing capacity, or being able to obtain required capacity only at higher costs;

 

· risks of our proprietary information leaking to our competitors through the foundries we use;

 

· limited control over delivery schedules, quality assurance and control, manufacturing yields and production costs;

 

· the unavailability of, or potential delays in obtaining access to, key process technologies; and

 

· financial risks of certain of our foundry suppliers, including those that are owned by ailing dynamic random access memory, or DRAM, companies.

 

In addition, in order to manufacture our display drivers used in TFT-LCD panels, we require foundries with high-voltage manufacturing process capacity. Of the limited number of foundries that offer this capability, some are owned by integrated device manufacturers which are also our competitors. As a result, our dependence on high-voltage foundries presents the following additional risks:

 

· potential capacity constraints faced by the limited number of high-voltage foundries and the lack of investment in new and existing high-voltage foundries;

 

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· difficulty in attaining consistently high manufacturing yields from high-voltage foundries;

 

· delay and time required (approximately one year) to qualify and ramp up production at new high-voltage foundries; and

 

· price increases.

 

As a result of these risks, we may be required to use foundries with which we have no established relationships, which could expose us to potentially unfavorable pricing, unsatisfactory quality or insufficient capacity allocation. Moreover, the scarcity and importance of high-voltage foundry capacity may necessitate us making investments in foundries in order to secure capacity, which would require us to substantially increase our capital outlays and possibly raise additional capital, which may not be available to us on satisfactory terms, if at all.

 

Shortages of processed tape used in the manufacturing of our products, increased costs of manufacturing such tape, or the loss of one of our suppliers of such tape may increase our costs or limit our revenues and impair our ability to ship our products on time.

 

There are a limited number of companies which supply the processed tape used to manufacture our semiconductor products, and we do not have binding long-term supply arrangements with processed tape suppliers that would guarantee us access to processed tape. Therefore, from time to time, shortages of such processed tape may occur. If any of the processed tape suppliers we rely upon experience difficulties in delivering processed tape or are unable to meet the prices, quality or services that we require, or if our business relationships with these suppliers weaken or deteriorate, we may not be able to locate alternative sources in a timely manner. Therefore, if shortages of processed tape were to occur, or if the costs of manufacturing such tape increases, we would incur additional costs or be unable to ship our products to our customers in a timely fashion, all of which could harm our business and our customer relationships and negatively impact our earnings. As a result of these risks, we may also be required to use processed tape suppliers with which we have no established relationships, which could expose us to potentially unfavorable pricing, unsatisfactory quality or insufficient capacity allocation. Moreover, the scarcity and importance of processed tape may necessitate us making investments in processed tape suppliers in order to secure adequate supply, which would require us to substantially increase our capital outlays and possibly raise additional capital, which may not be available to us on satisfactory terms, if at all.

 

The loss of, or our inability to secure sufficient capacity from, any of our third-party assembly and testing houses at reasonable and competitive prices could disrupt our shipments, harm our customer relationships and reduce our sales.

 

Access to third-party assembly and testing capacity is critical to our business because we do not have in-house assembly and testing capabilities for commercial production and instead rely on third-party service providers. Access to these services is especially important to our business because display drivers require specialized assembly and testing services. A limited number of third-party assembly and testing houses assemble and test substantially all of our current products. There has been an increased level of industry consolidation among our suppliers in recent years. Therefore, suppliers could be in a better position to bargain for higher prices for their services and products, which could result in an increase in our average unit cost. See also “—Our suppliers may have increasing bargaining power as a result of industry consolidation, which could result in an increase in our average unit cost and a decrease in our profit margin.” We do not have binding long-term supply arrangements with assembly and testing service providers that guarantee us access to our required capacity. If the primary assembly and testing service providers that we rely upon are not able to meet our requirements in price, quality, and service, or if our business relationships with these service providers were adversely affected, we would not be able to obtain the required capacity from such providers and would have to seek alternative providers, which may not be available on commercially reasonable terms, or at all. As a result, we do not directly control our product delivery schedules, assembly and testing costs, and quality assurance and control. If any of these third-party assembly and testing houses experiences capacity constraints, financial difficulties, suffers any damage to its facilities or if there is any disruption of its assembly and testing capacity, we may not be able to obtain alternative assembly and testing services in a timely manner. Because of the amount of time we usually take to qualify assembly and testing houses, we may experience significant delays in product shipments if we are required to find alternative sources. Any problems that we may encounter with the delivery, quality or cost of our products could damage our reputation and result in a loss of customers and orders.

 

As a result of these risks, we may be required to use assembly and testing service providers with which we have no established relationships, which could expose us to potentially unfavorable pricing, unsatisfactory quality or insufficient capacity allocation. Moreover, the scarcity and importance of assembly and testing services may necessitate us making investments in assembly and testing service providers in order to secure capacity, which would require us to substantially increase our capital outlays and possibly raise additional capital, which may not be available to us on satisfactory terms, if at all.

 

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Shortages of key components for our customers’ products could decrease demand for our products.

 

Shortages of components and other materials that are critical to the design and manufacture of our customers’ products may limit our sales. These components and other materials include, but are not limited to, color filters, backlight modules, polarizers, printed circuit boards and glass substrates. In the past, companies that use our products in their production have experienced delays in the availability of key components from other suppliers. In addition, component manufacturers may not be able to increase or maintain their component supply because of labor shortage in China or otherwise and may shut down certain of their capacity from time to time because of weak demand, which may increase the instability of timely delivery and the risk of shortage of components. Such shortages of components and other materials critical to the design and manufacture of our customers’ products may cause a slowdown in demand for our products, resulting in a decrease in our sales and adversely affecting our results of operations. In addition, as a result of uncertain demand conditions, our customers may hesitate to build inventory on hand and tend to release orders on short notice.

 

We rely on the services of our key personnel, and if we are unable to retain our current key personnel and hire additional personnel, our ability to design, develop and successfully market our products could be harmed.

 

We rely upon the continued service and performance of a relatively small number of key personnel, including certain engineering, technical and senior management personnel. In particular, our engineers and other key technical personnel are critical to our future technological and product innovations. Competition for highly skilled engineers and other key technical personnel is intense in the semiconductor industry in general and in Taiwan’s flat panel semiconductor industry in particular. Moreover, our future success depends on the expansion of our senior management team and the retention of key employees such as Jordan Wu, our president and chief executive officer, and Dr. Biing-Seng Wu, our chairman. We rely on these individuals to manage our company, develop and execute our business strategies, and manage our relationships with key suppliers and customers. Any of our key employees could leave our company with little or no prior notice. They could also leave our company to work with a competitor. In addition, we do not have “key person” life insurance policies covering any of our employees. The loss of any key personnel or our inability to attract or retain qualified personnel, whether engineers or others, could delay the development and introduction of new products and would have an adverse effect on our ability to sell our products as well as on our overall business and growth prospects. We may also incur increased operating expenses and be required to divert the attention of other senior executives away from their original duties to recruiting replacements for key personnel.

 

If we fail to forecast customer demand accurately, we may have excess or insufficient inventory, which may increase our operating costs and harm our business.

 

The lead time required by the semiconductor manufacturing service providers that we use to manufacture our products is typically longer than the lead time that our customers provide for delivery of our products to them. Therefore, to ensure availability of our products for our customers, we will typically ask our semiconductor manufacturing service providers to start manufacturing our products based on forecasts provided by our customers in advance of receiving their purchase orders. However, these forecasts are not binding purchase commitments, and we do not recognize revenues from these products until they are delivered to customers. Moreover, for the convenience of our customers, we may agree to ship our inventory to warehouses located near our customers, so that our products can be delivered to these customers more quickly. We may from time to time agree that control over a product do not to our customer until the customer requests delivery of our products from such warehouses. In such cases, we will not recognize revenues from these products until the control over a product to our customers based on the shipping terms, which is generally when they are delivered to our customers from these warehouses. As a result, we incur inventory and manufacturing costs in advance of anticipated revenues.

 

The anticipated demand for our products may not materialize; therefore, manufacturing based on customer forecasts exposes us to risks of high inventory carrying costs, increased product obsolescence, and erosion of the products’ market value. For example, some of our customers might overstate their forecasts because of concerns that their semiconductor suppliers cannot deliver on their rush orders. If we overestimate demand for our products or if purchase orders are cancelled or shipments delayed, we may incur excess inventory that we cannot sell, or may have to sell at low profit margins or even at a loss, which would harm our financial results. Conversely, if we underestimate demand, we may not have sufficient inventory and may lose market share and damage customer relationships, which also could harm our business. Obtaining additional supply in the face of product shortages may be costly or impossible, particularly in the short term, which could prevent us from fulfilling orders. These inventory risks are exacerbated by the high level of customization of our products, which limits our ability to sell excess inventory to other customers, which could eventually lead to write-down of these excess inventory.

 

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If we do not achieve additional design wins in the future, our ability to grow will be limited.

 

Our future success depends on our current and prospective customers designing our products into their products. To achieve design wins, we must design and deliver cost-effective, innovative, reliable and integrated products that are customized for our customers’ needs. Once a supplier’s products have been designed into a system, the panel manufacturer may be reluctant to change its source of components due to the significant costs and time associated with qualifying a new supplier. Accordingly, our failure to obtain additional design wins with panel manufacturers and to successfully design, develop and introduce new products and product enhancements could harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

A design win is not a binding commitment by a customer to purchase our products and may not result in large volume orders of our products. Rather, it is a decision by a customer to use our products in the design process of that customer’s products. Customers can choose at any time to stop using our products in their designs or product development efforts. Moreover, even if our products were chosen to be incorporated into a customer’s products, our ability to generate significant revenues from that customer would depend on the commercial success of those products. Thus, a design win may not necessarily generate significant revenues if our customers’ products are not commercially successful.

 

Our products are complex and may require modifications to resolve undetected errors or failures in order for them to function with panels at the desired specifications, which could lead to higher costs, customer dispute, a loss of customers or a delay in market acceptance of our products.

 

Our products are highly complex and may contain undetected errors or failures when first introduced or as new versions are released. If our products are delivered with errors or defects, we could incur additional development, repair or replacement costs, and our credibility and the market acceptance of our products could be harmed. Defects could also lead to liability for defective products, customer dispute and lawsuits against us or our customers. We have agreed to indemnify some of our customers under some circumstances against liability from defects in our products. A successful product liability claim could require us to make significant damage payments.

 

Our display drivers comprise part of a complex panel manufactured by our customers. Our display drivers must operate according to specifications with the other components used by our customers in the panel manufacturing process. For example, during the panel manufacturing process, our display drivers are attached to the panel glass and must interoperate with the glass efficiently. If other components fail to operate efficiently with our display drivers, we may be required to incur additional development time and costs to improve the interoperability of our display drivers with the other components.

 

Our highly integrated products are difficult to manufacture without defects. The existence of defects in our products could increase our costs, decrease our sales and damage our customer relationships and our reputation.

 

The manufacture of our products is a complex process, and it is often difficult for semiconductor foundries to manufacture our products completely without defects. Minor deviations in the manufacturing process can cause substantial decreases in yield and quality. In particular, some of our products are highly integrated and incorporate mixed analog and digital signal processing and embedded memory technology, and this complexity makes it even more difficult to manufacture without defects.

 

The ability to manufacture products of acceptable quality depends on both product design and manufacturing process technology. Defective products can be caused by design, defective materials or component parts, or manufacturing difficulties. Thus, quality problems can be identified only by analyzing and testing our display drivers in a system after they have been manufactured. The difficulty in identifying defects is compounded by the uniqueness of the process technology used in each of the semiconductor foundries with which we have subcontracted to manufacture our products. Difficulties in achieving defect-free products due to the increasing complexity of display drivers and the panel system surrounding them may result in an increase in our costs and expenses, and delays in the availability of our products. In addition, if the foundries that we use fail to deliver products of satisfactory quality in the volume and at the price required, we will be unable to meet our customers’ demand for our products or to sell those products at an acceptable profit margin, which could adversely affect our sales and margins, and damage our customer relationships and our reputation.

 

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We do not have long-term purchase commitments from our customers, which may result in significant uncertainty and volatility with respect to our revenues and could materially and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

 

We do not have long-term purchase commitments from our customers; our sales are made on the basis of individual purchase orders. Our customers may also cancel or defer purchase orders. Our customers’ purchase orders may vary significantly from period to period, and it is difficult to forecast future order quantities. In the event of a cancellation, postponement, or reduction of an order, we would likely not be able to reduce operating expenses sufficiently so as to minimize the impact of the lost revenues. Alternatively, we may have excess inventory that we cannot sell, which would harm our operating results. In addition, changes in our customers’ business may adversely affect the quantity of purchase orders that we receive. In the past, some of our customers have also significantly lowered their capacity utilization rates, reduced or canceled their orders of our products, and requested higher-than-usual price concessions from us. We cannot assure you that any of our customers will continue to place orders with us in the future at the same level as in prior periods. We also cannot assure you that the volume of our customers’ orders will be consistent with our expectations when we plan our expenditures. Our results of operations and financial condition may thus be materially and adversely affected.

 

Our corporate actions are substantially controlled by officers, directors and affiliated entities who may take actions that are not in, or may conflict with, our or our public shareholders’ interests.

 

As of February 29, 2020, Jordan Wu and Dr. Biing-Seng Wu (who are brothers) beneficially owned approximately 2.1% and 21.7% of our ordinary shares, respectively. For information relating to the beneficial ownership of our ordinary shares, see “Item 7.A. Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions—Major Shareholders.” These shareholders, acting together, could exert substantial influence over matters requiring approval by our shareholders, including electing directors and approving mergers or other business combination transactions. This concentration of ownership may also discourage, delay or prevent a change in control of our company, which could deprive our shareholders of an opportunity to receive a premium for their shares as part of a sale of our company and might reduce the price of our ADSs. Actions may be taken even if they were opposed by our other shareholders.

 

Assertions against us by third parties for infringement of their intellectual property rights could result in significant costs and cause our operating results to suffer.

 

The semiconductor industry is characterized by vigorous protection and pursuit of intellectual property rights and positions, which results in protracted and expensive litigation for many companies. We have received, and expect to continue to receive, notices of infringement of third-party intellectual property rights. We may receive claims from various industry participants alleging infringement of their patents, trade secrets or other intellectual property rights in the future. Any lawsuit resulting from such allegations could subject us to significant liability for damages and invalidate our proprietary rights. These lawsuits, regardless of their success, would likely be time-consuming and expensive to resolve and would divert management time and attention. Any potential intellectual property litigation also could force us to do one or more of the following:

 

· stop selling products or using technology or manufacturing processes that contain the allegedly infringing intellectual property;

 

· pay damages to the party claiming infringement;

 

· attempt to obtain a license for the relevant intellectual property, which may not be available on commercially reasonable terms or at all; and

 

· attempt to redesign those products that contain the allegedly infringing intellectual property with non-infringing intellectual property, which may not be possible.

 

The outcome of a dispute may result in our need to develop non-infringing technology or enter into royalty or licensing agreements. We have agreed to indemnify certain customers for certain claims of infringement arising out of the sale of our products. Any intellectual property litigation could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results or financial condition.

 

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Our ability to compete will be harmed if we are unable to protect our intellectual property rights adequately.

 

We believe that the protection of our intellectual property rights is, and will continue to be, important to the success of our business. We rely primarily on a combination of patent, trademark, trade secret and copyright laws and contractual restrictions to protect our intellectual property. These afford only limited protection. Despite our efforts to protect our proprietary rights, unauthorized parties may attempt to obtain, copy or use information that we regard as proprietary, such as product design and manufacturing process expertise. As of February 29, 2020, we and our subsidiaries had 160 U.S. patent applications pending, 112 Taiwan patent applications pending and 311 patent applications pending in other jurisdictions, including the PRC, Japan, Korea and Europe. Our pending patent applications and any future applications may not result in issued patents or may not be sufficiently broad to protect our proprietary technologies. Moreover, policing any unauthorized use of our products is difficult and costly, and we cannot be certain that the measures which we have implemented will prevent misappropriation or unauthorized use of our technologies, particularly in foreign jurisdictions where the laws may not protect our proprietary rights as fully as the laws of the United States. Others may independently develop substantially equivalent intellectual property or otherwise gain access to our trade secrets or intellectual property. Our failure to protect our intellectual property effectively could harm our business.

 

We may undertake acquisitions or investments to expand our business that may pose risks to our business and dilute the ownership of our existing shareholders, and we may not realize the anticipated benefits of these acquisitions or investments.

 

As part of our growth and product diversification strategy, we will continue to evaluate opportunities to acquire or invest in other businesses, intellectual property or technologies that would complement our current offerings, expand the breadth of markets we can address or enhance our technical capabilities. For example, in February 2018, our subsidiary, Himax IGI Precision Ltd., or Himax IGI, acquired certain advanced nano 3D masters manufacturing assets and related intellectual property and business from a US-based technology company. The advanced nano 3D manufacturing masters are primarily used in imprinting or stamping replication process to fabricate devices such as diffractive optical element (DOE), diffuser, collimator lens and micro lens array. The acquisition brings Himax the very upstream master tooling capability to supplement the company’s world leading WLO technology, which is critical in its efforts to offer 3D sensing total solutions. In addition, Himax fully acquired Emza Visual Sense Ltd. (“Emza”) in June 2018. Emza is an Israel company dedicated to the development of extremely efficient visual sensors that include proprietary machine-vision algorithms and specific architectures that enable always-on visual sensing capabilities, achieving orders of magnitude improvement in power consumption, price and form factor. With the full acquisition of Emza, Himax will be uniquely positioned for IoT solutions, which require tight integration of the critical skills and knowledge of Himax’s CMOS technology and ASIC design with Emza’s computer vision algorithms. Himax will be able to enter new markets beyond consumer electronics, such as connected homes, smart buildings and security, and extend our reach into new IoT markets with interest in other Himax products such as our 3D sensing solutions. We cannot assure you that we will be able to realize the benefits we anticipate from acquiring nano 3D master business or Emza. Acquisitions or investments that we have completed or potentially may make in the future entail a number of risks that could materially and adversely affect our business, operating and financial results, including:

 

· problems integrating the acquired operations, technologies or products into our existing business and products;

 

· diversion of management’s time and attention from our core business;

 

· adverse effects of losses of the acquired target upon our financial condition and results of operations;

 

· adverse effects on existing business relationships with customers;

 

· the need for financial resources above our planned investment levels;

 

· dilution of share ownership of current shareholders under share swap transactions;

 

· failures in realizing anticipated synergies;

 

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· difficulties in retaining business relationships with suppliers and customers of the acquired company;

 

· risks associated with entering markets in which we lack experience;

 

· potential loss of key employees of the acquired company;

 

·potential write-offs of acquired assets;

 

·potential expenses related to the depreciation of tangible assets and amortization of intangible assets; and

 

·potential impairment charges related to the goodwill acquired.

 

Our failure to address these risks successfully may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. Any such acquisition or investment may require a significant amount of capital investment, which would decrease the amount of cash available for working capital or capital expenditures. In addition, if we use our equity securities to pay for acquisitions, the value of our ADSs and the underlying ordinary shares may be diluted. If we borrow funds to finance acquisitions, such debt instruments may contain restrictive covenants that can, among other things, restrict us from distributing dividends.

 

New regulations related to conflict minerals could increase our costs and limit the supply of certain metals used in our products.

 

As required under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, as amended, or the Dodd-Frank Act, in August 2012 the SEC promulgated final rules regarding annual disclosures by public companies of their use of certain minerals and metals, known as “conflict minerals,” which are defined as cassiterite, columbite-tantalite, gold, wolframite or their derivatives and other minerals determined by the U.S. government to be financing conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo and adjoining countries. These new rules will require us to ascertain and disclose the origin of some of the raw materials that we use. Initial disclosures were required no later than May 31, 2014, with subsequent disclosures required no later than May 31 of each following year. There will be costs associated with complying with these disclosure requirements, including costs for diligence to determine the sources of conflict minerals used in our products and other potential changes to products, processes or sources of supply as a consequence of such verification activities. The implementation of these rules and our compliance procedures could adversely affect the sourcing, supply, and pricing of materials used in our products. As there may be only a limited number of suppliers offering “conflict free” minerals, we cannot be sure that we will be able to obtain necessary “conflict free” minerals from such suppliers in sufficient quantities or at competitive prices.

 

System security risks, data protection breaches or unexpected system outage or failures could impact our business.

 

Our computer systems and networks are vulnerable to damage or interruption from earthquakes, fires, power loss, telecommunications failures, cyber-attacks, computer viruses or other attempts to harm our computer system and networks. The reliability and security of our information technology infrastructure and software, and our ability to expand and continually update technologies in response to our changing needs and cybersecurity threats, is critical to our business. In recent years, there are increasing and evolving risks to cybersecurity and privacy, including criminal hackers, state-sponsored intrusions, industrial espionage, employee malfeasance and human or technological error. Cyber attacks could result in a loss of our intellectual property, the release of commercially sensitive information, the misappropriation of confidential information of our employees, customers or suppliers and the interruption of our business. Failures to protect the privacy of employees, customers or suppliers’ confidential data against breaches of network security could result in the loss of existing or potential customers, other financial loss, and damage to our reputation. In addition, the cost and operational consequences of responding to breaches and implementing remediation measures could be significant. While we seek to annually review and assess our cybersecurity policies and procedures to ensure their adequacy and effectiveness, we cannot guarantee that we will not be susceptible to new and emerging risks and attacks in the evolving landscape of cybersecurity threats.  As of February 29, 2020, we had not been aware of any material cyber attacks or incidents that had or would expected to have a material adverse effect on our business and operations, nor had we been involved in any legal proceedings or regulatory investigations related thereof.

 

Some of our data centers are located in areas with a risk of major earthquakes. Our data centers are also subject to break-ins and sabotage. Our disaster recovery planning cannot account for all eventualities. Consequently, the occurrence of a natural disaster or other unanticipated problems at our data centers could result in loss of production capabilities and lengthy interruptions in our service, which could harm our relationship with our customers and suppliers.

 

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Some of our system services are based on public cloud. The cloud services are also subject to interruption due to cloud service provider unexpected downtimes, cyberattacks or any type of failure, telecommunication failure or other unidentified problems while connecting to cloud. Consequently, cloud services interruption could result in loss of production capabilities and lengthy interruptions in our service. Cloud cybersecurity breach could result in adverse effect on our customers, our employees, our suppliers, our reputation, and our business.

 

Risks Relating to Our Industry

 

The average selling prices of our products could decrease rapidly, which may negatively impact our revenues and operating results.

 

The price of each semiconductor product typically declines over its product life cycle, reflecting product obsolescence, decreased demand as customers shift to more advanced products, decreased unit costs due to advanced designs or improved manufacturing yields, and increased competition as more semiconductor suppliers are able to offer similar products. We may experience substantial period-to-period fluctuations in future operating results if our average selling prices decline. We may reduce the average unit price of our products in response to competitive pricing pressures, new product introductions by us or our competitors, and other factors. The TFT-LCD panel market is highly cost sensitive, which may result in declining average selling prices of the components comprising TFT-LCD panels. We expect that these factors will create downward pressure on our average selling prices and operating results. To maintain acceptable operating results, we will need to develop and introduce new products and product enhancements on a timely basis and continue to reduce our costs. If we are unable to offset any reductions in our average selling prices by increasing our sales volumes and corresponding production cost reductions, or if we fail to develop and introduce new products and enhancements on a timely basis, our revenues and operating results will suffer.

 

The semiconductor industry, in particular semiconductors used in flat panel displays, is highly competitive, and we cannot assure that we will be able to compete successfully against our competitors.

 

The semiconductor industry, in particular semiconductors used in flat panel displays, is highly competitive. Increased competition may result in pricing pressure, reduced profitability and loss of market share, any of which could seriously harm our revenues and results of operations. Competition principally occurs at the design stage, where a customer evaluates alternative design solutions that require display drivers. We continually face intense competition from fabless display driver companies as well as from integrated device manufacturers. Some of our competitors have substantially greater financial and other resources than we do with which to pursue engineering, manufacturing, marketing and distribution of their products. As a result, they may be able to respond more quickly to changing customer demands or devote greater resources to the development, promotion and sales of their products than we can. Some of our competitors have manufacturing capabilities as well as in-house design operations that may give them significant advantages such as more research and development resources and the ability to attract highly skilled engineers. Furthermore, some of our competitors are affiliated with, or are subsidiaries of, our panel manufacturer customers. These relationships may also give our competitors significant advantages such as early access to product roadmaps and design-in priorities, which would allow them to respond more quickly to changing customer demands and achieve more design-wins than we can. In addition, even competitors with no such strategic associations with panel manufacturers may resort to price competition to maintain their market share, which may impose pricing pressures on us, reduce our profitability or decrease our market share. We cannot assure you that we will be able to increase or maintain our revenues and market share or compete successfully against our current or future competitors in the semiconductor industry.

 

We may be adversely affected by the cyclicality of the semiconductor industry.

 

The semiconductor industry is highly cyclical and is characterized by constant and rapid technological change, product obsolescence and price erosion, evolving standards, short product life cycles and wide fluctuations in product supply and demand. The semiconductor industry has, from time to time, experienced significant downturns, often connected with, or in anticipation of, maturing product cycles of both semiconductor companies’ and their customers’ products and declines in general economic conditions. These downturns have been characterized by diminished product demand, production overcapacity, high inventory levels and accelerated erosion of average selling prices. Any future downturn may reduce our revenues and result in our having excess inventory. Furthermore, any upturn in the semiconductor industry could result in increased competition for access to limited third-party foundry, assembly and testing capacity. Failure to gain access to foundry, assembly and testing capacity could impair our ability to secure the supply of products that we need, which could significantly delay our ability to ship our products, cause a loss of revenues and damage our customer relationships.

 

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We have a lengthy and expensive design-to-mass production cycle.

 

The cycle time from the design stage to mass production for display drivers is long and requires the investment of significant resources with each potential customer without any guarantee of sales. Our design-to-mass production cycle typically begins with a three to twelve-month semiconductor development stage and test period followed by a three to twelve-month end product development period by customers. This fairly lengthy cycle creates the risk that we may incur significant expenses but will be unable to realize meaningful sales. Moreover, prior to mass production, customers may decide to cancel the projects or change production specifications, resulting in sudden changes in our product specifications, further causing increased production time and costs. Failure to meet such specifications may delay the launch of our products.

 

Our business could be materially and adversely affected if we fail to anticipate changes in evolving industry standards, fail to achieve and maintain technological leadership in our industry or fail to develop and introduce new and enhanced products.

 

Our products are generally based on industry standards, which are continually evolving. The emergence of new industry standards could render our products or those of our customers unmarketable or obsolete and may require us to incur substantial unanticipated costs to comply with any such new standards. Likewise, the components used in the TFT-LCD panel industry are constantly changing with increased demand for improved features. Moreover, our past sales and profitability have resulted, to a significant extent, from our ability to anticipate changes in technology and industry standards, and to develop and introduce new and enhanced products in a timely fashion. If we do not anticipate these changes in technologies and rapidly develop and introduce new and innovative technologies, we may not be able to provide advanced display semiconductors on competitive terms, and some of our customers may buy products from our competitors instead of from us. Our continued ability to adapt to such changes and anticipate future standards will be a significant factor in maintaining or improving our competitive position and our growth prospects. We cannot assure you that we will be able to anticipate evolving industry standards, successfully complete the design of our new products, have these products manufactured at acceptable manufacturing yields, or obtain significant purchase orders for these products to meet new standards or technologies. If we fail to anticipate changes in technology and to introduce new products that achieve market acceptance, our business and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

 

Risks Relating to Our Holding Company Structure

 

Our ability to receive dividends and other payments or funds from our subsidiaries may be restricted by commercial, statutory and legal restrictions, and thereby materially and adversely affect our ability to grow, fund investments, make acquisitions, pay dividends and otherwise fund and conduct our business.

 

We are a holding company and our assets consist mainly of our 100% ownership interest in Himax Taiwan. We receive cash from Himax Taiwan through intercompany borrowings. Himax Taiwan has not paid us cash dividends in the past. Nonetheless, dividends and interest on shareholder loans that we receive from our subsidiaries in Taiwan, if any, will be subject to withholding tax under ROC law. The ability of our subsidiaries to provide us with loans, pay dividends, repay any shareholder loans from us or make other distributions to us is restricted by, among other things, the availability of funds, the terms of various credit arrangements entered into by our subsidiaries, as well as statutory and other legal restrictions. A Taiwan company is generally not permitted to distribute dividends or to make any other distributions to shareholders for any year in which it did not have either earnings or retained earnings (excluding reserves). In addition, before distributing a dividend to shareholders following the end of a fiscal year, the Taiwan company must recover any past losses, pay all outstanding taxes and set aside 10% of its annual profits (less prior years’ losses and outstanding taxes) as a legal reserve until the accumulated legal reserve equals its paid-in capital, and may set aside a special reserve. Any limitation on dividend payments by our subsidiaries could materially and adversely affect our ability to grow, finance capital expenditures, make acquisitions, pay dividends, and otherwise fund and conduct our business. In addition, since Himax Taiwan is not a listed company, it will depend on us to meet its equity financing requirements in the future. Any capital contribution by us to Himax Taiwan may require the approval of the relevant ROC authorities. We may not be able to obtain any such approval in the future in a timely manner, or at all. If Himax Taiwan is unable to receive the equity financing it requires, its ability to grow and fund its operations may be materially and adversely affected.

 

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Political, Geographical and Economic Risks

 

Due to the location of our operations in Taiwan, we and many of our semiconductor manufacturing service providers, suppliers and customers are vulnerable to natural disasters and other events outside of our control, which may seriously disrupt our operations.

 

Most of our operations, and the operations of many of our semiconductor manufacturing service providers, suppliers and customers are located in Taiwan, which is vulnerable to natural disasters, in particular, earthquakes and typhoons. Our principal foundries and assembly and testing houses upon which we have relied to manufacture substantially all of our display drivers are located in Taiwan. In 2019, 19.2% of our revenues were derived from customers headquartered in Taiwan. As a result of this geographic concentration, disruption of operations at our facilities or the facilities of our semiconductor manufacturing service providers, suppliers and customers for any reason, including work stoppages, power outages, water supply shortages, fire, typhoons, earthquakes, contagious diseases or other natural disasters, could cause delays in production and shipments of our products. Any delays or disruptions could result in our customers seeking to source products from our competitors. Shortages or suspension of power supplies have occasionally occurred and have disrupted our operations. The occurrence of a power outage in the future could seriously hurt our business.

 

On February 6, 2016, the 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit the Tainan area. Fortunately, the Company’s headquarters and the in-house manufacturing facilities for LCOS and WLO products, both located in Tainan, were little affected. Since most of our operations and our customers and suppliers are based mainly in Taiwan, the natural disasters could adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.

 

The manufacturing processes of TFT-LCD panels require a substantial amount of water and, as a result, the production operations of TFT-LCD panels may be seriously disrupted by water shortages. Our customers may encounter droughts in areas where most of their current or future manufacturing sites are located. If a drought were to occur and our customers or the authorities were unable to source water from alternative sources in sufficient quantities, our customers may be required to shut down temporarily or to substantially reduce the operations of their fabs, which would seriously affect demand for our products. The occurrence of any of these events in the future could adversely affect our business.

 

Disruptions in Taiwan’s political environment could negatively affect our business and the market price of our ADSs.

 

Our principal executive offices and a substantial amount of our assets are located in Taiwan, and a substantial portion of our revenues is derived from our operations in Taiwan. Accordingly, our business, financial condition and results of operations and the market price of our ADSs may be affected by changes in ROC governmental policies, taxation, inflation or interest rates, and by social instability and diplomatic and social developments in or affecting Taiwan that are outside of our control.

 

Taiwan has a unique international political status. Since 1949, Taiwan and the PRC have been separately governed. The government of the PRC claims that it is the sole government in China and that Taiwan is part of China. Although significant economic and cultural relations have been established during recent years between Taiwan and the PRC, the PRC government has refused to renounce the possibility that it may at some point use force to gain control over Taiwan. Furthermore, the PRC government adopted an anti-secession law relating to Taiwan. Relations between the ROC and the PRC governments have been strained in recent years for a variety of reasons, including the PRC government’s position on the “One China” policy and tensions concerning arms sales to Taiwan by the United States government. Any tension between the ROC and the PRC, or between the United States and the PRC, could materially and adversely affect the market prices of our ADSs.

 

Our business is sensitive to global economic conditions. A severe or prolonged downturn in the global or Taiwan economy could materially and adversely affect our business and our financial condition.

 

In recent times, several major systemic political, economic and financial crises negatively affected global business, banking and financial sectors. Most recently, since 2018, there have been political and trade tensions among a number of the world’s major economies. There is considerable uncertainty over the long-term effects of the expansionary monetary and fiscal policies that have been adopted by the central banks and financial authorities of some of the world’s leading economies. There have also been concerns over unrest in the Middle East and Africa, which have resulted in volatility in oil and other markets, and over the possibility of a conflict involving Iran. There have also been concerns about the tensions in the relationship between China and Japan and about North Korea’s nuclear program. Economic conditions in Taiwan are sensitive to global economic conditions. Any prolonged slowdown in the global or Taiwanese economy may have a negative impact on our business, results of operations and financial condition, and continued turbulence in the international markets may adversely affect our ability to access the capital markets to meet liquidity needs.

 

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A substantial portion of our sales are made to customers in the PRC, which may expose us to additional political, regulatory, and economic risks.

 

We have been increasingly selling our products to customers in the PRC. In 2018 and 2019, approximately 66.4% and 70.3% of our revenues, respectively, were from customers headquartered in the PRC. We expect to continue to increase our sales to customers in the PRC in the near future. As a result of this regional customer concentration, we expect to be particularly subject to economic and political events and other developments that affect our customers in the PRC.

 

The PRC economy differs from the economies of most developed countries in many respects, including the structure, level of government involvement, level of development, foreign exchange control and allocation of resources. The PRC economy has been transitioning from a planned economy to a more market-oriented economy and is growing rapidly. For the past two decades, the PRC government has implemented economic reform measures emphasizing utilization of market forces in the development of the PRC economy and also adjusted its macroeconomic control policies from time to time. These policies have led and may continue to lead to changes in market conditions. Although we believe these reforms have had a positive effect on the business of our customers in the PRC and consequently have benefited us, we cannot predict whether changes in the PRC’s political, economic and social conditions, laws, regulations and policies will have any adverse effect on our current or future customers in the PRC. In addition, the interpretation of PRC laws and regulations involves uncertainties. We cannot assure you that changes in such laws and regulations, or in their interpretation and enforcement, will not have a material adverse effect on the businesses and operations of our customers in the PRC and consequently have a material adverse effect on our own business and operations.

 

Fluctuations in exchange rates could result in foreign exchange losses and affect our results of operations.

 

Our functional and reporting currency is U.S. dollars. In 2019, more than 99% of our revenues and cost of revenues were denominated in U.S. dollars. However, we have foreign currency exposure and are primarily affected by fluctuations in exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and the NT dollar. This is because a majority portion of our operating expenses (including for research and development, general and administrative, and sales and marketing expenses) are denominated in NT dollars and we maintain a portion of our cash in NT dollars for local working capital purposes. For example, in December 2019, approximately 65% of our operating expenses were denominated in NT dollars, with a small percentage denominated in Japanese Yen, Korean Won, Israel new shekel and Chinese Renminbi, and the majority of the remainder in U.S. dollars. However, the subsidiaries located in the R.O.C. adopted Taiwan-IFRS and hereafter changed their functional currency of the tax basis of assets and liabilities from NT dollar to U.S. dollar since year 2016. Accordingly, these subsidiaries are now having a U.S. dollar dominated tax basis and functional currency, which significantly decreases the income tax effect from the fluctuations in exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and the NT dollar.

 

Changes in ROC tax laws would likely increase our tax expenditures and decrease our net income.

 

The Statute for Industrial Innovation entitles companies to tax credits for qualifying research and development expenses related to innovation activities but limits the amount of tax credit to only up to 15% of the total qualifying research and development expenditure for the current year, subject to a cap of 30% of the income tax payable for the current year. Moreover, any unused tax credits provided under the Statute for Industrial Innovation may not be carried forward. Based on the amendments to the above, effective from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2019, further extended to December 31, 2029, if companies choose to extend the tax credits to three years, the tax credit rate will be 10% of the total qualifying research and development expenditure for the current year and subject to a cap of 30% of the income tax payable for each year.

 

According to the amendments to the “Income Tax Act” enacted by the office of the President of the ROC on February 7, 2018, an increase in the statutory income tax rate from 17% to 20% and decrease in the undistributed earning tax from 10% to 5% are effective from January 1, 2018. This increase affected the Company’s current tax expense from 2018, and deferred taxes were remeasured in 2018, the period of enactment.

 

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On July 12, 2016, the ROC Legislative Yuan passed the third reading of anti-avoidance to establish Article 43-3 Controlled Foreign Company (“CFC”) rules and Article 43-4 Place of Effective Management (“PEM”) rules of the Income Tax Act (“ITA”). Detailed introduction of the CFC and PEM rules are described as follows:

 

(i)A profit-seeking enterprise (“PSE”) that directly or indirectly owns affiliated enterprises in low-tax jurisdictions outside the territory of the ROC shall recognize and include its pro rata share of affiliated enterprises’ annual profits as investment income in its income tax return for the year. Subsequent actual dividends and distributions from such affiliated enterprises that were previously recognized as investment income will then not be subject to income taxation; any surplus to previously recognized investment income shall be included as taxable income in the allocated year. Low-tax jurisdictions are defined as countries where the PSE income tax rate is lower than 70% of the income tax rate of the PSE in the ROC (the statutory income tax rate is 20% from January 1, 2018). (Article 43-3 CFC rules); and

 

(ii)A PSE is incorporated based on foreign legislation but its place of effective management (PEM) is maintained within the territory of the ROC, and the head office of such PSE will be determined to be within the territory of the ROC and profit-seeking enterprise income tax shall be levied in accordance with the ITA and relevant tax regulations. The aforementioned PEM refers to a place where substantive key management and commercial decisions of an entity’s business and its operations are made. (Article 43-4 PEM rule).

 

According to the legislative intent, the CFC and PEM rules, in principle, will not be put into force immediately, but will wait until the China-Taiwan Cross-Strait Tax Agreement is effectuated, the OECD’s Common Reporting and Due Diligence Standard (“CRS”) for the automatic exchange of information of financial accounts is widely implemented internationally, and the relevant bylaws of the CFC and PEM rules have been adequately enacted and properly advocated. The date of implementation will be determined by the Executive Yuan. Additionally, dividend payments made by us are not subject to withholding tax in the Cayman Islands. However, if the relevant bylaws of the PEM rules have been adequately enacted and properly advocated, we may be determined to be within the territory of the ROC and our income tax shall be levied in accordance with the Income Tax Act and relevant tax regulations. Therefore, dividend payments made by us would be subject to withholding tax in the ROC.

 

We may be affected by the Cayman Economic Substance Law 2018

 

We are incorporated in Cayman Islands. During 2017, the European Union (“EU”) Economic and Financial Affairs Council (“ECOFIN”) released a list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes. The stated aim of this list, and accompanying report, was to promote good governance worldwide in order to maximize efforts to prevent tax fraud and tax evasion. Cayman Islands was not on the list of non-cooperative jurisdictions; however, Cayman Islands did feature in the report as having committed to address concerns relating to economic substance by December 31, 2018.

 

In accordance with that commitment, Cayman Islands enacted the International Tax Co-operation (Economic Substance) Law, 2018 (the “ES Law”) in December 2018. Under the ES Law, if a Cayman Islands company is carrying on as a business one or more “relevant activities” (including: banking, distribution and service center, financing and leasing, fund management, headquarters, holding company, insurance, intellectual property or shipping), it will be required to maintain a substantial economic presence in Cayman Islands and to comply with the economic substance requirements set forth in the ES Law. Companies subject to the economic substance requirements will be required to file a declaration with the Cayman Islands Tax Information Authority stating whether or not they are carrying out relevant activities on an annual basis.

 

At present, the impact of the ES Law is unclear and it is impossible to predict the nature and effect of these requirements on us. We are currently evaluating the potential effect that the ES Law will have on us.

 

We face risks related to health epidemics and outbreaks of contagious diseases, including H1N1 influenza, H5N1 influenza, H7N9 influenza, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS and Coronavirus.

 

In recent years, there have been reports of outbreaks of a highly pathogenic influenza caused by the H1N1 virus, H5N1 virus and H7N9 virus, in certain regions of Asia and other parts of the world. An outbreak of such contagious diseases in the human population could result in a widespread health crisis that could adversely affect the economies and financial markets of many countries, particularly in Asia. Additionally, a recurrence of SARS, a highly contagious form of atypical pneumonia, similar to the occurrence in 2003 which affected the PRC, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Vietnam and certain other countries, would also have similar adverse effects. In December 2019, a strain of coronavirus, COVID-19, is currently taking place in China and all over the world. Since substantially all of our operations, customers and suppliers are based in Asia, the outbreak of H1N1 influenza, H5N1 influenza, H7N9 influenza, SARS, coronavirus or other contagious diseases in Asia or elsewhere, or the perception that such an outbreak could occur, and the measures taken by the governments of countries affected, including the ROC and the PRC, could adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.

 

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The coronavirus outbreak currently taking place in China and all over the world does represent a major uncertainty to our operations, especially for the short term. We are working extremely closely with both our customers and suppliers in our joint efforts to mitigate the risks. The first quarter guidance provided during our fourth quarter earnings call on February 13, 2020 already included the anticipated impact to the business from the coronavirus outbreak which reflects some downward adjustments mainly from certain China-based customers for small-sized display drivers and CMOS image sensors. With vast majority of operations located outside of China, our suppliers are largely unaffected by the coronavirus outbreak. The focus there is primarily the logistics management including the customs operations in various ports in China.

 

The situation is still evolving. Notwithstanding the uncertainty arisen from the coronavirus, we are confident that we will see decent growth across the board for all our major product categories in 2020.

 

Risks Relating to Our ADSs and Our Trading Market

 

The market price for our ADSs is volatile.

 

The market price for our ADSs is volatile and has ranged from a low of $1.7 to a high of $4.22 on the NASDAQ Global Select Market in 2019.

 

The market price is subject to wide fluctuations in response to various factors, including the following:

 

· actual or anticipated fluctuations in our quarterly operating results;

 

· changes in financial estimates by securities research analysts;

 

· changes in the expectation of our non-driver product launch timing, forecast and estimates;

 

· conditions in the TFT-LCD panel market;

 

· changes in the economic performance or market valuations of other display semiconductor companies;

 

· announcements by us or our competitors of new products, acquisitions, strategic partnerships, joint ventures or capital commitments;

 

· the addition or departure of key personnel;

 

· fluctuations in exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and the NT dollar;

 

· litigation related to our intellectual property; and

 

· the release of lock-up or other transfer restrictions on our outstanding ADSs or sales of additional ADSs.

 

In addition, as a result of the worldwide financial crisis, global stock markets have experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations. This volatility has had a significant effect on the market prices of securities issued by many companies for reasons which may not be directly related to their operating performance, including but not limited to events such as tax-loss selling, mutual fund redemptions, hedge fund redemptions and margin calls. These market fluctuations may also materially and adversely affect the market price of our ADSs.

 

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Future sales or perceived sales of securities by us, our executive officers, directors or major shareholders may hurt the price of our ADSs.

 

The market price of our ADSs could decline as a result of sales of ADSs or shares or the perception that these sales could occur. As of February 29, 2020, we had 344,368,062 outstanding shares and a significant number of our shares were beneficially owned by certain major shareholders such as our directors and executive officers. See “Item 7.A. Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions—Major Shareholders.” If we, our executive officers, or directors or our shareholders sell ADSs or shares, the market price for our shares or ADSs could decline. Future sales, or the perception of future sales, of ADSs or shares by us, our executive officers, directors or existing shareholders could cause the market price of our ADSs to decline.

 

You may not have the same voting rights as the holders of our ordinary shares and may not receive voting materials sufficiently in advance to be able to exercise your right to vote.

 

Except as described in the deposit agreement, holders of our ADSs will not be able to exercise voting rights attaching to the shares evidenced by our ADSs on an individual basis. Holders of our ADSs will appoint the depositary or its nominee as their representative to exercise the voting rights attaching to the shares represented by the ADSs. In certain circumstances, however, the depositary shall refrain from voting and any voting instructions received from ADS holders shall lapse. Furthermore, in certain other circumstances, the depositary will give us a discretionary proxy to vote shares evidenced by ADSs. You may not receive voting materials sufficiently in advance to instruct the depositary to vote, and it is possible that you, or persons who hold their ADSs through brokers, dealers or other third parties, will not have the opportunity to exercise a right to vote.

 

You may not be able to participate in rights offerings and may experience dilution of your holdings as a result.

 

We may from time to time distribute rights to our shareholders, including rights to acquire our securities. Under the deposit agreement for the ADSs, the depositary will not offer those rights to ADS holders unless both the rights and the underlying securities to be distributed to ADS holders are either registered under the Securities Act, or exempt from registration under the Securities Act with respect to all holders of ADSs. We are under no obligation to file a registration statement with respect to any such rights or underlying securities or to endeavor to cause such a registration statement to be declared effective. In addition, we may not be able to take advantage of any exemptions from registration under the Securities Act. Accordingly, holders of our ADSs may be unable to participate in our rights offerings and may experience dilution in their holdings as a result.

 

You may be subject to limitations on transfer of your ADSs.

 

Your ADSs represented by the ADRs are transferable on the books of the depositary. However, the depositary may close its transfer books at any time or from time to time whenever it deems expedient in connection with the performance of its duties. In addition, the depositary may refuse to deliver, transfer or register transfers of ADSs generally when our books or the books of the depositary are closed, or at any time if we or the depositary deem it necessary or advisable to do so because of any requirement of law, any government, governmental body, commission, or any securities exchange on which our ADSs or our ordinary shares are listed, or under any provision of the deposit agreement or provisions of, or governing, the deposited securities or any meeting of our shareholders, or for any other reason.

 

Your ability to protect your rights through the United States federal courts may be limited, because we are incorporated under Cayman Islands law, conduct a substantial portion of our operations in Taiwan, and all of our directors and officers reside outside the United States.

 

We are incorporated in the Cayman Islands. A substantial portion of our operations is conducted in Taiwan through Himax Taiwan, our wholly owned subsidiary, and substantially all of our assets are located in Taiwan. All of our directors and officers reside outside the United States, and a substantial portion of the assets of those persons is located outside the United States. As a result, it may be difficult or impossible for you to bring an action against us or against these individuals in the United States in the event that you believe that your rights have been infringed under the securities laws or otherwise. Even if you are successful in bringing an action of this kind, the laws of the Cayman Islands and of Taiwan may render you unable to enforce a United States judgment against our assets or the assets of our directors and officers. There is no statutory recognition in the Cayman Islands of judgments obtained in the United States, although a final and conclusive judgment in the federal or state courts of the United States under which a sum of money is payable, other than a sum payable in respect of multiple damages, taxes, or other charges of a like nature or in respect of a fine or other penalty, may be subject to enforcement proceedings as debt in the courts of the Cayman Islands under the common law doctrine of obligation, provided that (a) such federal or state courts of the United States had proper jurisdiction over the parties subject to such judgment; (b) such federal or state courts of the United States did not contravene the rules of natural justice of the Cayman Islands; (c) such judgment was not obtained by fraud; (d) the enforcement of the judgment would not be contrary to the public policy of the Cayman Islands; (e) no new admissible evidence relevant to the action is submitted prior to the rendering of the judgment by the courts of the Cayman Islands; and (f) there is due compliance with the correct procedures under the laws of the Cayman Islands.

 

As a result of all of the above, our public shareholders may have more difficulty in protecting their interests through actions against our management, directors or major shareholders than shareholders of a corporation incorporated in a jurisdiction in the United States.

 

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You may face difficulties in protecting your interests as a shareholder because judicial precedents regarding shareholders’ rights are more limited under Cayman Islands law than under U.S. law, and because Cayman Islands law generally provides less protection to shareholders than U.S. law.

 

Our corporate affairs are governed by our memorandum and articles of association, the Companies Law, Cap. 22 (Law 3 of 1961, as consolidated and revised) of the Cayman Islands, or the Cayman Islands Companies Law, and the common law of the Cayman Islands. The rights of shareholders to take action against directors, actions by minority shareholders and the fiduciary responsibilities of our directors to us under Cayman Islands law are to a large extent governed by the common law of the Cayman Islands. The common law of the Cayman Islands is derived in part from comparatively limited judicial precedent in the Cayman Islands as well as from English common law, which has persuasive, but not binding, authority on a court in the Cayman Islands. The rights of our shareholders and the fiduciary responsibilities of our directors under Cayman Islands law are not as clearly established as they would be under statutes or judicial precedent in some jurisdictions in the United States. In particular, the Cayman Islands have a less developed body of securities law than the United States. In addition, some U.S. states, such as Delaware, have more fully developed and judicially interpreted bodies of corporate law than the Cayman Islands.

 

For example, the Cayman Islands Companies Law differs from laws applicable to United States corporations and their shareholders in certain material respects which may affect shareholders’ rights and shareholders’ access to information. These differences under the Cayman Islands Companies Law (as compared to Delaware law) include, though are not limited to, the following:

 

·directors who are interested in a transaction do not have a statutory duty to disclose such interest and there are no provisions under the Cayman Islands Companies Law which render such director liable to the company for any profit realized pursuant to such transaction. Our articles of association, however, contain provisions that require our directors to disclose their interest in a transaction;

 

·dissenting shareholders do not have comparable appraisal rights if a scheme of arrangement is approved by the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands;

 

·shareholders may not be able to bring class action or derivative action suits before a Cayman Islands court except in certain exceptional circumstances; and

 

·unless otherwise provided under the memorandum and articles of association of the company, shareholders do not have the right to bring business before a meeting or call a meeting.

 

Moreover, certain of these differences in corporate law, including, for example, the fact that shareholders do not have the right to call a meeting or bring business to a meeting, may have anti-takeover effects, which could discourage, delay, or prevent the merger or acquisition of our company by means of a tender offer, a proxy contest or otherwise, which a shareholder may have considered in its best interest, and prevent the removal of incumbent officers and directors.

 

As a result of all of the above, public shareholders may have more difficulty in protecting their interests in the face of actions taken by management, members of the board of directors or controlling shareholders than they would have as public shareholders of a U.S. company.

 

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Investor confidence and the market price of our ADSs may be adversely impacted if we or our independent registered public accountants conclude that our internal controls over financial reporting are not effective.

 

The Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC, as directed by Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, adopted rules requiring public companies to include in their Annual Report on Form 10-K or Form 20-F, as the case may be, a report of management on the company’s internal controls over financial reporting that contains an assessment by management of the effectiveness of the company’s internal controls over financial reporting. In addition, the company’s independent registered public accounting firm must report on the company’s internal control over financial reporting. Our management may conclude that our internal controls over financial reporting are not effective. Moreover, even if our management does conclude that our internal controls over financial reporting are effective, if our independent registered public accounting firm is not satisfied with our internal controls, the level at which our controls are documented, designed, operated or reviewed, or if our independent registered public accounting firm interprets the requirements, rules or regulations differently from us, then it may conclude that our internal controls over financial reporting are not effective. Furthermore, during the course of the evaluation, documentation and attestation, we may identify deficiencies that we may not be able to remedy in a timely manner. If we fail to achieve and maintain the adequacy of our internal controls, we may not be able to conclude that we have effective internal controls, on an ongoing basis, over financial reporting in accordance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Furthermore, effective internal controls over financial reporting are necessary for us to produce reliable financial reports and are important to help prevent fraud. As a result, our failure to achieve and maintain effective internal controls over financial reporting could result in the loss of investor confidence in the reliability of our financial statements, which in turn could harm our business and negatively impact the trading price of our ADSs. In addition, we have incurred considerable costs and used significant management time and other resources in our effort to comply with Section 404 and other requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

 

ITEM 4. INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

 

4.A. History and Development of the Company

 

Himax Taiwan, our predecessor, was incorporated on June 12, 2001 as a limited liability company under the laws of the ROC. On April 26, 2005, we established Himax Technologies Limited, an exempted company with limited liability under the Cayman Islands Companies Law, as a holding company to hold the shares of Himax Taiwan in connection with our reorganization and share exchange. On October 14, 2005, Himax Taiwan became our wholly owned subsidiary through a share exchange consummated pursuant to the ROC Business Mergers and Acquisitions Law through which we acquired all of the issued and outstanding shares of Himax Taiwan, and we issued ordinary shares to the shareholders of Himax Taiwan. Shareholders of Himax Taiwan received one of our ordinary shares in exchange for one Himax Taiwan common share. The share exchange was unanimously approved by shareholders of Himax Taiwan on June 10, 2005 with no dissenting shareholders and by the ROC Investment Commission on August 30, 2005 for our inbound investment in Taiwan, and on September 7, 2005 for our outbound investment outside of Taiwan. We effected this reorganization and share exchange to comply with ROC laws, which prohibit a Taiwan incorporated company not otherwise publicly listed in Taiwan from listing its shares on an overseas stock exchange. Our reorganization enables us to maintain our operations through our Taiwan subsidiary, Himax Taiwan, while allowing us to list our shares overseas through our holding company structure.

 

On September 26, 2005, we changed our name to “Himax Technologies, Inc.,” and on October 17, 2005, Himax Taiwan changed its name to “Himax Technologies Limited” upon the approval of shareholders of both companies and amendments to the respective constitutive documents. We effected the name exchange in order to maintain continuity of operations and marketing under the trade name “Himax Technologies, Inc.,” which had been previously used by Himax Taiwan.

 

Our ADSs have been listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market since March 31, 2006. Our ordinary shares are not listed or publicly traded on any trading markets.

 

In February 2007, we completed the acquisition of Wisepal, currently known as Himax Semiconductor, Inc., a fabless semiconductor company focusing on the development of LTPS TFT-LCD drivers for small and medium-sized applications. This transaction strengthened our competitive position in the small and medium-sized product areas and further diversified our technology and product offerings. For management purpose, Himax Semiconductor Inc. was merged into Himax Taiwan on July 2, 2018.

 

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In March 2007, we established Himax Imaging, Inc., or Himax Imaging, which develops and markets CMOS image sensors with an initial focus on camera applications used in cell phones and notebook computers.

 

In July 2012, our subsidiary, Himax Display, completed the acquisition of Spatial Photonics, currently known as Himax Display (USA) Inc., a Delaware corporation engaged in the business of manufacturing and production of MEMS products.

 

In June 2018, we completed the acquisition of Emza Visual Sense Ltd., or Emza, which is dedicated to the development of visual sensors that include proprietary machine-vision algorithms and specific architectures that enable always-on visual sensing capabilities, achieving improvement in power consumption, price and form factor. From time to time, we have also made minority investments in various companies for strategic purposes in the ordinary course of business.

 

Our principal executive offices are located at No. 26, Zih Lian Road, Sinshih District, Tainan City 74148, Taiwan, Republic of China. Our telephone number at this address is +886-6-505-0880. Our registered office in the Cayman Islands is located at Cricket Square, Hutchins Drive, P.O. Box 2681, Grand Cayman KY1-1111, Cayman Islands. Our telephone number at this address is +1-345-945-3901. In addition, we have offices in Hsinchu and Taipei, Taiwan; Foshan, Fuqing, Ningbo, Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Suzhou, Wuhan, Hefei, Qingdao, Chongqing, Xi’an and Xiamen, China; Tokyo, Japan; Asan-si and Bundang-gu, South Korea; Givatayim, Israel; and Irvine and Campbell, California and Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.

 

Investor inquiries should be directed to our Investor Relations department, at +1-949-585-9838 ext.223 or by email to hx_ir@himax.com.tw. The SEC maintains an Internet site that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC. The address of the SEC's Internet site is http://www.sec.gov. Our website is www.himax.com.tw. The information contained on our website is not part of this annual report. Our agent for service of process in the United States is Puglisi & Associates located at 850 Library Avenue, Suite 204, Newark, Delaware 19711.

 

4.B. Business Overview

 

We are a fabless semiconductor solution provider dedicated to display imaging processing technologies. We are a worldwide market leader in display driver ICs and timing controllers used in TVs, laptops, monitors, mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, car navigation, virtual reality (VR) devices and many other consumer electronics devices. Additionally, we design and provide controllers for touch sensor displays, in-cell Touch and Display Driver Integration (TDDI) single-chip solutions, LED driver ICs, power management ICs, and LCOS micro-displays for augmented reality (AR) devices and head-up displays (HUD) for automotive. We also offer digital camera solutions, including CMOS image sensors and wafer level optics for AR devices, 3D sensing and machine vision, which are used in a wide variety of applications such as mobile phone, tablet, laptop, TV, PC camera, automobile, security, medical devices, home appliance and Internet of Things. For display drivers and display-related products, our customers are panel manufacturers, agents or distributors, module manufacturers and assembly houses. We also work with camera module manufacturers, optical engine manufacturers, and television system manufacturers for various non-driver products. We believe that our recognized leading design and engineering expertise, combined with our focus on customer service and close relationships with semiconductor manufacturing service providers, has contributed to our success.

 

Industry Background

 

We mainly operate in the flat panel display semiconductor industry. As the majority of our revenues derive from products that are critical components of flat panel displays, such as display drivers, timing controllers, power ICs and other semiconductor products, our industry is closely linked to the trends and developments of the flat panel display industry.

 

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Flat Panel Display Semiconductors

 

Flat panel displays require different semiconductors depending upon the display technologies and the applications. Some of the most important ones include the following:

 

·Display Driver. The display driver receives image data from the timing controller and delivers precise analog voltages or currents to create images on the display. The major application of display driver IC is used on TFT-LCDs. However, AMOLED display is also getting more and more popular in recently years, starting from high-end smartphone and TV applications. Detailed display driver IC specification for LCD and AMOLED are different due to panel characteristics. The two main types of display drivers for a display panel are gate drivers and source drivers. Gate drivers turn on the transistor within each pixel cell on the horizontal line on the panel for data input at each row. Source drivers receive image data from the timing controller and generate voltage that is applied to the liquid crystal within each pixel cell on the vertical line on the panel for data input at each column. The combination determines the colors generated by each pixel. Typically, multiple gate drivers and source drivers are installed separately on the panel. However, for certain small and medium-sized applications, gate drivers and source drivers are integrated into a single chip due to space and cost considerations. Large-sized panels typically have higher resolution and require more display drivers than small and medium-sized panels.

 

·Timing Controller. The timing controller receives image data and converts the format for the source drivers’ input. The timing controller also generates controlling signals for gate and source drivers. Typically, the timing controller is a discrete semiconductor in large-sized TFT-LCD panels. For certain small and medium-sized applications, however, the timing controller may be integrated with display drivers.

 

·Operational Amplifier. An operational amplifier supplies the reference voltage to source drivers in order to make their output voltage uniform.

 

·Power IC. Power ICs include certain drivers, amplifiers, DC to DC converters and other semiconductors designed to enhance power management, such as voltage regulation, voltage boosting and battery management.

 

·Touch controller IC. For touch screen applications, touch controller ICs enable touch interfaces, such as capacitive touch panels, to identify, qualify and track user’s contacts with precision and sensibility.

 

·Others. Flat panel displays also require multiple general purposes semiconductors such as memory, power converters and inverters.

 

Characteristics of the Display Driver Market

 

Although we operate in several distinct segments of the flat panel display semiconductor industry, our principal products are display drivers. Display drivers are critical components of flat panel displays. The display driver market has specific characteristics, including those discussed below.

 

Concentration of Panel Manufacturers

 

The global TFT-LCD panel industry consists of a small number of manufacturers, substantially all of which are based in Asia. In recent years, TFT-LCD panel manufacturers, especially China-based manufacturers, have invested or are planning to invest heavily to establish, construct and ramp up additional fab capacity. The capital intensive nature of the industry often results in TFT-LCD panel manufacturers operating at a high level of capacity utilization in order to reduce unit costs. This tends to create a temporary oversupply of panels, which reduces the average selling price of panels and puts pricing pressure on component companies including display driver companies. Moreover, the concentration of panel manufacturers permits major panel manufacturers to exert pricing pressure on display driver companies such as us. The small number of panel manufacturers exacerbates this situation as display driver companies, in addition to seeking to expand their customer base, must also focus on winning a larger percentage of such customers’ display driver requirements.

 

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Customization Requirements

 

Each panel display has a unique pixel design to meet its particular requirements. To optimize the panel’s performance, display drivers have to be customized for each panel design. The most common customization requirement is for the display driver company to optimize the gamma curve of each display driver for each panel design. Display driver companies must work closely with their customers to develop semiconductors that meet their customers’ specific needs in order to optimize the performance of their products.

 

Mixed-Signal Design and High-Voltage CMOS Process Technology

 

Display drivers have specific design and manufacturing requirements that are not standard in the semiconductor industry. Some display drivers require mixed-signal design since they combine both analog and digital devices on a single semiconductor to process both analog signals and digital data. Manufacturing display drivers require high-voltage CMOS process technology operating typically at 4.5 to 24 volts for source drivers and 10 to 50 volts for gate drivers, levels of voltage which are not standard in the semiconductor industry. For display drivers, the driving voltage must be maintained under a very high degree of uniformity, which can be difficult to achieve using standard CMOS process technology. However, manufacturing display drivers does not require very small-geometry semiconductor processes. Typically, the manufacturing process for large panel display drivers require geometries between 0.11 micron and 1 micron because the physical dimensions of a high-voltage device do not allow for the economical reduction in geometries below this range. We believe that there are a limited number of fabs with high-voltage CMOS process technology that are capable of high-volume manufacturing of display drivers.

 

Special Assembly and Testing Requirements

 

Manufacturing display drivers requires certain assembly and testing technologies and equipment that are not standard for other semiconductors and are offered by a limited number of providers. The assembly of display drivers typically uses either tape-automated bonding, also known as TAB, or chip-on-glass, also known as COG, technologies. Display drivers also require gold bumping, which is a process in which gold bumps are plated onto each wafer to connect the die and the processed tape, in the case of TAB packages, and the glass, in the case of COG packages. TAB may utilize tape carrier packages, also known as TCP, or chip on film, also known as COF. The type of assembly used depends on the panel manufacturer’s design, which is influenced by panel size and application and is typically determined by the panel manufacturers. Display drivers for large-sized applications typically require TAB package types and, to a lesser extent, COG package types, whereas display drivers for mobile handsets and consumer electronics products typically require COG packages. The testing of display drivers also requires special testers that can support high-channel and high-voltage output semiconductors. Such testers are not standard in the semiconductor industry.

 

Supply Chain Management

 

The manufacturing of display drivers is a complex process and requires several manufacturing stages such as wafer fabrication, gold bumping, and assembly and testing, and the availability of materials such as the processed tape used in TAB packaging. We refer to these manufacturing stages and material requirements collectively as the “supply chain.” Panel manufacturers typically operate at high levels of capacity utilization and require a reliable supply of display drivers. A shortage of display drivers, or a disruption to this supply, may disrupt panel manufacturers’ operations since replacement supplies may not be available on a timely basis or at all, given the customization of display drivers. As a result, a display driver company’s ability to deliver its products on a timely basis at the quality and quantity required is critical to satisfying its existing customers and winning new ones. Such supply chain management is particularly crucial to fabless display driver companies that do not have their own in-house manufacturing capacity. In the case of display drivers, supply chain management is further complicated by the high-voltage CMOS process technology and the special assembly and testing requirements that are not standard in the semiconductor industry. Access to this capacity also depends in part on display driver companies having received assurances of demand for their products since semiconductor manufacturing service providers require credible demand forecasts before allocating capacity among customers and investing to expand their capacity to support growth.

 

Need for Higher Level of Integration

 

The small form factor of mobile handsets and certain consumer electronics products restricts the space for components. Small and medium-sized panel applications typically require one or more source drivers, one or more gate drivers and one timing controller, which can be installed as separate semiconductors or as an integrated single-chip driver. Customers are increasingly demanding higher levels of integration in order to manufacture more compact panels, simplify the module assembly process and reduce unit costs. Display driver companies must be able to offer highly integrated chips that combine the source driver, gate driver and timing controller, as well as semiconductors such as memory, power circuit and image processors, into a single chip. Due to the size restrictions and stringent power consumption constraints of such display drivers, single-chip drivers are complex to design. For large-sized panel applications, integration is both more difficult to achieve and less important since size and weight are less of a priority. Lastly, as our TFT-LCD panel customers had turned to pure in-cell TDDI panel development for thinner display designs, we have developed a series of single chip touch display driver integrated circuit (TDDI) for advanced in-cell touch display panel.

 

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Products and Solutions

 

We have several principal product lines:

 

·display drivers and timing controllers;

 

·touch controller ICs;

 

·ASIC service;

 

·LCOS and MEMS products;

 

·power ICs;

 

·CMOS image sensor products;

 

·wafer level optics products;

 

·3D sensing business; and

 

·Ultra-low power smart sensing.

 

Display Drivers and Timing Controllers

 

Display Driver Characteristics

 

Display drivers deliver precise analog voltages and currents that activate the pixels on panels. The following is a summary of certain display driver characteristics and their relationship to panel performance.

 

·Resolution and Number of Channels. Resolution refers to the number of pixels per line multiplied by the number of lines, which determines the level of fine detail within an image displayed on a panel. For example, a color display screen with 1,024 x 768 pixels has 1,024 red columns, 1,024 green columns and 1,024 blue columns for a total of 3,072 columns and 768 rows. The red, green and blue columns are commonly referred to as “RGB.” Therefore, the display drivers need to drive 3,072 column outputs and 768 row outputs. The number of display drivers required for each panel depends on the resolution of the panel and the number of channels per display driver. For example, an XGA (1,024 x 768 pixels) panel requires eight 384-channel source drivers (1,024 x 3 = 384 x 8) and three 256-channel gate drivers (768 = 256 x 3), while a full HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) panel requires eight 720-channel source drivers and four 270-channel gate drivers. The number of display drivers required can be reduced by using drivers with a higher number of channels. For example, a full HD panel can have six 960-channel source drivers instead of eight 720-channel source drivers. Thus, using display drivers with a higher number of channels can reduce the number of display drivers required for each panel, although display drivers with a higher number of channels typically have higher unit costs.

 

·Color Depth. Color depth is the number of colors that can be displayed on a screen, which is determined by the number of shades of a color, also known as gray scale, that can be shown by the panel. For example, a 6-bit source driver is capable of generating 26 x 26 x 26 = 218, or 262K colors, and similarly, an 8-bit source driver is capable of generating 16 million colors. Typically, for TFT-LCD panels currently in commercial production, 262K, 16 million and 1 billion colors are supported by 6-bit, 8-bit and 10-bit source drivers, respectively.

 

·Operational Voltage. A display driver operates with two voltages: the input voltage (which enables it to receive signals from the timing controller) and the output voltage (which, in the case of source drivers, is applied to liquid crystals and, in the case of gate drivers, is used to switch on the TFT device). Source drivers typically operate at input voltages from 3.3 to 1.8 volts and output voltages ranging from 7 up to 18 volts. Gate drivers typically operate at input voltages from 3.3 to 1.8 volts and output voltages ranging from 10 to 50 volts. Lower input voltage saves power and lowers electromagnetic interference, or EMI. Output voltage may be higher or lower depending on the characteristics of the liquid crystal (or diode), in the case of source drivers, or TFT device, in the case of gate drivers.

 

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·Gamma Curve. The relationship between the light passing through a pixel and the voltage applied to it by the source driver is nonlinear and is referred to as the “gamma curve” of the source driver. Different panel design and manufacturing processes require source drivers with different gamma curves. Display drivers need to adjust the gamma curve to fit the pixel design. Due to the materials and processes used in manufacturing, panels may contain certain imperfections which can be corrected by the gamma curve of the source driver, a process which is generally known as “gamma correction.” For certain types of liquid crystal, the gamma curves for RGB cells are significantly different and thus need to be independently corrected. Some advanced display drivers feature three independent gamma curves for RGB cells.

 

·Driver Interface. Driver interface refers to the connection between the timing controller and display drivers. Display drivers increasingly require higher bandwidth interface technology to address the larger data volume necessary for video images. Panels used for higher data transmission applications, such as televisions, require more advanced interface technology. The principal types of interface technologies are transistor-to-transistor logic, or TTL, reduced swing differential signaling, or RSDS, mini-low voltage differential signaling, or mini-LVDS, and point-to-point high-speed interface. Among these, RSDS, mini-LVDS and point-to-point interface were developed as low power, low noise and low amplitude methods for high-speed data transmission using fewer copper wires and resulting in lower EMI. Moreover, there are some panel manufacturers developing their proprietary point-to-point interfaces, such as embedded panel interface, or EPI, USI-T, iSP, CEDS, CHPI ,CSPI and CMPI.

 

·Package Type. The assembly of display drivers typically uses TAB and COG package types. COF and TCP are two types of TAB packages, of which COF packages have become predominantly used in recent years. Customers typically determine the package type required according to their specific mechanical and electrical considerations. In general, display drivers for small-sized panels mainly use COG package types, whereas display drivers for large-sized panels primarily use TAB package types and, to a lesser extent, COG package types.

 

Large-Sized Applications

 

We provide source drivers, gate drivers, PMIC, P-gamma OP level shifter and timing controllers (TCON) for large-sized panels principally used in desktop monitors, notebook computers and televisions. Display drivers used in large-sized applications feature different key characteristics, depending on the end-use application. For example, the industry trend for large-sized applications is generally toward super high channel, low power consumption, low cost, thin and light form factor, touch function, higher data transmission rate and higher driving capabilities. Higher speed interface technologies are also key for 4Kx2K and 8Kx4K high-resolution TVs. Greater color depth, thermal solution, high data rate and high driving, are particularly important for advanced televisions and certain monitors.

 

Our large display driver IC business achieved several milestones in 2019. For example, we successfully added a 12-inch fab into the pool of our foundry capacity for our large display driver ICs to ease the capacity shortage of 8” foundry where the vast majority of large panel driver ICs are fabricated. On high-end TV, Himax outpaced peers to lead the mass production of customized high-speed point-to-point (P2P) transmission using embedded panel intra interface such as iSP, CHPI, USI-T and CSPI for 4K TVs and developed a 2-in-1 COF driver to meet the requirements of high channel count and heat dissipation for 8K TV. On gaming monitor, we have high frame rate and high driving driver to meet the needs of various resolutions and frame rates such as UHD 165Hz, QHD 240Hz, FHD 320Hz, etc. We also successfully developed low power consumption driver applied in low power monitor to satisfied Energy star 8.0. Lastly, our P2P driver and TCON ICs with 13.3" FHD can meet Intel 1W project requirement.

 

We also made tremendous progress in TCON product lines in 2019. Jointly with our Tier 1 customers, we developed 8K TV TCON for their 8K 60 Hz and 120Hz TV from 55” to 110”, leveraging Himax's unique two phase demura and SHR technologies, which can greatly improve mura to improve yield rate of 8K TV panel and solve the problem of insufficient 8K content. We also provide gaming TCON for the new UHD 144Hz gaming monitor and notebook. As for eDP (Embedded DisplayPort) notebook TCONs, Himax continues to develop more power-efficient drivers including mLVDS and P2P interfaces. Our mLVDS is able to integrate P-gamma OP to reduce PCB size and make notebooks slimmer, allowing more space for touch solution integration. Last but not the least, we successfully embedded local dimming in TCON ICs for TFT-LCD automotive applications to support the accelerating trend toward large-scale screen, higher contrast instrument panels needed for drivers to read meter content quickly. This industry-leading next generation automotive display technology has been greatly appreciated by auto OEMs, Tier 1 and panel makers and is expected to begin mass production in an electronic vehicle during 2020.

 

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The table below sets forth the features of our products for large-sized applications:

 

Product Features
TFT-LCD Source Drivers ·  384 to 1920 output channels
  ·  6-bit (262K colors), 8-bit (16 million colors) or 10-bit (1 billion colors)
  ·  one gamma-type driver
  · two gamma-type driver to improve display quality
  ·  three gamma-type drivers (RGB independent gamma curve to enhance color image)
  ·  output driving voltage ranging from 7 up to 20V
  · input logic voltage ranging from standard 3.3V to low power 1.8V and support half VDDA
  ·  low power consumption and low EMI
  ·  support COF and COG package types
  · support TTL, RSDS, mini-LVDS (up to 400MHz), cascade modulated driver interface, or CMDI, point-to-point high speed interface (up to 4Gbps for 8K 120Hz) and customized interface technologies
  · support dual gate and triple gate panel designs
   
TFT-LCD Gate Drivers ·  192 to 1600 output channels
  ·  output driving voltage ranging from 10 up to 50v
  ·  input logic voltage ranging from standard 3.3V to low power 1.8V
  ·  low power consumption
  ·  support COF and COG package types
  ·  support dual gate and triple gate panel designs
   
Timing Controllers · product portfolio supports a wide range of resolutions, from VGA (640 x 480 pixels) to full HD, UHD and 8K4K (1,920 x 1,080 pixels, 1,920 x 1,200 pixels, 3840 x 2160 and 7680 x 4320)
  ·  support TTL, RSDS, mini-LVDS, DETTL, turbo RSDS, CMDI, point-to-point high speed interface and customized output interface technologies
  ·  embedded overdrive function to improve response time
  ·  support CABC to save power and color engine to enhance color and sharpness
  ·  support TTL, LVDS, eDP, G-sync, MIPI and V-by-one input interface technologies
  · support dual-gate, triple-gate, GOA (gate on array) and RGBW panel designs
  ·  support amorphous silicon, IGZO and LTPS panel
  ·  ASIC AMOLED timing controller

 

Programmable Gamma OP·8 to 16 channel gamma buffer outputs
·channel VCOM buffer output
·Internal non-volatile memory
·2 gamma bank selection, setting time < 3uS
·Analog power supply voltage: 9.0V to 20.0V
·Digital power supply voltage: 2.7V to 3.6V
·Peak current on gamma channels: 200mA
·Peak current on VCOM channel: 400mA
·Programmable VCOM limit
·12C speed up to 1MHz

 

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Electronic Paper Display Applications

 

We offer display driver for the Electronic Paper Display (EPD) applications, such as reading & writing device, Electronic Shelf Label (ESL) and Signage Display. The Electronic Paper Display (EPD) drivers can support various display resolutions to meet the customized needs of applications.

 

The following table summarizes the features of our Electronic Paper Display (EPD) solutions:

 

Product Features
Electronic Paper Display (EPD) · Features 320 to 1920 output channels
Source Drivers · output driving voltage ranging from 15 up to 50v
  · input logic voltage ranging from standard 3.3V to low power 1.8V
  · low power consumption and low EMI
  · support TTL, mini-LVDS cascade modulated driver interface, or point-to-point high speed interface and customized interface technologies
  · support COF and COG package types
   
Electronic Paper Display (EPD) · 100 to 840 output channels
Gate Drivers · output driving voltage ranging from 10 up to 50v
  · input logic voltage ranging from standard 3.3V to low power 1.8V low power consumption
  support COF and COG package types
   
Electronic Paper Display (EPD) · Highly integrated chip embedded with source driver, timing controller and power circuit
Integrated Drivers · source driver output driving voltage ranging up to 30V
  · Support COG package types

 

Mobile Handset, Tablet and Consumer Electronics Applications

 

We offer display drivers for mobile handset, tablet PC and consumer electronics (“CE”) displays that combine source driver, gate driver, timing controller, DC to DC circuits, and optional frame buffer into a single chip or cascades chips in various display technologies, such as TFT-LCD, LTPS and AMOLED.

 

Smartphones and tablet PCs have gained greater popularity among consumers and enjoyed higher growth in recent years. This has also contributed to higher demand for mobile handset displays that have a larger size and higher resolution. In the past few years, we offered innovative handset display driver products by providing FWVGA (480 x 864), qHD (540 x 960), WSVGA (1024 x 600), HD720 (720 x 1280)/ WXGA (800 x 1280), FHD (1080 x 1920) / WUXGA (1200 x 1920) and up to QHD (1440 x 2560) / WQXGA (1600x2560) display driver ICs. We have recently continued to update new products for this mainstream smartphone and tablet PC segment with lower cost and new features, such as color enhancement and sun-light readability enhancement functions. In 2015, we developed new technologies and led the display industry with next generation display driver ICs, such as a-si FHD (1080 x 1920), AMOLED ASICs for HD and FHD and LTPS QHD (1440 x 2560) with sub-pixel rendering technologies. In 2016, Himax developed a series of single chip touch display driver integrated circuit (TDDI) for advanced in-cell touch display panel. Himax started the shipments of in-cell TDDI for some smartphones in 2016 and extended TDDI solution to tablet PCs application in 2017. Smartphone display had a dramatic change in terms of aspect ratio, instead of resolution, in 2017. Though display resolution of entry smartphones kept moving up from WVGA or qHD to HD, high-end smartphone display may be stuck at FHD or QHD since it’s pixel per inch is good enough for normal consumers’ daily use. OEMs start to seek for differentiation with 18:9 or even wider aspect ratio, full front displays. Himax has designed conventional 16:9 HD and FHD DDICs capable of supporting 18:9 or wider HD+/FHD+ displays and achieved a number of design-wins with leading Chinese smartphone brands. As in-cell TDDI, featuring thinner display, slimmer border, and better visual quality, has been getting popular, we re-invented a new generation of TDDIs supporting COG and COF for 18:9 or wider aspect ratio with interlaced output pins, which makes the bottom border of the in-cell touch display even smaller to gain higher display to body ratio. Our new generation FHD+ TDDI with COG and COF are in design-in stage with a few leading Chinese smartphone brands and panel makers. While COG TDDI offers cost effective slim bezel design, TDDI with COF package can enable super-slim bezel design for premium smartphone models. We started small volume shipment in the first half of 2018 with accelerating volume started in the second half of 2018 into 2019 and beyond.

 

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A major development we are seeing in the marketplace is increased utilization of the OLED display for smartphone. This is due to investments on expanded AMOLED capacity as well as increased demand for under-display fingerprint technology that is only available in the AMOLED display for the time being. We are collaborating closely with leading panel makers across China for AMOLED product development. We believe AMOLED driver ICs will soon become one of the major growth engines for our small panel driver IC business.

 

On the other hand, the application of in-cell TDDI start to extend from mainstream smartphone to larger displays in 2018 as Himax start to offer various new TDDI solutions for tablet PCs, smart speakers, and even some infotainment displays in automobiles. The first tablet TDDI with WXGA resolution went mass production in 2018 and also extended to leading smart speaker applications as well. In 2019, Himax announced a series of new driver and TDDIs for tablet application. A COF packaged driver IC solution enables a leading tablet PC OEM successfully launching a WQXGA resolution tablet with super slim bezel. Another new TDDI, supporting up to WUXGA and WQXGA resolution, design-win multiple projects from tablet PC OEMs across Korea and China in 2019. We also launched the first TDDI supporting active stylus function in tablets which this will commence mass production and contribute to our tablet application business in 2020.

 

The following table summarizes the features of our products for mobile handsets and tablet application:

 

Product Features
Mobile Handset Display Drivers · highly integrated single chip embedded with the source driver, gate driver, power circuit, timing controller and memory
  · suitable for a wide range of resolutions from QQVGA (128 x 160 pixels) to QHD (1440 x 2560 pixels)
  · support up to 16 million colors
  · support RGB separated gamma adjustment
  · support CABC
  · support color enhancement features including saturation, brightness, and sharpness enhancement
  · support MIPI interface for smartphone application and LVDS for CE applications
  · support RAM-less or 1/3 RAM compression technologies
  · low power consumption and low EMI
  · fewer external components to reduce costs
  · slimmer die for compact module to fit smaller mobile handset designs
  · application specific integrated circuits, or ASIC, can be designed to meet customized requirements for LCD or AMOLED
  · touch display driver integrated circuit (TDDI) for advanced in-cell touch display
  · extending from 16:9 to 18:9 or wider aspect ratio
  · COG and COF solutions for super slim bottom border
  · AMOLED driver IC with sub-pixel rendering, Demura-IPs for FHD+
   
Tablet PC Display Drivers · highly integrated single chip embedded with the source driver, power circuit, and timing controller
  · suitable for a wide range of resolutions from WSVGA (600 x 1024), WXGA (800 x 1280), WUXGA (1200x1920) to WQXGA (1600 x 2560)
  · support up to 16 million colors
  · support RGB separated gamma adjustment
  · support CABC
  · support color enhancement features
  · support MIPI interface
  · touch display driver integrated circuit (TDDI) for advanced in-cell touch display
  · supporting TDDI with active stylus
  · COG and COF solutions for super slim bezel

 

 

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Automotive Display Applications

 

We offer source drivers, gate drivers, timing controllers and integrated drivers for the fast ramping automotive display applications, such as instrument cluster display (ICD), center information display (CID), head-up display (HUD), rear seat entertainment display (RSE) and rearview mirror display.

 

The automotive display drivers can support various display resolutions to meet the customized needs of automotive display, including GIP panel and non-GIP panel, a-TFT panel and LTPS panel. Meanwhile, the automotive display drivers can support higher output driving voltage for higher contrast ratio and faster liquid crystal response in automotive display applications. The automotive Timing Controller can support Local Dimming function for the goal of higher contrast ration and reduction thermal in automotive display applications.

 

The following table summarizes the features of our products used in automotive display applications:

 

Product Features
TFT-LCD Source Drivers · 642 to 1,920 output channels
  · 6-bit (262K colors), 8-bit (16.7 million colors)
  · support RSDS, mini-LVDS, Point-to-Point interfaces
  · output driving voltage ranging up to 15V
  · support COG and COF package type
   
TFT-LCD Gate Drivers · 100 to 1,600 output channels
  · output driving voltage ranging up to 40V
  · support COG and COF package type
   
TFT-LCD Integrated Drivers · highly integrated chip embedded with source driver, timing controller and power circuit
  · support RGB, LVDS input interfaces
  · support Single Gate, Dual Gate, Triple Gate panel structure
  · support GIP panel (a-TFT GIP or LTPS GIP) and non-GIP panel
  · support resolution up to 2880 RGBx1080 with cascaded chips
  · source driver output driving voltage ranging up to ±6.6V or 16V
  · support Fail Detect Function, including CRC Function
  · support Local Dimming Function
  · support Teletext OSD function
  · support COG and COF package type
   
Timing Controllers · support LVDS, eDP 1.2 input interface
  · support RSDS, mini-LVDS, Point-to-Point output interfaces
  · support Single Gate, Dual Gate, Triple Gate panel structure
  · support GIP panel (a-TFT GIP or LTPS GIP) and non-GIP panel
  · support various resolutions up to 4K1K(ICD) or 3K2K(CID)
  · support Local Dimming Function
  · support Fail Detect Function, including CRC Function
   
TFT-LCD TDDI Drivers · highly integrated chip embedded with source driver, timing controller, touch controller and power circuit
  · support LVDS input interfaces
  · support Single Gate, Dual Gate, Triple Gate a-TFT panel structure
  · support 2MUX, 3MUX, 6MUX LTPS panel structure
  · support GIP panel (a-TFT GIP or LTPS GIP) and non-GIP panel
  · support resolution up to 5760RBx720 with cascaded chips
  · source driver output driving voltage ranging up to ±6.6V
  · support Fail Detect Function, including CRC Function
  · support Color Engine function
  · support COG package type

 

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Touch Controller ICs

 

We offer touch controller solutions for capacitive touch panels. Our touch controller solutions are suitable for electronic devices employing touch panel screens of up to 13”, such as smartphones, mobile internet devices and tablet PCs. In the third quarter of 2011, we commenced shipping capacitive touch controller ICs to a worldwide brand smartphone customer. In 2013, we expanded our customers list to a lot more well-known smartphone and tablet PC brand customers.

 

Our capacitive touch controller possesses certain innovations and merits. It could support sensing and tracking of up to ten points. Its embedded micro-controller single chip solution contributes to reducing cost for flexible product design. Its auto calibration mechanism can meet strict validation requirements of leading smart phone brands. With sophisticated designed hardware and firmware supporting hybrid sensing combining merits of self capacitance and mutual capacitance, Himax’s touch controller could support out-cell and on-cell with various sensor patterns and stack-ups.

 

In 2015, we grew shipments of our touch controller product line with successful design-wins from several smartphone and tablet end brands. We continue to gain market share in out-cell and on-cell touch panel controller markets. Meanwhile, our technological capabilities endorsed by highly recognized end brands also caught the attention of leading in-cell panel makers. They have engaged us in the development of touch-display driver integrated circuit (TDDI) as a key strategic partner rather than just a display driver IC supplier. We have developed a series of TDDI in 2015 and 2016 for these tier one in-cell touch panel makers and started mass production in smartphone brands. We also started the mass production of our TDDI in tablet PC and automotive displays in 2019. In-cell TDDI, featuring thinner display, slimmer border, and better visual quality, has become the mainstream technology. Over time we will expand our TDDI solutions to replace discrete DDIC and touch controller IC.

 

The following table summarizes the features of our touch controller products:

 

Product   Features
       Capacitive Touch Controller   · complete single chip touch controller solutions for handheld devices, supporting smartphones and tablet PCs
    · real multi-point capability support of up to 10 points
    · mass production with GG, GFF and one glass solution (“OGS”), and On-cell touch
    · support advanced functions such as passive stylus, glove, etc.
    · minimum components: simple, neat, and flexible mechanical design

 

   ASIC service

 

From 2012, we had successfully completed several ASIC service projects for Japan top TV, Project and HMD makers with advanced and high performance customized video processing chips. All of these chips are implemented with our proprietary video process platform that includes our video process display IP and high-speed transmission IPs. The process nodes adopted for these ASIC are usually 40nm, 55nm and even 28nm processes. From 2016, we also developed the depth sensing technology that aims 3D sensing and AR/VR markets. On the other hand, the low power Convolution Neural Network (CNN) accelerator platform is also developed for the emerging ultra-low-power Computer Vision market.

 

The following table summarizes the features of our ASIC service:

 

Product   Features
     ASIC Service   · Well-established ASIC development platform, based on our unique video processor and image processing technologies.
    · offer a wide variety of video interface IPs, like LVDS, HDMI, DVI, V-by-one, Display port, MIPI, MHL, etc.
    · built-in 8/32- bit microprocessor built-in video processing algorithm like super-high resolution, sun-light readable, MEMC, FRC, etc
    · built-in 3D feature technologies like 2D-to-3D, Glasses-free 3D, 3D multi-view, 3D visual protection, etc.
    · support 4K x 2K/ 5K x 2K/ 8K x 4K display
    · Depth sensing algorithm and hardware accelerator for 3D sensing and AR/VR applications
    ·  Low power Convolution Neural Network (CNN) algorithm and hardware accelerator for Computer Vision market

 

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LCOS and MEMS Products

 

Himax Display, our subsidiary, has contributed to our microdisplay products lines: Color-filter LCOS, Color-sequential LCOS, Front-Lit™ LCOS and MEMS.

 

The latest development of Front-Lit™ LCOS enables an ultra-compact and extremely power-efficient optical engine by consolidating LED illumination system and the polarization beam splitter (PBS) and integrating them into the micro display module itself. Front-Lit™ LCOS enables a much simplified optical engine design and assembly process and successfully lowered customers’ manufacturing time and costs.

 

Himax Display is the market leader of the LCOS industry based on market share since 2012 with the whole product line patented by the Company. We believe Himax Display is the only non-captive LCOS company that owned a mass production ready liquid crystal assembly line. We have produced and shipped over 2.0 million units from this ISO certified line. Our customers use our products in various applications such as pico-projector, communication, toy projector, AR glasses, HUD for automotive and HUD for motorcycle.

 

Both technologies have their own merits for different applications in resolution, power consumption, size, cost, optical engine design, and image quality. Many of our industry-leading customers have demonstrated their state-of-the-art products, including holographic HUD, AR glasses and LiDAR system, with Himax LCOS technology inside at the 2020 CES with positive market feedbacks. Our technology leadership and proven manufacturing expertise have made us a preferred partner for customers in these emerging markets and their ongoing engineering projects in AR goggles and HUD for automotive applications.

 

We provide a rich products family for customers to choose for different applications, since each product has its own most important parameters to select. Himax Display provides choices to customers. The following table shows certain details of our products:

 

Product   Size and Resolution
       Color-Filter LCOS Microdisplays   · 0.28” (320x240 pixels) QVGA
    · 0.38” (640x360 pixels) nHD
    · 0.44” (640x480 pixels) VGA
    · 0.59” (800x600 pixels) SVGA
    · Customized design
     
       Color-Sequential LCOS Microdisplays   · 0.22” (640 x 360 pixels) nHD
    · 0.28” (852 x 480 pixels) WVGA
    · 0.38” (640 x 480 pixels) VGA
    · 0.37” (800 x 600 pixels) SVGA
    · 0.37” (1366 x 768 pixels) WXGA
    · 0.45” (1024 x 768 pixels) XGA
    · Customized design
     
       Front-Lit™ Color Filter LCOS   · 0.22” (640 x 360 pixels) nHD
    · Customized design
     
        MEMS   · 0.55” (1280 x 800 pixels) WXGA

   

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Power ICs

 

Himax provides TFT-LCD television, monitor and notebooks power management solutions. The main products are Power Managements ICs (PMIC), Programmable Gamma OP ICs (PGOP) and Level Shifter ICs (LS). In recent years, PMIC/PGOP/LS 3-in-1 PMIC has gradually become the mainstream solution.

 

Power Management ICs

 

A power management IC integrates several power components to fulfill system power requirements. It may include step-up or step-down pulse width modulation, or PWM, DC-to-DC converters, low-dropout regulators, or LDO regulators, voltage detectors, operational amplifiers, p-gamma OP, level shifters, or other components. For panel module applications, a power management IC provides a reliable and precise voltage for source drivers, gate drivers, timing controllers, and panel cells. Moreover, its built-in over-temperature and over-current protections help prevent components from being damaged under certain abnormal conditions. As integrating an increasing number of components into a power management IC is likely to be a continuing trend, we believe power management ICs will continue to be critical components of a TFT-LCD panel module. The following table summarizes certain features of our power management IC products:

 

Product   Features
        Integrated Multi-Channel Power Solutions for Notebooks   · built-in power MOSFET
    · step-up PWM converter
    · charge pump regulator
    · LDO regulator
    · voltage detector
    · gate pulse modulator
    · Vcom operational amplifier
    · 2ch programmable gamma voltage with operational amplifier
    · I2C programmable
    · low frame rate control for power saving solution
     
        Integrated Multi-Channel Power Solutions for Monitors   · PMIC/PGOP/Level Shifter 3-in-1
    · built-in power MOSFET
    · step-up PWM converter
    · HV LDO regulator
    · voltage detector
    · gate pulse modulator
    · programmable Vcom voltage / Vcom operational amplifier
    · programmable gamma voltage with operational amplifier
    · level shifter
     
       Integrated Multi-Channel Power Solutions for TVs   · PMIC/PGOP/Level Shifter 3-in-1
    · built-in power MOSFET
    · step-up PWM converter
    · step-down PWM converter
    · charge pump regulator
    · HV LDO regulator
    · voltage detector
    · gate pulse modulator
    · Vcom operational amplifier
    · I2C programmable
    · level shifter
    · programmable gamma voltage with operational amplifier

 

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Programmable Gamma OP ICs

 

It is a Programmable Gamma, DVR and VCOM IC. Each controlled by a 10-bit digital analog converter (DAC). The user can easily select one of the two gamma curves to compensate for the display. The PGOP also includes a channel DVR, VCOM buffer and built-in 7-bit DAC. Support 128-step to adjust the VCOM output voltage by I2C control setting automatically.

 

Product   Features
       14 channel PGOP for dual gate GOA TFT-LCD     · Programmable gamma buffer DVR and VCOM buffer
    · 14 channel analog output gamma reference voltage
    · 10-bit Gamma DAC resolution
    · 2 Gamma bank register
    · 2 Gamma bank NVM
    · Built in output channel resister
    · I2C interface

 

Level shifter

 

TFT-LCD panel manufacturers have developed panel designs to reduce the usage of display drivers, like gateless designs, which integrate the gate driver function onto the glass but needed level shifter. All level shifter channels feature the same input circuitry and are compatible with the standard logic-level signals generated by timing controllers in typical applications. The level shifter converts the timing-controller (TCON) logic-level signals to the high-level signals needed by the GOA (gate on array) display. The output circuitry has been designed to achieve high rise and fall times when driving the capacitive loads typically encountered in TFT-LCD display applications.

 

Product   Features
       16- channel level shifter for dual gate GOA TFT-LCD     ·  support two kinds of T-con input signals
    · 6/8/10 clock channel output
    · 2 channel STV
    · 2 channel LC
    · 2 discharge channels
    · support charge sharing function
    · reset function
    · OTP/OCP (detect level, time and count) with I2C adjustment
    · Support 2 input and 6/8/10 output

 

LED driver

 

A light-emitting diode (LED) is a semiconductor light source that is widely used in lighting, display and TFT LCD backlight nowadays. The advantages of LEDs as light sources are the small size, fast switching, low power consumption and long lifetime etc.

 

LED driver IC is designed to dim the LEDs with critical features like, high current accuracy, high current matching, short LED protection, open LED protection, over voltage protection, ghosting effect reduction and current sink leakage protection etc.

 

Product   Features
Customer ASIC   · By Customer Specification

 

   CMOS Image Sensor Products

 

The CMOS image sensor products are developed by our subsidiary, Himax Imaging. The products were designed firstly for camera-equipped mobile devices, such as mobile phones, tablets and notebook computers, with a focus on low light image and video quality. Based on the technologies and IP we developed, our product lines have been expanded to cover three domains: ultra-low power computer vision- Always-On Sensor (“AoS”), Near Infrared (“NIR”) sensor, and big pixel BSI sensors in automotive and surveillance. In 2019, we further prioritized our focus on ultra-low power computer vision- Always-On Sensor (“AoS”) as the demand for battery-powered smart device with AI intelligent sensing is rapidly growing. Together with the technologies we already developed, such as Near Infrared (“NIR”) sensor, we can provide our customers the best integrated solutions for several specific domains.

 

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In addition to advancing our AoS sensor to drive the power as low as possible, we also devote ourselves to developing sensors that have industry leading small pixel (1.12um) with higher near infrared Quantum Efficiency (“QE”) to support the new generation cameras. Their superior performance hugely helps to reduce the system’s power consumption and therefore enhances the system performance. With the high QE in NIR band, we open the doors to building more sensor and camera systems for machine vision. For example, our latest laptop product, HM110B1, is a critical part of Himax’s WiseEye solution, an AI-based ultra-low power smart sensing total solution. Given its cool and slim (narrower than 2mm) dimension to support ultra-thin bezel, we combine original RGB video conference sensor, IR sensor originally for Windows Hello support, and newly added intelligent AoS sensor into a single silicon. This 3-in-1 sensor not only enables new features, but also hugely saves laptop makers’ effort in mechanical design and overall cost.

 

We are committed to be a key player in the CMOS image sensor business with investments in experienced human resources, an efficient supply chain, and strategic technology developments and partnerships to further increase the performance and features of small and specially designed pixel sensors.

 

The following table sets forth the features of our CMOS image sensor products:

 

Product   Features
        5MP UltraSense 2TM NIR Sensor   · 1/2.6” format color type with high sensitivity BSI pixel
    ·  5MP resolution at 45 frames per second, support QHD video at 60 frames per second
    · Compact die size design to support small modules
    · 4x NIR sensitivity at 940nm
    · 4-lane MIPI CSI2 outputs RAW8/10
     
        2.0MP ClearViewTM Color Image Sensor   · 1/5” format color type
    · UXGA YUV output at 30 frames per second, 720p HD resolution at 60 frames per second
    · 1-lane MIPI CSI2 outputs RAW8/10
     
        FHD 1/6” 1080p UltraSenseTM Color Image Sensor   · 1/6” format with high sensitivity BSI pixel
    · 1080p FHD resolution at 60 frames per second
    · Low power consumption
    · Alternating frame support for HDR
    ·  Provide 2x2 RGB-IR option
    · 2-lane MIPI CSI2 outputs
    ·  Frame-Sync control for multiple camera system
     
       FHD 1/3” 1080p UltraSenseTM Color Image Sensor   · 1/3” format with high sensitivity BSI pixel
    · 1080p HD resolution at 60 frames per second
    · Low power consumption
    · Support for Staggered HDR
    ·  Provide high NIR sensitivity option
    ·  2-lane MIPI CSI2 and 12bit parallel DVP outputs
    ·  Frame-Sync control for multiple camera system
     
        FHD 1/4” 1080p UltraSenseTM Color Image Sensor   · 1/4” format with high sensitivity BSI pixel
    ·  1080p FHD resolution at 30 frames per second
    ·  Low power consumption
    ·  Provide high NIR sensitivity and 4x4 RGB-IR option
    · 2-lane MIPI CSI2 and 10bit parallel DVP outputs
    · Frame-Sync control for multiple camera system

 

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Product

 

Features

HD 720p UltraSenseTM Color Image Sensor   · 1/6.5” format with high sensitivity BSI pixel
    ·  720p HD resolution at 60 frames per second
    · Low power consumption
    · Support Intel SSC function on MIPI I/F
    · 1-lane MIPI CSI2 outputs RAW8/10
     
HD 720p UltraSense 2TM Color Image Sensor   · 1/9” format with high sensitivity BSI pixel
    · 720p HD resolution at 30 frames per second
    ·  Low power consumption
    ·  Support LED-sync for Microsoft Windows Hello
    ·  1-lane MIPI CSI2 outputs RAW8/10
     
HD 720p Ultra Low Power Color Image Sensor   ·  1/11” format with high sensitivity BSI pixel
    ·  720p HD resolution at 60 frames per second
    ·  Ultra slim design to meet 2.2mm narrow bezel notebook computer
    ·  Provide Ultra Low Power mode >1mW for qqHD 3fps for human detection application
    ·  Provide RGB-IR version for Windows Hello
    ·  Support Motion Detection to save system power
    ·  SPI and 1-lane MIPI CSI2 dual outputs for both detection and video
     
1.3MP ClearSenseTM EDR Color Image Sensor embedded with   · 1/4” format with ultra-high sensitivity
image processor for Surveillance   ·  ClearSenseTM achieves higher dynamic range in color up to 84dB with on-chip tone mapping
    ·  800p and 720p resolution at 30 frames per second
    · FlexiTM engine automatically controls dynamic range, exposure, gain, and white balance to balance color fidelity and contrast
    ·  Color processing pipeline including lens shading correction, defect correction, edge enhancement, color interpolation and correction, gamma control, and saturation/hue adjustment.
    ·  Anti-blooming and dark sun cancellation
    ·  Built-in low dropout regulator and power on reset
    ·  10-bit parallel video data port supports RAW, YUV422, and RGB565/555/444
     
1.2MP UltraSense 2TM Color Image Sensor embedded with   ·  1/4” format with ultra-high sensitivity
image processor for Automotive   ·  Ultrasense 2TM BSI pixel offers higher sensitivity for low light condition
    · Operation up to 105ºC
    ·  960p and 720p resolution at 30 frames per second
    ·  Color processing pipeline including lens shading correction, defect correction, edge enhancement, color interpolation and correction, gamma control, and saturation/hue adjustment
    ·  Dynamic Range Optimizer offers best dynamic range of video
    · Anti-blooming and dark sun cancellation
    · Built-in low dropout regulator and power on reset
    ·  10-bit parallel video data port supports RAW, YUV422, and RGB565/555/444
     
NTSC/PAL WVGA Color Image System on embedded with   ·  High sensitivity, low noise VGA sensor operating up to 60FPS
image processor for Automotive and Surveillance   ·  Visible and near infrared sensitivity
    · Operation up to 105ºC
    ·  Ultra-compact automotive package
    ·  Advanced defect correction with built-in temperature sensor
    ·  Embedded ISP with programmable automatic exposure and white balance
    ·  Optical alignment pixel with crop and zoom to native resolution
    ·  4Kb OTP for sensor initialization, module storage, and overlay setting
    · Multi-color static overlay engine

 

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Product

 

Features

QVGA Ultra-Low Power CMOS Color Image System for Machine   · High sensitivity, low noise 1/11” 320x320 image area
Vision and Detection   · Under 2.5mW at QVGA 30fps and 1mW at QQVGA 15fps
    · Embedded auto-exposure and motion detection
    · NeoPac and CSP package
    · Parallel 8bits, 4bits and 1bit data output
     
VGA Ultra-Low Power CMOS Color Image System for Machine   · High sensitivity, low noise 1/6” 640x480 image area
Vision and Detection   ·  Operates approximately 7mA VGA 60FPS to 140µA in QVGA 2FPS mode
    · Provide high accurate motion detection
    · Pre-metered exposure provides well exposed first frame and after extended sleep (blanking) period
    ·  Automatic wake and sleep operation with programmable event interrupt to host processor
    ·  Parallel 8bits and 1-Lane MIPI CSI2 interface

 

Wafer Level Optics Products

 

Wafer level optics are optical products manufactured using semiconductor process on wafers. This innovative approach enables wafer level optics to manufacture micro/nano optics structure and high temperature resistance, making the compatible Surface-Mount Technology or SMT reflow process possible. We offer entire optical solutions for customers who need compact and easy-to-handle optical products on their electronic devices.

 

Combining traditional optical lens design, precise mold control and semiconductor manufacturing expertise, our WLO lens with integrated waveguide, refractive optics and diffractive optical element (DOE) is the best solution for next generation computational imaging module for 2D/3D illumination and 3D dot projector, which can be applied to 3D face recognition, 3D sensing, 3D reconstruction, and gesture control. With the innovative process and specific structure, our wafer level optics products provide small form factor and compact module size to be easily integrated into consumer products such as smartphones, AR/VR devices, and other mobile devices.

 

Our WLO technology is also adapted to form microstructure such as lens array, DOE and lenticular lens for advanced applications in digital and computational imaging fields. These technologies stand in a unique position to integral optical design, semiconductor manufacturing process, and compact packaging service, which are rarely covered by one single company. Deeply rooted in core wafer level optics technologies, we provide highly customized optical solutions and high-volume manufacturing to many tier 1 customers in the AR/VR, mobile device and wearable front.

 

Our WLO business hit inflection in the middle of 2017 when we began mass shipment to an anchor customer. The overall 2018 shipment increased considerably year-over-year because of the customer’s large-scale adoption in more models. In 2019, we continued the strong shipment momentum from 2018 to fulfill on anchor customer’s higher demand with a significant year-over-year increase. Himax’s WLO business in terms of shipment volume has been largely dependent on one anchor customer for the past 30 months. We continue to make progress with our ongoing R&D projects for next generation products centered around our exceptional design know-how and mass production expertise in WLO technology.

 

The following table sets forth the features of our wafer level optics products:

 

Product   Features
Refractive Optical Lens   · for Micro Lens Array (MLA) illumination diffuser, lighting control, flux illumination lens, collimation lens, and compact size camera lens
    · provide multi-layer solution including optical AR coating, IR-cutting filter coating, aspheric surface
    · double-side manufacture process
    · already in mass production

 

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Diffractive Optical Element (DOE)   ·  computational imaging, flux illumination, dot projector for 3D sensing, 3D reconstruction, gesture and illumination control
    ·  using WLO process to integral multi-layers DOE and refractive lens
    · provide customized solution for specific application
    ·  the smallest form factor and reflowable component
    · eye safety detect circuit embedded
     
Diffuser element for flood illumination and TOF   · using WLO process to integral multi-layers DOE technology
    ·  the smallest form factor and reflowable component
    ·  eye safety detect circuit embedded
   

Near Infrared (NIR) Projector Module

 

  · dot projector module solution for computer vision, 3D sensing, 3D reconstruction, gesture and illumination control
    ·  integral NIR Laser (830/850/940nm), optical system (refractive+ diffractive lens) and high precise active alignment assembly solution to provide the smallest form factor
    · module design for smartphone and other mobile devices
    ·  provide customized module solution for different application
    ·  the smallest form factor and reflowable device
    ·  including active eye safety solution (Class-1)
     
Flood illumination Module   ·  provide customized solution for specific application integral NIR Laser (830/850/940nm), and high precise active alignment assembly solution
  ·  module design for smartphone and other mobile devices
    ·  the smallest form factor and reflowable device
    · including active eye safety solution (Class-1)

 

3D Sensing Business

 

We continue to participate in most of the smartphone OEMs’ ongoing 3D sensing projects covering structured light and time-of-flight (ToF). However, in 2018, our structured light-based 3D sensing total solution targeting Android smartphone’s front-facing application was unsuccessful due to the high hardware cost of 3D sensing, the long development lead time required to integrate it into the smartphone and the lack of killer applications which is limited to phone unlock and online payment. Instead of 3D sensing, most of the Android phone makers have chosen the lower cost finger print technology which can achieve similar phone unlock and online payment functions with somewhat compromised user experience.

 

Being a leading provider of 3D sensing technology, Himax is also an active participant in smartphone OEMs’ design projects for new devices involving ToF technology. We are seeing increasing ToF adoption by smartphone makers for world-facing cameras to enable advanced photography, distance/dimension measurement and 3D depth information generation for AR. Unlike structured light 3D sensing where we provide total solution or just projector module or optics depending on customers’ needs, with ToF, we will only focus on transmitter module by leveraging our WLO related expertise. In the past few months, we have been actively working with an industry leading ToF 3D camera vendor to develop a new and advanced ToF solution, targeting Android smartphones. Leveraging on our WLO technology, we have made great progress providing the partner with spot projector for their reference design which will be ready for leading Android smartphone makers’ evaluation as soon as first quarter of 2020.

 

We reported at second quarter 2019 earnings call on August 7, we have adjusted our structured light-based 3D sensing technology development to focus on applications for non-smartphone segments which are typically less sensitive to cost and always require a total solution.

 

3D sensing can have a wide range of applications beyond smartphone. We have started to explore business opportunities in various industries by leveraging our structured light 3D sensing total solution. Such industries are typically less sensitive to cost and always require a total solution. Our current non-smartphone 3D-sensing engagements have focused on smart door lock and industrial automation segments where we provide structured light-based 3D sensing total solution. We have been collaborating closely mainly with two types of partners: those with industry-leading expertise in facial recognition algorithm and those offering application processors with strong AI capability. We have started design-in projects with several smart door lock end customers. Separately, as we previously mentioned, we are working with partners who wish to take advantage of our 3D sensing know-how to achieve efficiency improvement and cost reduction in traditional manufacturing. One market opportunity we are pursuing is shoe factory automation. The prototypes of 3D sensing enabled automatic robotic cementing system are available now for production optimization testing.

 

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Our critical 3D sensing Technologies include the followings.

 

Wafer Level Optics Products

 

WLO is one of the key technologies enabling 3D sensing, AR goggle devices, and many other applications. At present, 3D sensing is the top priority of our WLO business. Levering on our exceptional design know-how and mass production experience in WLO technology, we are able to produce the world’s most compact optics required of 3D sensing while achieving superior performance and lower costs.

 

ASIC

 

One of the critical elements of our 3D sensing total solution is an ASIC for 3D depth map generation. We are able to develop the ASIC thanks to our unique in-house capability in developing video ASICs for customers. Equipped with the ASIC, our 3D sensing total solution can substantially reduce the power consumed while processing 3D sensing, enhance personal data security, accelerate the 3D depth map generation, and provide the superior depth data output match with our optical component. We view this unique capability as a significant competitive advantage. It has been and will continue to be one of our key drivers in the success of our 3D sensing total solution.

 

Active Alignment

 

With much experience in optical assembly for AR and VR devices, our factory has developed a system to do active alignment for tiny components. From the incoming quality check, assembly process, and testing, all steps are monitored and checked. The precision assembly capability gives us a very good foundation to do the optical assembly for DOE, WLO, and laser.

 

Laser Driver

 

Based on our expertise in projector, optics, and driver, we have designed a special Glass Broken Detection (“GBD”) mechanism on our projector. With the support from laser driver, it can cease the laser to prevent users from being exposed to higher power laser energy.

 

The following table sets forth the features of our SLiMTM 3D sensing total solutions:

 

Product   Features
SLiMTM 3D sensing total solution   · Dot projector: More than 33,000 invisible dots, the highest in the industry, projected onto object to build the most sophisticated 3D depth map among all structured light solutions
    · Depth map accuracy: Error rate of < 0.5% within the entire operation range of 30cm-100cm
    · Face recognition: Enabled by the most sophisticated 3D depth data to build unique facial map that can be used for instant unlock and secure online payment
    ·  Indoor/outdoor sensitivity: Superior sensing capability even under total darkness or bright sunlight
    ·  Eye safety: Certified for IEC 60825 Class 1, the international laser product standard which governs laser product safety under all conditions of normal use with naked eyes
    · Glass broken detection: Patented glass broken detection mechanism in the dot projector whereby laser is shut down instantaneously in the event of broken glass in the projector
    · Power consumption: Less than 400mW for projector, sensor and depth decoding combined, making it the lowest power consuming 3D sensing device by far among all structured light solutions
    · Module size: the smallest structured light solution in the market, ideal for embedded and mobile device integration

 

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Ultra-low power smart sensing

 

The demand for always-on battery-powered smart devices with AI intelligent sensing is rapidly growing. By combining an ultra-low-power image sensor with a custom computer vision ASIC and machine-learning algorithms, Himax WiseEye® is helping to enrich connected devices with AI. With an always-on camera optimized algorithm performance, the system consumes less than 1mW and is leading the industry in next-generation, battery operated, clever visual sensors. The WiseEye total solution is also being evaluated in variety of applications, security, smart building, industrial and automotive are only few. Currently laptop is the market of focus. Himax WiseEye 2.0 NB solution provides a ‘laptop-ready’ 3-in-1 RGB/IR/AI solution, respecting privacy while enhancing security for notebook users. At the CES 2020, several leading notebook OEMs and ODMs demonstrated our WiseEye NB solution in their next generation premium notebooks with positive feedback.

 

In addition to notebook, we have also made progress in the displays and IoT markets. Innolux, one of the world's leading manufacturers of TFT-LCD displays, has integrated the Himax-Emza WiseEye solution into displays to enable consumer privacy protection in real time. Chicony, one of the largest ODMs in the world, and Emza jointly announced a reference design of the world’s first battery-powered human sensing solution for IoT in December 2019. Both Innolux and Chicony showcased their products at the CES. Except for providing total solution, Himax is also able to offer ultra-low power smart sensing on the basis of individual parts so as to address the market’s different needs and maximize the potential opportunities for Himax.

 

The following table sets forth the features of our ultra-low power smart sensing - WiseEye total solutions:

 

Product   Features
        WiseEye ULP AI based total solution   · Ideal for battery operated devices enables always on mode of operation supporting both continuous operation and periodic wakeup mode, enabling long battery life
    · Total solution supports use of a variety of Himax CMOS image sensors – HM01B1 qVGA, HM0369 VGA and HM11B1 RGB/IR/AI hybrid sensor. Uniquely designed for ULP Computer Vision applications with always on scanning as low as 100uW.
    · ULP CV MCU: WiseEye 1 ASIC a unique ULP computer vision processing silicon that is targeting always on applications with a sub 1mW capabilities. Processing at the edge: motion detection, human detection and face detection.
    · Emza computer vision algorithms, a lean machine learning framework. Sensor is trainable for desired use cases (human full body, human upper body, face). Works on ultra-low compute resources platform (CPU clock, internal memory)
    · Total solution support Zoning capabilities and ignores events in non-relevant space.

 

Himax’s proprietary computer vision processor, WiseEye WE-I Plus, is an AI-enabled ASIC platform solution. It can support popular machine learning frameworks, such as Google Tensor Flow lite, for the system customer to develop a wide range of video and audio AI applications where power is a strict constraint and on-device memory is limited. Typical applications include smart home applications and surveillance systems. Besides from providing edge AI ASIC platform solutions to end customers to build their own solutions, WiseEye WE-I Plus ASIC also work with some first-tier voice and image algorithm solution venders and system integration vendors to build up ECO system to provide turn-key solutions. There are four target markets in which we already have established the total solutions and work with some brand name companies, including AI TV, Smart Air conditioner, Smart door lock and Smart Surveillance.

 

The following table sets forth the features of our WiseEye WE-I Plus ASIC product:

 

Product   Features
         WiseEye WE-I Plus ASIC   · Ultra-low power consumption: 40 uW/MHz
    · Support image, voice trigger simultaneously to wake up system
    · Optimized multi-layer power states for always-on applications
    · Ready-for- use software package and Machine Learning Library, including device driver, SDK and embARC Machine Learning Inference Library to support Google TensorFlow Lite Micro framework
    · ARC-EM9D 32-bit DSP: Frequency up to 400MHz,
    · Memory: Up to 2MByte SRAM
    · High performance pixel processing accelerator and JPEG codec
    · Security Engine: Support secure boot, secure FW update, secure debug mode, Support AES 128bits, RSA 2048bits, Hash-256, TRNG, Secure key management
    · Peripheral: 1/4/8-bit camera interface, I2C/SPI master/slave, UART, PWM, GPIO with 5 wake-up pins, 12-bit ADC with 4 channels, up to 1Msps, RTC Timer

 

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Core Technologies and Know-How

 

Driving System Technology. Through our collaboration with panel manufacturers, we have developed extensive knowledge of circuit design, TFT-LCD driving systems, high-voltage processes and display systems, all of which are important to the design of high-performance TFT-LCD display drivers. Our engineers have in-depth knowledge of the driving system technology, which is the architecture for the interaction between the source driver, gate driver, timing controller and power systems as well as other passive components. We believe that our understanding of the entire driving system has strengthened our design capabilities. Our engineers are highly skilled in designing power efficient and compact display drivers that enhance the performance of TFT-LCD. We are leveraging our know-how of display drivers and driving system technology to develop display drivers for panels utilizing other technologies such as OLED.

 

High-Voltage CMOS Circuit Design. Unlike most other semiconductors, TFT-LCD display drivers require a high output voltage of 3.3 to 50 volts. We have developed circuit design technologies using a high-voltage CMOS process that enables us to produce high-yield, reliable and compact drivers for high-volume applications. Moreover, our technologies enable us to keep the driving voltage at very high uniformity, which can be difficult to achieve when using standard CMOS process technology.

 

3D Technologies. Several technologies in Himax are integrated together to form our 3D solution. First, wafer level imprinted technology is used to design and manufacture DOE and WLO. Then, our in-house capability on semiconductor enable us to design IC particularly match our optical component. Our expertise in precision assembly in optics also help us to provide a more complete solution to our customers.

 

High-Bandwidth Interfaces. In addition to high-voltage circuit design, TFT-LCD display drivers require high bandwidth transmission for video signals. We have applied several high-speed interfaces, including transistor-transistor logic (“TTL”), Reduced Swing Differential Signaling (“RSDS”), mini low-voltage differential signaling (“LVDS”), dual-edge TTL (“DETTL”), turbo Reduced Swing Differential Signaling (“RSDS”), Mobile Industry Processor Interface (“MIPI”) and other customized interfaces in our display drivers. Moreover, we are developing additional driver interfaces for special applications with optimized speed, lower EMI and higher system stability.

 

Die Shrink and LowPower Technologies. Our engineers are highly skilled in employing their knowledge of driving technology and high-voltage CMOS circuit design to shrink the die size of our display drivers while leveraging their understanding of driving technology and panel characteristics to design display drivers with low power consumption. Die size is an important consideration for applications with size constraints. Smaller die size also reduces the cost of the chip. Lower power consumption is important for many portable devices such as notebook computers, mobile handsets and consumer electronics products.

 

Customers

 

Our customers for display drivers are primarily panel manufacturers and mobile device module manufacturers, who in turn design and market their products to manufacturers of end-use products such as notebook computers, desktop monitors, televisions, mobile handsets and consumer electronics products. We may sell our products through agents or distributors for certain products or in certain regions. As of December 31, 2019, we sold our products to more than 200 customers. Our ten largest customers together accounted for approximately 74.6% and 75.6% of our revenues in 2018 and 2019, respectively. In 2018 and 2019, our two largest customers accounted for 10% or more of our net revenue: customer A and its affiliates accounted for 28.1% and 29.5% of our revenues, respectively; customer B and its affiliates accounted for 12.6% and 8.9% of our revenues, respectively.

 

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Certain of our customers provide us with a long-term (twelve-month) forecast plus three-month rolling non-binding forecasts and confirm orders about one month ahead of scheduled delivery. In general, purchase orders are not cancellable by either party, although from time to time we and our customers have agreed to amend the terms of such orders.

 

As a semiconductor company, we are not immune to a customer’s supplier decision which can work in or against our favor. We were informed of a product replacement decision by the anchor customer after our fourth quarter 2018 earnings call on February 19, 2019. Foreseeing that WLO shipment volume in 2019 would decline significantly starting from the third quarter, we disclosed the information in our 20-F filing in March 2019. The filing also warned of the additional negative impact the anticipated volume fall-off would cause to our 2019 margin and profitability as the substantial cut-back of WLO fab capacity utilization would lead to higher equipment depreciation and fab overhead on a per unit basis. As it turned out, we have been notified by the anchor customer of their new decision. Contrary to our earlier warning, our second half 2019 WLO shipment increased significantly to a scale higher than that of the same period last year. We believe the customer’s earlier replacement decision was a normal occurrence in the semiconductor industry and are pleased that its new decision has removed the concerns on the short-term impact over the revenue and profitability of our WLO business. Regardless, we believe such incidents would not affect our long-term partnership with the anchor customer. We continue to make progress with our ongoing R&D projects for next generation products centered around our exceptional design know-how and mass production expertise in WLO technology.

 

Sales and Marketing

 

We focus our sales and marketing strategy on establishing business and technology relationships principally with TFT-LCD panel manufacturers, panel manufacturers using LTPS or OLED, or Oxide technologies, mobile display module and mobile device manufacturers and camera module houses in order to work closely with them on future semiconductor solutions that align with their product road maps. Our engineers collaborate with our customers’ engineers to create products that comply with their specifications and provide a high level of performance at competitive prices and also create customized features for end brand customers. Our end market for large-sized panels is concentrated among a limited number of major panel manufacturers. We also market our products directly to monitor, notebook and mobile device manufacturers so that our products can be qualified for their specifications and designed into their products. Furthermore, we extend our business development with system and ODM companies by using strategic ASIC business model to not only develop ASIC product based on customer specification but also jointly research and develop new technologies to meet customers' future product demand. Additionally, we will form a strategic partnership with tier-1 customers for our LCOS microdisplays to penetrate into an emerging market. We believe we need this close relationship with our customers to create a new application eco system.

 

We primarily sell our products through our direct sales teams located in Taiwan, China, South Korea and Japan. We also have dedicated sales teams for certain of our most important current or prospective customers. We have offices in Tainan, Hsinchu, Taipei, Taiwan; and Shenzen and Suzhou, China. We have other sales and technical support offices in Hefei, Beijing, Shanghai, Fuzhou, Foshan, Fuqing, Ningbo, Wuhan, Chongqing, Chengdu, Xi’an and Xiamen, China; Tokyo, Japan; Asan-si and Bundang-gu, South Korea; Givatayim, Israel; and Irvine and Campbell, California and Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, all in close proximity to our customers. For certain products or regions, we may sell our products through agents or distributors.

 

Our sales and marketing team possesses a high level of technical expertise and industry knowledge used to support a lengthy and complex sales process. This includes a highly trained team of product managers and field applications engineers. Our team is equipped with extensive strategic marketing experience and a strong capability to identify market trends. We also provide technical support and assistance to potential and existing customers in system/SoC architecture, designing, testing and qualifying display modules, camera modules and end application systems that incorporate our products and ASICs. We believe that the depth and quality of this design support are key to improving customers’ time-to-market and maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction.

 

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Manufacturing

 

We operate primarily in a fabless business model that utilizes substantially third-party foundry and assembly and testing capabilities. We leverage our experience and engineering expertise to design high-performance semiconductors and rely on semiconductor manufacturing service providers for wafer fabrication, gold bumping, assembly and testing. We also rely largely on third-party suppliers of processed tape used in TAB packaging. We engage foundries with high-voltage CMOS process technology for our display drivers and engage assembly and testing houses that specialize in TAB and COG packages, thereby taking advantage of the economies of scale and the specialization of such semiconductor manufacturing service providers. Our primarily fabless model enables us to capture certain financial and operational benefits, including reduced manufacturing personnel, capital expenditures, fixed assets and fixed costs. It also gives us the flexibility to use the technology and service providers that are the most suitable for any given product.

 

We operate a fab under Himax Display primarily for performing manufacturing processes for our LCOS microdisplays. Moreover, for better integration, we also established an in-house color filter facility under Himax Taiwan, which commenced shipments from 2010. This in-house facility provides color filter for CMOS image sensor products with over 50 million optics shipment record to tier-1 customers and LCOS products. The color filter line is a critical and unique process for our proprietary single-panel color LCOS microdisplays. An in-house color filter facility enhances the competitiveness of our LCOS products and creates value for our customers. In addition, we have established an in-house WLO facility under Himax Taiwan for the key process of our wafer level optics products, which commenced small-scale shipments in December 2009. We began construction of our new building, Fab 2, in March 2017, located nearby the current headquarters to house additional WLO capacity, the new active alignment equipment needed for our 3D sensing business and to provide extra office space. The construction of Fab 2 was completed in the first half of 2018.

 

Manufacturing Stages

 

The diagram below sets forth the various stages in manufacturing display drivers according to the two different types of assembly utilized: TAB or COG. The assembly type depends primarily on the application and design of the panel and is determined by our customers.

 

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Wafer Fabrication: Based on our design, the foundry provides us with fabricated wafers. Each fabricated wafer contains many chips, each known as a die.

 

Gold Bumping: After the wafers are fabricated, they are delivered to gold bumping houses where gold bumps are plated on each wafer. The gold bumping process uses thin film metal deposition, photolithography and electrical plating technologies. The gold bumps are plated onto each wafer to connect the die to the processed tape, in the case of TAB package, or the glass, in the case of COG package.

 

Chip Probe Testing: Each die is electrically tested, or probed, for defects. Dies that fail this test are discarded.

 

Assembly and Testing: Our display drivers use two types of assembly technology: TAB or COG. Display drivers for large-sized applications typically require TAB package types and to a lesser extent COG package types, whereas display drivers for mobile handsets and consumer electronics products typically require COG package types.

 

TAB Assembly

 

We use two types of TAB technologies: TCP and COF. TCP and COF packages are both made of processed tape that is typically 35mm or 48mm wide, plated with copper foil and has a circuit formed within it. TCP and COF packages differ, however, in terms of their chip connections. With TCP packages, a hole is punched through the processed tape in the area of the chip, which is connected to a flying lead made of copper. By contrast, with COF packages, the lead is mounted directly on the processed tape and there is no flying lead. In recent years, COF packages have become predominantly used in TAB technology.

 

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·Inner-Lead Bonding: The TCP and COF assembly process involves grinding the bumped wafers into their required thickness and cutting the wafers into individual dies, or chips. An inner lead bonder machine connects the chip to the printed circuit processed tape and the package is sealed with resin at high temperatures.

 

·Final Testing: The assembled display drivers are tested to ensure that they meet performance specifications. Testing takes place on specialized equipment using software customized for each product.

 

COG Assembly

 

COG assembly connects display drivers directly to LCD panels without the need for processed tape. COG assembly involves grinding the tested wafers into their required thickness and cutting the wafers into individual dies, or chips. Each individual die is picked and placed into a chip tray and is then visually or auto-inspected for defects. The dies are packed within a tray in an aluminum bag after completion of the inspection process.

 

Quality Assurance

 

We maintain a comprehensive quality assurance system. Using a variety of methods, from conducting rigorous simulations during the circuit design process to evaluating supplier performance at various stages of our products’ manufacturing process, we seek to bring about improvements and achieve customer satisfaction. In addition to monitoring customer satisfaction through regular reviews, we implement extensive supplier quality controls so that the products we outsource achieve our high standards. Prior to engaging a third party as our supplier, we perform a series of audits on their operations, and upon engagement, we hold frequent quality assurance meetings with our suppliers to evaluate such factors as product quality, production costs, technological sophistication and timely delivery.

 

In November 2002, we received ISO 9001 certification, which was renewed in February 2018 and will expire in February 2021. In February 2006, we received ISO 14001 certification, which was renewed in December 2017 and will expire in December 2020. In addition, in March 2007, we received IECQ QC 080000 certification, which was renewed in February 2019 and will expire in March 2022.

 

Environmental Management System and Safety and Health Management System

 

Himax follows closely the global environmental trends, including energy saving and waste reduction, in its daily operations. The Company is certified in accordance with ISO14001, OHSAS18001 and ISO14064.

 

Himax is a leader in its sector when it comes to the environment and safety, operating under measures much more stringent than domestic regulations. The Company aims to grow sustainably, delivering economic, social and environmental benefits with its healthy employees.

 

Himax has also been tirelessly reducing impacts to the environment and improving safety in its operations, specifically targeting product design and waste handling.

 

Semiconductor Manufacturing Service Providers and Suppliers

 

Through our relationships with leading foundries, assembly, gold bumping and testing houses and processed tape suppliers, we believe we have established a supply chain that enables us to deliver high-quality products to our customers in a timely manner.

 

Access to semiconductor manufacturing service providers is critical as display drivers require high-voltage CMOS process technology and specialized assembly and testing services, all of which are different from industry standards. We have obtained our foundry services from TSMC, Vanguard, Macronix, Globalfoundries Singapore, SMIC and PSMC in the past few years and have also established relationships with UMC, Nexchip and SKHYSI. These are among a select number of semiconductor manufacturers that provide high-voltage CMOS process technology required for manufacturing display drivers. We engage assembly and testing houses that specialize in TAB and COG packages such as Chipbond, Chipmore International trading company Ltd., ChipMOS Technologies Inc., Nepes Corporation and King Yuan Electronics Co., Ltd.

 

We plan to strengthen our relationships with our existing semiconductor manufacturing service providers and diversify our network of such service providers in order to ensure access to sufficient cost-competitive and high-quality manufacturing capacity. We are selective in our choice of semiconductor manufacturing service providers. It takes a substantial amount of time to qualify alternative foundries, gold bumping, assembly and testing houses for production. As a result, we expect that we will continue to rely on a limited number of semiconductor manufacturing service providers for a substantial portion of our manufacturing requirements in the near future.

 

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The table below sets forth (in alphabetical order) our principal semiconductor manufacturing service providers and suppliers:

 

Wafer Fabrication

 

Gold Bumping

Globalfoundries Singapore Pte., Ltd.   Chipbond Technology Corporation
Macronix International Co., Ltd.   Chipmore International Trading Company Ltd.

Nexchip Semiconductor Corporation

Powerchip Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp.

 

ChipMOS Technologies Inc.

LB Semicon, Inc.

Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation   Nepes Corporation
SK hynix system ic   Union Semiconductor Co., Ltd.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited    
United Microelectronics Corporation    
Vanguard International Semiconductor Corporation    
     

Processed Tape for TAB Packaging

 

Assembly and Testing

JMC Electronics Co., Ltd.   Ardentec Corporation

LG Innotek Co., Ltd.

 

Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc.

Stemco., Ltd.   Chipbond Technology Corporation
Chipbond Technology Corporation   Chipmore International Trading Company Ltd.
    ChipMOS Technologies Inc.
    Global Testing Corporation
    Greatek Electronics Inc.
    Jiangsu Changjiang Electronics Technology Co., Ltd.
    King Yuan Electronics Co., Ltd.
    Micro Silicon Electronics Corp.
    Nepes Corporation
    Orient Semiconductor Electronics Ltd.
    Taiwan IC Packaging Corporation
    LB Lusem Co., Ltd.
    Union Semiconductor Co., Ltd.
     
Chip Probe Testing                         
Ardentec Corporation    
Chipbond Technology Corporation    
Chipmore International Trading Company Ltd.    
ChipMOS Technologies Inc.    
Global Testing Corporation    

Greatek Electronics Inc.

King Yuan Electronics Co., Ltd.

   
Micro Silicon Electronics Corp.    

Nepes Corporation

LB Semicon, Inc.

Union Semiconductor Co., Ltd.

   

 

Intellectual Property

 

As of February 29, 2020, we held a total of 2,918 patents, including 1,374 in Taiwan, 892 in the United States, 567 in China, and 85 in other countries. The expiration dates of our patents range from 2020 to 2039. We also have a total of 112 pending patent applications in Taiwan, 160 in the United States and 311 in other jurisdictions, including the PRC, Japan, Korea and Europe. In addition, we have registered “Himax and logo” as trademarks in Taiwan, China, Europe, Singapore, Korea, Japan and the United States, as well as “EMZA VISUAL SENSE and logo” and “WISEEYE” as trademarks in Israel and the United States.

 

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Competition

 

The markets for our products are, in general, intensely competitive, characterized by continuous technological change, evolving industry standards, and declining average selling prices. We believe key factors that differentiate the competition in our industry include:

 

·customer relations;

 

·product performance;

 

·design customization;

 

·development time;

 

·product integration;

 

·technical services;

 

·manufacturing costs;

 

·supply chain management;

 

·timely delivery;

 

·economies of scale; and

 

·broad product portfolio.

 

We continually face intense competition from fabless display driver companies, including Fitipower Integrated Technology, Inc., FocalTech Systems Co., Ltd., Novatek Microelectronics Corp., Raydium Semiconductor Corporation, Sitronix Technology Co., Ltd., Silicon Works Co. Ltd., ESWIN, Chipone, Newvision,R DJ, Hisilicon and Synaptics Incorporated. We also face competition from integrated device manufacturers, such as Rohm Co., Ltd.

 

Many of our competitors, some of whom are affiliated or have established relationships with other panel manufacturers, have longer operating histories, greater brand recognition and significantly greater financial, manufacturing, technological, sales and marketing, human and other resources than we do. Additionally, we expect that as the flat panel semiconductor industry expands, more companies may enter and compete in our markets.

 

For In-cell TDDI, we compete with Novatek Microelectronics Cop., Synaptics Inc., Focaltech System Co., Ltd., and Ilitek Corp.

 

For LCOS microdisplay products, we face competition from OmniVision, Jasper, Citizen, Syndiant, Kopin, Compound Photonics and RAONTECH. We also compete with alternative microdsiplay technology providers such as Texas Instruments with DLP, Sony with Micro OLED and Bosch with scanning mirror.

 

For power ICs, we face competition from Taiwan companies including Richtek Technology Corp., Global Mixed-mode Technology Inc., Novatek Microelectronics Corp., Fitipower Integrated Technology Inc. We also compete with worldwide suppliers such as Silergy Corp., and Rohm Co., Ltd.

 

For CMOS image sensor products, our focus is on machine vision. Competition in this space is primarily from OmniVision Technologies Inc. and Sony Corporation.

 

For wafer level optics products, we face competition primarily from Heptagon that was acquired by ams AG.

 

For 3D sensing, Himax is one of the few companies that can provide the one-stop solution though there are more companies attempting to jump into the game. ams AG will be the main competitor we face in the worldwide.

 

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For ultra-low power smart sensing WiseEye total solution. The main competition is Qualcomm with its “Glance” device. Few additional small size companies develop AI base edge devise. However, Himax is the only vendor who can offer a truly in-house vertically integrated solution comprise with all three building blocks required by customers: CMOS sensor, purposely designed MCU and the AI algorithm.

 

Insurance

 

We maintain insurance policies on our buildings, equipment and inventories covering property damage and damage due to, among other events, fires, typhoons, earthquakes and floods. We maintain these insurance policies on our facilities and on transit of inventories. Additionally, we maintain director and officer liability insurance. We do not have insurance for business interruptions, nor do we have key person insurance.

 

Environmental Matters

 

Himax is required to ensure its products and is obligated to comply with valid regulations and governmental authorities’ regulatory directives in applicable jurisdictions on topic of Environmental Protection. Additionally, Himax Taiwan maintains a color filter facility and a wafer level optics facility and Himax Display maintains a facility for our LCOS products as well as Himax IGI operates under the designated facility related for 3D mask production, where we have taken the necessary steps to obtain the appropriate permits and believe that we are in compliance with the existing environmental laws and regulations in the ROC and US jurisdiction applicable. In addition, we have entered into various agreements with certain customers whereby we have agreed to indemnify them, and in certain cases, their customers, for any claims made against them for hazardous material violations that are found in our products.

 

4.C. Organizational Structure

 

The following chart sets forth our corporate structure and ownership interest in each of our principal operating subsidiaries and affiliates as of February 29, 2020.

 

 

 

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The following table sets forth summary information for our subsidiaries as of February 29, 2020.

 

Subsidiary  Main Activities  Jurisdiction of
Incorporation
  Percentage of
Our Ownership
Interest
 
Himax Technologies Limited  IC design and sales  ROC   100.0%
Himax Technologies Korea Ltd.  IC design and sales  South Korea   100.0%
Himax Technologies (Samoa), Inc.  Investments  Samoa   100.0%(1)
Himax Technologies (Suzhou) Co., Ltd.  Sales and technical support  PRC   100.0%(2)
Himax Technologies (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd.  Sales and technical support  PRC   100.0%(2)
Himax Display, Inc.  LCOS and MEMS design, manufacturing and sales  ROC   82.7%(1)
Integrated Microdisplays Limited  LCOS design  Hong Kong   82.7%(3)
Himax Display (USA) Inc.  LCOS and MEMS design, sales and technical support  Delaware, USA   82.7%(3)
Himax Analogic, Inc.  IC design and sales  ROC   98.6%(1)
Himax Imaging, Inc.  Investments  Cayman Islands   100.0%
Himax Imaging, Ltd.  IC design and sales  ROC   96.9%(1)
Himax Imaging Corp.  IC design  California, USA   96.9%(4)
Himax Media Solutions, Inc.  ASIC service  ROC   99.2%(1)
Harvest Investment Limited  Investments  ROC   100.0%(1)
Himax Technologies Japan Ltd.  Sales  Japan   100.0%
Himax Semiconductor (Hong Kong) Limited  Investments  Hong Kong   100.0%
Liqxtal Technology Inc.  LC Lens design and sales  ROC   64.0%(1)
Himax IGI Precision Ltd.  3D micro and nano structure mastering and prototype replication  Delaware, USA   100.0%(1)
Emza Visual Sense Ltd.  Visual sensors and efficient machine vision algorithm  Israel   100.0%(1)

 

 

(1) Indirectly, through our 100.0% ownership of Himax Technologies Limited.

 

(2) Indirectly, through our 100.0% ownership of Himax Technologies (Samoa), Inc.

 

(3) Indirectly, through our 82.7% ownership of Himax Display, Inc.

 

(4) Indirectly, through our 96.9% ownership of Himax Imaging, Ltd.

 

 

4.D. Property, Plants and Equipment

 

Our corporate headquarters are located at a 22,172 square meter facility within the Tree Valley Industrial Park in Tainan, Taiwan. We began construction of our new building, Fab 2, in March 2017, located nearby the current headquarters. The newly completed building, located at a 42,619 square meter facility, houses additional WLO capacity, the new active alignment equipment needed for our 3D sensing business and provide extra office space. The facilities house our research and development, engineering, sales and marketing, operations and general administrative staff.

 

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We also lease office space in Taipei and Hsinchu, Taiwan; Suzhou, Shenzhen, Foshan, Beijing, Shanghai, Ningbo, Wuhan, Hefei, Xiamen, Chongqing, China; Tokyo, Japan; Asan-si and Bundang-gu, South Korea; Givatayim, Israel; and Irvine and Campbell, California and Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. The lease contracts may be renewed upon expiration.

 

We have established under Himax Taiwan an in-house WLO facility for the key process of our products, with 1,171 square meters of floor space in a building leased from Innolux, which already produced and shipped over 50 million optics to tier-1 customer from 2010. We have also expanded certain facilities for LCOS and WLO products to accommodate new customers and new applications located at our headquarters in Tainan, Taiwan. In addition, Himax Taiwan owns and operates a fab with 1,431 square meters of floor space in a building leased from Innolux in Tainan, where it established an in-house color filter facility that commenced shipments from 2010. This in-house facility provides color filter for CMOS image sensor and LCOS products. The color filter line is a critical and unique process for our proprietary single-panel color LCOS microdisplays. An in-house color filter facility enhances the competitiveness of our color-filter LCOS microdisplays products and creates value for our customers.

 

ITEM 4A. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

 

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 5. OPERATING AND FINANCIAL REVIEW AND PROSPECTS

 

The following discussion should be read in conjunction with our audited consolidated financial statements and their accompanying notes included elsewhere herein which are prepared in accordance with IFRS.

 

5.A. Operating Results

 

For discussion related to our financial condition, changes in financial condition, and the results of operations for 2018 compared to 2017, refer to Part I, Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects, in our Annual Report on Form 20-F for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018, which was filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission on March 28, 2019.

 

Overview

 

We are a fabless semiconductor solution provider dedicated to display imaging processing technologies. We are a worldwide market leader in display driver ICs and timing controllers used in TVs, laptops, monitors, mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, car navigation, virtual reality (VR) devices and many other consumer electronics devices. Additionally, we design and provide controllers for touch sensor displays, in-cell Touch and Display Driver Integration (TDDI) single-chip solutions, LED driver ICs, power management ICs, and LCOS micro-displays for augmented reality (AR) devices and head-up displays (HUD) for automotive. We also offer digital camera solutions, including CMOS image sensors and wafer level optics for AR devices, 3D sensing and machine vision, ultra-low power smart sensing, which are used in a wide variety of applications such as mobile phone, tablet, laptop, TV, PC camera, automobile, security, medical devices, home appliance and Internet of Things. For display drivers and display-related products, our customers are panel manufacturers, agents or distributors, module manufacturers and assembly houses. We also work with camera module manufacturers, optical engine manufacturers, and television system manufacturers for various non-driver products.

 

We commenced operations through our predecessor, Himax Taiwan, in June 2001. We must, among other things, continue to expand and diversify our customer base, broaden our product portfolio, maintain our leading technology position, achieve additional design wins and manage our costs to partially mitigate declining average selling prices and any other market risks in order to maintain our profitability. Moreover, we must continue to address the challenges of being a growing technology company, including hiring and retaining managerial, engineering, operational and financial personnel and implementing and improving our existing administrative, financial and operations systems.

 

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We operate primarily in a fabless business model that utilizes substantially third-party foundry and assembly and testing capabilities. We leverage our experience and engineering expertise to design high-performance semiconductors and rely largely on third-party semiconductor manufacturing service providers for wafer fabrication, gold bumping, assembly and testing with the exception of manufacturing of LCOS microdisplay, wafer level optics products and active alignment for 3D sensing, which we manufacture through our own factories. We are able to take advantage of the economies of scale and the specialization of our third-party semiconductor manufacturing service providers. Our primarily fabless model enables us to capture certain financial and operational benefits, including reduced manufacturing personnel, capital expenditures, fixed assets and fixed costs. It also gives us the flexibility to use the technology and service providers that are the most suitable for any given product. For LCOS microdisplay and wafer level optics products, our in-house factories enable us to protect our proprietary technologies and manufacturing expertise in the effort to further expand these businesses.

 

As our semiconductors are critical components of flat panel displays, our industry is closely linked to the trends and developments of the flat panel display industry, in particular, the TFT-LCD panel segment. The majority of our revenues in 2019 were derived from sales of display drivers that were eventually incorporated into TFT-LCD panels. We expect display drivers for TFT-LCD panels to continue to be our primary products. The TFT-LCD panel industry is intensely competitive and is vulnerable to cyclical market conditions. The average selling prices of TFT-LCD panels could decline for numerous reasons, which could in turn result in downward pricing pressure on our products. See “Item 3.D. Key Information—Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Financial Condition and Business—We derive the majority of our net revenues from sales to the TFT-LCD panel industry, which is highly cyclical and subject to price fluctuations. Such cyclicality and price fluctuations could negatively impact our business or results of operations.” The revenue expansion of our non-driver products as well as TFT-LCD product trending toward high resolution and any other new product introduction help to mitigate these risks.

 

Factors Affecting Our Performance

 

Our business, financial position and results of operations, as well as the period-to-period comparability of our financial results, are significantly affected by a number of factors, some of which are beyond our control, including:

 

·average selling prices;

 

·unit shipments;

 

·product mix;

 

·design wins;

 

·cost of revenues and cost reductions;

 

·supply chain management;

 

·share-based compensation expenses; and

 

·tax credits.

 

Average Selling Prices

 

Our performance is affected by the selling prices of each of our products. We price our products based on several factors, including manufacturing costs, life cycle stage of the product, competition, technical complexity of the product, size of the purchase order and our relationship with the customer. We typically are able to charge the highest price for a product when it is first introduced. Although from time to time we are able to raise our selling prices during times of supply constraints, our average selling prices typically decline over a product’s life cycle, which may be offset by changes in conditions in the semiconductor industry such as constraints in foundry capacity. The general trend in the semiconductor industry is for the average selling prices of semiconductors to decline over a product’s life cycle due to competition, production efficiencies, emergence of substitutes and technological obsolescence. Our cost reduction efforts also contribute to this decline in average selling prices. See “—Cost of Revenues and Cost Reductions.”

 

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From 2011 to 2014, smartphone and tablet boom across the world created impressive demand of TFT-LCD panels. The phenomenal smartphone market growth naturally invited intense competition in the driver IC space, especially in the lower-end segments, resulting in severe ASP pressure. In the second half of 2015, over-supply issues happened to the large-sized TFT-LCD panel industry again. As high inventory level was built up in the first half of 2015 along with new capacity ramp from China panel makers, ASP pressure became intense as a result. In the first half of 2016, our large-sized display drivers suffered from another ASP erosion due to the oversupply in large-sized TFT-LCD panel industry. Large-sized display drivers and small and medium-sized panel driver business also experienced ASP erosion from 2017. In addition, our average selling prices are affected by the size and bargaining power of our customers. The merger of CMO, the predecessor of Innolux and TPO could negatively affect our ability to maintain, if not raise, our selling prices. In addition, as new China panel makers emerge in the marketplace and continue to expand their capacity, China panel makers’ bargaining power will increase accordingly, negatively impacting our average selling price. Our average selling prices are also affected by the packaging type our customers choose as well as the level of product integration. See “—Product Mix” below. Lastly, competition level affects our average selling prices as well. For example, as competitors have started to enter into the smartphone driver IC space and compete aggressively to get market share since the second quarter of 2012, average selling prices of smartphone driver IC for mid to low-end resolution have been under pressure since then. However, the impact of declining average selling prices on our profitability might be offset or mitigated to a certain extent by increased volume as lower prices may stimulate demand and thereby drive sales and TFT-LCD panel products trending toward higher resolution.

 

Unit Shipments

 

Our performance is also affected by the number of semiconductors we ship, or unit shipments. As our display drivers are critical components of flat panel displays, our unit shipments depend primarily on our customers’ panel shipments among other factors. Our unit shipments have grown since our inception primarily as a result of our increased market share with certain major customers and their increased shipments of panels. Our growth in unit shipments also reflected the demand for higher resolution panels which typically require more display drivers. However, the development of higher channel display drivers or new technologies, if successful, could potentially reduce the number of display drivers required for each panel while achieving the same resolution. If such technologies become commercially available, the market for our display drivers will be reduced and we could experience a decline in revenue and profit.

 

Product Mix

 

The proportion of our revenues that is generated from the sale of different product types, also referred to as product mix, also affects our average selling prices, revenues and profitability. Our display driver products vary depending on, among other things, the number of output channels, the level of integration and the package type. Variations in each of these specifications could affect the average selling prices of such products. For example, the trend for display drivers for use in large-sized panels is toward products with a higher number of channels, which typically command higher average selling prices than traditional products with a lower number of channels. However, panels that use higher-channel display drivers typically require fewer display drivers per panel. As a result, our profitability will be adversely affected to the extent that the decrease in the number of display drivers required for each panel is not offset by increased total unit shipments and/or higher average selling prices for display drivers with a higher number of channels. The level of integration of our display drivers also affects average selling prices, as more highly integrated chips typically have higher selling prices. Additionally, average selling prices are affected by changes in the package types used by our customers. For example, the chip-on-glass package type typically has lower material costs because no processed tape is required. Moreover, our different non-driver products vary in average selling prices and costs.

 

The proportion of non-driver business would also affect our financial position and results of operations. For the past three years, we have experienced operating losses from our non-driver business. This was partly due to low sales volume during these periods that led to insufficient revenue to fully cover expenses such as research and development and operating expenses. We expect, however, to ramp up the volume production and sales of our non-driver products in the future and generate positive operation income from such non-driver products. In addition, given that our non-driver products have higher gross margins and higher growth potential than our driver products, we expect the overall profit margin across our product platform to improve.

 

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Design Wins

 

Achieving design wins is important to our business, and it affects our unit shipments. Design wins occur when a customer incorporates our products into their product designs. There are numerous opportunities for design wins, including, but not limited to, when panel manufacturers:

 

·introduce new models to improve the cost and/or performance of their existing products or to expand their product portfolio;

 

·establish new fabs and seek to qualify existing or new component suppliers; and

 

·replace existing display driver companies due to cost or performance reasons.

 

Design wins are not binding commitments by customers to purchase our products. However, we believe that achieving design wins is an important performance indicator. Our customers typically devote substantial time and resources to designing their products as well as qualifying their component suppliers and their products. Once our products have been designed into a system, the customer may be reluctant to change its component suppliers due to the significant costs and time associated with qualifying a new supplier or a replacement component. Therefore, we strive to work closely with current and prospective customers in order to anticipate their requirements and product roadmaps and achieve additional design wins.

 

Cost of Revenues and Cost Reductions

 

We strive to control our cost of revenues. Our cost of revenues as a percentage of total revenues in 2017, 2018 and 2019 was 75.6%, 76.7% and 79.5%, respectively. In 2019, as a percentage of Himax Taiwan’s total manufacturing costs, the cost of wafer fabrication was 47.0%, the cost of processed tape was 12.8%, the cost of assembly and testing was 39.4%, and overhead was 0.8%. Our cost of revenues may increase as a result of an increase in raw material prices, any failure to obtain sufficient foundry, assembly or testing capacity or any shortage of processed tape or failure to improve our manufacturing utilization rate or production yield. As a result, our ability to manage our wafer fabrication costs, costs for processed tape, and assembly and testing costs is critical to our performance. In addition, to mitigate declining average selling prices, we aim to reduce unit costs by, among other things:

 

·improving product design (e.g., having smaller die size allows for a larger number of dies on each wafer, thereby reducing the cost of each die);

 

·improving manufacturing yields through our close collaboration with our semiconductor manufacturing service providers and in our in-house manufacturing facilities; and

 

·achieving better pricing from a diversified pool of semiconductor manufacturing service providers and suppliers, reflecting our ability to leverage our scale, volume requirements and close relationships as well as our strategy of sourcing from multiple service providers and suppliers.

 

Supply Chain Management

 

Due to the competitive nature of the flat panel display industry and our customers’ need to maintain high capacity utilization in order to reduce unit costs per panel, any delays in the delivery of our products could significantly disrupt our customers’ operations. To deliver our products on a timely basis and meet the quality standards and technical specifications our customers require, we must have assurances of high-quality capacity from our semiconductor manufacturing service providers. We therefore strive to manage our supply chain by maintaining close relationships with our key semiconductor manufacturing service providers and strive to provide credible forecasts of capacity demand and seek for new manufacturing service providers in case of any manufacturer’s capacity shortage. Any disruption to our supply chain could adversely affect our performance and could result in a loss of customers as well as potentially damage our reputation.

 

Share-Based Compensation Expenses

 

Our results of operations have been affected by, and we expect our results of operations to continue to be affected by, our share-based compensation expenses, which consist of charges taken relating to grants of mainly RSUs as well as stock options and non-vested shares to employees.

 

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Restricted Share Units (RSUs). We adopted two long-term incentive plans in October 2005 and September 2011, respectively, which permit the grant of options or RSUs to our employees and non-employees where each unit represents two ordinary shares. The actual awards will be determined by our compensation committee. The 2005 plan was terminated in October 2010. We recognized share-based compensation expenses regarding RSUs under the long-term incentive plan totaling $6.9 million, $4.1 million and $0.1 million in 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively. See “—Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates—Share-Based Compensation Expenses.” Of the total share-based compensation expenses recognized, $6.1 million, $3.8 million and nil in 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively, were settled in cash. We measure and recognize compensation expense for all share-based payments at fair value.

 

Set forth below is a summary of our historical share-based compensation plans for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019 as reflected in our consolidated financial statements. However, we did not grant RSUs in 2019 but granted stock options to employees instead.

 

We made grants of 1,219,791 RSUs to our employees on September 26, 2014. The vesting schedule for such RSU grants is as follows: 82.57% of the RSU grants vested immediately and were settled by cash in the amount of $9.3 million on the grant date, with the remainder vesting equally on each of September 30, 2015, 2016 and 2017, which will be settled by our ordinary shares, subject to certain forfeiture events.

 

We made grants of 597,596 RSUs to our employees on September 25, 2015. The vesting schedule for such RSU grants is as follows: 94.15% of the RSU grants vested immediately and were settled by cash in the amount of $4.5 million on the grant date, with the remainder vesting equally on each of September 30, 2016, 2017 and 2018, which will be settled by our ordinary shares, subject to certain forfeiture events.

 

We made grants of 1,208,785 RSUs to our employees on September 28, 2016. The vesting schedule for such RSU grants is as follows: 91.93% of the RSU grants vested immediately and were settled by cash in the amount of $9.2 million on the grant date, with the remainder vesting equally on each of September 30, 2017, 2018 and 2019, which will be settled by our ordinary shares, subject to certain forfeiture events.

 

We made grants of 580,235 RSUs to our employees on September 29, 2017. The vesting schedule for such RSU grants is as follows: 96.91% of the RSU grants vested immediately and were settled by cash in the amount of $6.1 million on the grant date, with the remainder vesting equally on each of September 30, 2018, 2019 and 2020, which will be settled by our ordinary shares, subject to certain forfeiture events.

 

We made grants of 676,273 RSUs to our employees on September 26, 2018. The vesting schedule for such RSU grants is as follows: 97.15% of the RSU grants vested immediately and were settled by cash in the amount of $3.8 million on the grant date, with the remainder vesting equally on each of September 30, 2019, 2020 and 2021, which will be settled by our ordinary shares, subject to certain forfeiture events.

 

The amount of share-based compensation expense with regard to the RSUs granted to our employees on September 26, 2014, September 25, 2015, September 28, 2016, September 29, 2017 and September 26, 2018 was $9.27 per ADS, $7.92 per ADS, $8.30 per ADS, $10.93 per ADS and $5.76 per ADS, respectively, which was based on the trading price of our ADSs on that day.

 

Employee stock options. We made grants of 2,226,690 units of stock option to purchase 2,226,690 units ADS to certain employees at an exercise price of $2.27 on September 30, 2019. The vesting schedule was that 50% of the options vest half year after the date of grant and 50% of the options vest one year after the date of grant. We recognized share-based compensation expenses regarding stock options under the long-term incentive plan totaling $0.3 million in 2019.

 

Tax Credits

 

Our results of operations have been affected by, and we expect our results of operations to continue to be affected by, tax credits available to us.

 

The Statute for Industrial Innovation entitles companies to tax credits for qualifying research and development expenses related to innovation activities but limits the amount of tax credit to only up to 15% of the total qualifying research and development expenditure for the current year, subject to a cap of 30% of the income tax payable for the current year. Moreover, any unused tax credits provided under the Statute for Industrial Innovation may not be carried forward.

 

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Based on the amendments to the above, effective from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2019, further extended to December 31, 2029, if companies choose to extend the tax credits to three years, the tax credit rate will be 10% of the total qualifying research and development expenditure for the current year and subject to a cap of 30% of the income tax payable for each year.

 

Description of Certain Statements of Profit or Loss Line Items

 

Revenues

 

Historically, we have generated revenues from sales of display drivers for large-sized applications, display drivers for mobile handsets and display drivers for consumer electronics products. In addition, our product portfolio includes operational amplifiers, timing controllers, touch controller ICs, LCOS microdisplay solutions, power management ICs, CMOS image sensors, 3D sensing solution, ultra-low power smart sensing, wafer level optics products, and ASIC service.

 

Revenues from large-sized application totaled $237.3 million in 2019, a decrease of 8.9% year-over-year, representing 35.3% of our total revenues, as compared to 36.0% in 2018. The year-over-year decrease was primarily from panel makers’ ongoing inventory correction driven by weak TV demand and industry-wide oversupply. Revenues from small and medium-sized applications totaled $307.4 million in 2019, a decrease of 5.6% year-over-year, representing 45.8% of our total revenues, as compared to 45.0% in 2018. Combing TDDI and traditional discrete smartphone driver, sales into mobile handsets application in this segment increased 2.4% in 2019 attributed to the TDDI shipment for smartphone close to double as our fulfillment was capped in 2018 by capacity constraint. In 2019, display drivers for consumer electronics applications decreased 9.8% mainly due to the decline of automotive business as automotive sales worldwide declined sharply since fourth quarter of 2018 over worries of economic slowdown and trade conflicts, as well as the decline of the tablet and other consumer electronics businesses. Revenues from non-driver products totaled $127.1 million in 2019, a decrease of 7.5% year-over-year, representing 18.9% of our total revenues, as compared to 19.0% a year ago.

 

The following table sets forth, for the periods indicated, our revenues by amount and our revenues as a percentage of revenues by each product line:

 

   Year Ended December 31, 
   2017   2018   2019 
   Amount   Percentage of
Revenues
   Amount   Percentage of
Revenues
   Amount   Percentage of
Revenues
 
   (in thousands, except percentages) 
Display drivers for large-sized applications  $224,798    32.8   $260,540    36.0   $237,276    35.3 
Display drivers for mobile handsets applications   113,591    16.6    112,221    15.5    114,956    17.1 
Display drivers for consumer electronics applications   191,458    27.9    213,497    29.5    192,495    28.7 
Non-driver products(1)   155,320    22.7    137,347    19.0    127,108    18.9 
Total   $685,167    100.0   $723,605    100.0   $671,835    100.0 

 

 

 

Note:(1) Includes, among other things, timing controllers, touch controller ICs, LCOS projector solutions, power management IC, CMOS image sensors, programmable gamma OP, wafer level optics (WLO) products, NRE incomes, and ASIC service.

 

A limited number of customers account for substantially all our revenues. For example, Customer A and its affiliates accounted for 25.8%, 28.1% and 29.5% of our revenues in 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively. Customer B and its affiliates accounted for 15.5%, 12.6% and 8.9% of our revenues in 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively.

 

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   Year Ended December 31, 
   2017   2018   2019 
   Amount   Percentage of
Revenues
   Amount   Percentage of
Revenues
   Amount   Percentage of
Revenues
 
   (in thousands, except percentages) 
Customer A and its affiliates  $176,728    25.8   $202,995    28.1   $198,430    29.5 
Customer B and its affiliates   106,380    15.5    90,844    12.6    59,781    8.9 
Others   402,059    58.7    429,766    59.3    413,624    61.6 
Total  $685,167    100.0   $723,605    100.0   $671,835    100.0 

 

The global TFT-LCD panel market is highly concentrated, with only a limited number of TFT-LCD panel manufacturers producing large-sized TFT-LCD panels in high volumes. We sell large-sized panel display drivers to many of these TFT-LCD panel manufacturers. Our revenues, therefore, will depend on our ability to capture an increasingly larger percentage of each panel manufacturer’s display driver requirements. The sales to panel makers in China have become a significant portion of our revenue due to the Chinese panel maker business expansion which started in 2011. We derive substantially all of our revenues from sales to Asia-based customers whose end products are sold worldwide. In 2017, 2018 and 2019, approximately 25.8%, 23.2% and 19.2% of our revenues, respectively, were from customers headquartered in Taiwan and approximately 61.5%, 66.4% and 70.3% of our revenues, respectively, were from customers headquartered in China. We believe that substantially all of our revenues will continue to be from customers located in Asia, where almost all of the TFT-LCD panel manufacturers and mobile device module manufacturers are located. As a result of the regional customer concentration, we expect to continue to be subject to economic and political events and other developments that affect our customers in Asia. A substantial majority of our sales invoices are denominated in U.S. dollars.

 

Costs and Expenses

 

Our costs and expenses consist of cost of revenues, research and development expenses, general and administrative expenses, sales and marketing expenses and share-based compensation expenses. Costs would be greatly affected by product mix.

 

Cost of Revenues

 

The principal items of our cost of revenues are:

 

·cost of wafer fabrication;

 

·cost of processed tape used in TAB packaging;

 

·cost of gold bumping, assembly and testing; and

 

·other costs and expenses.

 

We outsource the manufacturing of our semiconductors and semiconductor solutions to semiconductor manufacturing service providers. The costs of wafer fabrication, gold bumping, assembly and testing depend on the availability of capacity and demand for such services. The wafer fabrication industry, in particular, is highly cyclical, resulting in fluctuations in the price of processed wafers depending on the available foundry capacity and the demand for foundry services.

 

Research and Development Expenses

 

Research and development expenses consist primarily of research and development employee salaries, including related employee welfare costs, costs associated with prototype wafers, processed tape, masks, molding and tooling sets and depreciation on research and development equipment. We expect to continue increasing our spending on research and development in absolute dollar amounts in the future as we continue to increase our research and development headcount and associated costs to pursue additional product development opportunities. As a percentage of revenues, our research and development expenses in 2017, 2018 and 2019 were 17.2%, 17.0% and 17.1%, respectively.

 

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General and Administrative Expenses

 

General and administrative expenses consist primarily of salaries of general and administrative employees, including related employee welfare costs, depreciation on buildings, office furniture and equipment, rent and professional fees. We anticipate that our general and administrative expenses will increase in absolute dollar amounts as we expand our operations, hire additional administrative personnel, incur depreciation expenses in connection with the increase in office equipment and Fab 2, and incur additional compliance costs required of a publicly listed company in the United States.

 

Sales and Marketing Expenses

 

Our sales and marketing expenses consist primarily of salaries of sales and marketing employees, including related employee welfare costs, travel expenses and product sample costs. We expect that our sales and marketing expenses will increase in absolute dollar amounts over the next several years. However, we believe that as we continue to achieve greater economies of scale and operating efficiencies, our sales and marketing expenses may decline over time as a percentage of our revenues.

 

Share-Based Compensation Expenses

 

Our share-based compensation expenses consist of various forms of share-based compensation that we have historically issued to our employees and consultants, as well as share-based compensation issued to employees, directors and service providers under our 2005 and 2011 long-term incentive plans. The 2005 plan was terminated in October 2010. We allocate such share-based compensation expenses to the applicable cost of revenues and expense categories as related services are performed. See note 19 to our consolidated financial statements. Under the long-term incentive plan, we granted RSUs on December 30, 2005 to our employees and directors and again on September 29, 2006, September 26, 2007, September 29, 2008, September 28, 2009, September 28, 2010, September 28, 2011, September 26, 2012, September 26, 2013, September 26, 2014, September 25, 2015, September 28, 2016, September 29, 2017 and September 26, 2018 to our employees. We did not grant RSUs in 2019 but granted stock options to employees instead. Share-based compensation expenses recorded regarding RSUs under the long-term incentive plan totaled $6.9 million, $4.1 million and $0.1 million in 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively. Share-based compensation expenses recorded regarding stock options under the long-term incentive plan totaled $0.3 million in 2019. See“—Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates—Share-Based Compensation” for further discussion of the accounting of such expenses.

 

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Income Taxes

 

Since we and our direct and indirect subsidiaries are incorporated in different jurisdictions, we file separate income tax returns. Under the current laws of the Cayman Islands, we are not subject to income or capital gains tax. Additionally, dividend payments made by us are not subject to withholding tax in the Cayman Islands. However, if the relevant bylaws of the PEM rules have been adequately enacted and properly advocated, we may be determined to be within the territory of the ROC and our income tax shall be levied in accordance with the Income Tax Act and relevant tax regulations. Therefore, dividend payments made by us would be subject to withholding tax in the ROC. We recognize income taxes at the applicable statutory rates in accordance with the jurisdictions where our subsidiaries are located and as adjusted for certain items including accumulated losses carried forward, non-deductible expenses, research and development tax credits, certain tax holidays, as well as changes in our deferred tax assets and liabilities.

 

ROC law offers preferential tax treatments to industries that are encouraged by the ROC government. The Statute for Industrial Innovation entitles companies to tax credits for qualifying research and development expenses related to innovation activities but limits the amount of tax credit to only up to 15% of the total qualifying research and development expenditure for the current year, subject to a cap of 30% of the income tax payable for the current year. Moreover, any unused tax credits provided under the Statute for Industrial Innovation may not be carried forward.

 

Based on the amendments to the above, effective from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2019, further extended to December 31, 2029, if companies choose to extend the tax credits to three years, the tax credit rate will be 10% of the total qualifying research and development expenditure for the current year and subject to a cap of 30% of the income tax payable for each year.

 

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According to the amendments to the “Income Tax Act” enacted by the office of the President of the ROC on February 7, 2018, an increase in the statutory income tax rate from 17% to 20% and decrease in the undistributed earning tax from 10% to 5% are effective from January 1, 2018. This increase does not affect the amounts of the current or deferred taxes recognized for the year ended December 31, 2017. However, it affected the Company’s current tax expense from 2018, and deferred taxes were remeasured in 2018, the period of enactment.

 

On December 22, 2017, the U.S. President Trump signed into law H.R. 1, known as the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” that significantly changes the United States federal income tax system. Among a number of significant changes to the current United States federal income tax rules, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reduces the marginal United States corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21%, limits the deduction for net interest expense, shifts the United States toward a more territorial tax system, and imposes new taxes to combat erosion of the United States federal income tax base. The Company does not expect the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to have a material effect on the Company’s results of operations.

 

Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates

 

We believe the following critical accounting policies affect our more significant judgments and estimates used in the preparation of our consolidated financial statements in accordance with IFRS.

 

Share-Based Compensation

 

Share-based compensation primarily consists of grants of non-vested or restricted shares of common stock, stock options and RSUs issued to employees. The cost of employee services received in exchange for share-based compensation is measured based on the grant-date fair value of the share-based instruments issued. The cost of employee services is equal to the grant-date fair value of shares issued to employees and is recognized in earnings over the service period by graded vesting. Share-based compensation expense estimates also take into account the number of shares awarded that management believes will eventually vest. We adjust our estimate for each period to reflect the current estimate of forfeitures. As of December 31, 2019, we based our share-based compensation cost on an assumed forfeiture rate of 0% per annum for RSUs issued in both 2017 and 2018 under our long-term incentive plan. Additionally, we based our share-based compensation cost on an assumed forfeiture rate of 10% per annum for stock options granted in 2019. If actual forfeitures occur at a lower rate, share-based compensation costs will increase in future periods.

 

For our issuance of RSUs in 2017 and 2018, the fair value of the ordinary shares underlying the RSUs granted to our employees was $10.93 and $5.76 per unit, respectively, which was the closing price of our ADSs on September 29, 2017 and September 26, 2018, respectively.

 

For our issuance of stock options with exercise price of $2.27 per unit in 2019, the calculated value of each option award is estimated on the date of grant using the Black-Scholes option-pricing model that used the weighted average assumptions in the following table. We use the simplified method to estimate the expected term of the options as it does not have sufficient historical share option exercise experience and the exercise data relating to employees of other companies is not easily obtainable. The risk-free rates for the expected term of the options are based on the interest rates of 1 years and 1.5 years U.S. Treasury yield at the time of grant.

 

   2019 plan 
Valuation assumptions:     
Expected dividend yield   3.5%
Expected volatility   51.96%-57.79% 
Expected term (years)   1-1.5 
Risk-free interest rate   1.69%-1.75% 

 

Loss Allowance for Accounts Receivable

 

We evaluate our outstanding accounts receivable on a monthly basis for collectability purposes. The loss allowance for accounts receivable is measured at an amount using the simplified approach under IFRS 9 with the lifetime expected credit losses. To measure the expected credit losses, accounts receivable have been grouped based on the days past due, as well as incorporated forward looking information, including relevant industry information. The activity in the loss allowance for accounts receivable for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019 are as follows:

 

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Loss Allowance

 

Year   Balance at
Beginning
of Year
   Charges to
earnings
   Amounts
Utilized /
write-offs
   Balance at
End of Year
 
    (in thousands) 
2017   $1,395   $155   $(1,550)  $- 
2018   $-   $290   $-   $290 
2019   $290   $67   $(167)  $190 

 

Inventory

 

Inventories are stated at the lower of cost and net realizable value, and we use judgment and estimate to determine the net realizable value of inventory at the end of each reporting period. Due to the rapid technological changes, we estimate the net realizable value of inventory for obsolescence and unmarketable items at the end of reporting period and then writes down the cost of inventories to net realizable value. The net realizable value of the inventory is mainly determined based on assumptions of future demand within a specific time horizon. The inventory write-downs in 2017, 2018 and 2019 were approximately $12.3 million, $17.7 million and $25.4 million, respectively, and were included in cost of revenues in our consolidated statements of profit or loss.

 

Impairment of Non-financial Assets other than Goodwill

 

We routinely review our non-financial assets at the reporting date to determine whether there is any indication of impairment. If any such indication exists, then the asset’s recoverable amount is estimated. The recoverable amount of an asset or cash-generating unit is the greater of its value in use and its fair value less costs to sell. In assessing value in use, the estimated future cash flows are discounted to their present value using a pre-tax discount rate that reflects current market assessments of the time value of money and the risks specific to the asset. However, due to the cyclical nature of our industry and changes in our business strategy, market requirements, or the needs of our customers, we may not always be in a position to accurately anticipate declines in the utility of our equipment or acquired technology until they occur. Although we have the recurring losses in non-Driver product segment, we remain positive on the long-term prospect of our non-Driver product segment, judging by the expanding customer list that covers some of the world’s biggest tech names, and the busy engineering activities going on with such customers. For the years ended December 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019, we did not recognize any impairment loss on non-financial assets.

 

Goodwill

 

We evaluate goodwill for impairment at least annually, or more frequently when there is an indication that the cash-generating unit (CGU) may be impaired. For the purpose of impairment testing, goodwill is allocated to each of the Company’s CGU or groups of CGU that are expected to benefit from the synergies of the combination. If the recoverable amount of a CGU is less than its carrying amount, the difference is allocated first to reduce the carrying amount of any goodwill allocated to such CGU and then to the other assets of the CGU pro rata based on the carrying amount of each asset in the CGU. Any impairment loss for goodwill is recognized directly in profit or loss. An impairment loss recognized for goodwill is not reversed in subsequent periods.

 

The recoverable amount is the higher of fair value less costs of disposal and value in use. The assessment of impairment of goodwill requires management to make subjective judgment to determine the identified CGU, allocate the goodwill to relevant CGU and estimate the recoverable amount of relevant CGU. In the process of estimating the recoverable amount of relevant CGU, management is required to make subjective judgments in determining the discounted rate, the terminal growth rate, the independent cash flows, useful lives, expected future revenue and expenses related to the CGU.

 

As of December 31, 2018 and 2019, goodwill in Driver IC CGU and WLO CGU was $26,846 thousand and $1,292 thousand, respectively. For the years ended December 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019, we did not recognize any impairment loss on goodwill.

 

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Income Taxes

 

According to the amendments to the Income Tax Act enacted by the office of the President of the ROC on February 7, 2018, effective starting from January 1, 2018, dividends distributed by a Taiwan company to its foreign shareholders are subject to ROC withholding tax, the rate of which increased from 20% to 21% on the amount of the distribution in the case of cash dividends or on the par value of the ordinary shares in the case of stock dividends. The surtax rate for undistributed earnings will be reduced from 10% to 5%. However, surtax paid on undistributed earnings can no longer be used to offset against the withholding tax imposed on the dividend distributed to foreign shareholders.

 

As of December 31, 2019, we have not provided for retained earnings tax on the undistributed earnings of approximately $593.0 million of our subsidiaries since we have specific plans to reinvest these earnings indefinitely. The undistributed earnings in our foreign subsidiaries are mainly from Himax Taiwan totaling approximately $591.4 million as of December 31, 2019. We intend to use accumulated and future earnings of Himax Taiwan to expand operations in Taiwan.

 

However, a deferred tax liability will be recognized when the Taiwanese company can no longer demonstrate that it plans to reinvest indefinitely these undistributed earnings. This amount becomes taxable when we execute other investments, share buybacks or shareholder dividends to be funded by cash distribution by our foreign subsidiaries. It is not practicable to estimate the amount of additional taxes that might be payable on such undistributed earnings.

 

We are a holding company located in the Cayman Islands and have paid dividends and repurchased outstanding shares. To fund such dividends and repurchases, in the past years, we have received cash from bank loans and from Himax Taiwan through intercompany borrowings instead of dividends distributed by Himax Taiwan. At December 31, 2018 and 2019, the amount of cash and cash equivalents held by Himax Taiwan were $86.3 million and $86.2 million, respectively, which are not available to fund our ultimate parent company’s activities unless the cash is distributed.

 

As part of the process of preparing our consolidated financial statements, our management is required to estimate income taxes and tax bases of assets and liabilities for us and our subsidiaries. This process involves estimating current tax exposure together with assessing temporary differences resulting from differing treatments of items for tax and accounting purposes and the amount of tax credits and tax loss carry-forward. These differences result in deferred tax assets and liabilities, which are included in the consolidated statements of financial position. Management must then assess deferred tax assets at each reporting date and reduce to the extent that it is no longer probable that the related tax benefit will be realized; such reductions are reversed when the probability of future taxable profits improves.

 

Consolidated Results of Operations

 

The following table sets forth a summary of our consolidated statements of profit or loss as a percentage of revenues:

 

   Year Ended December 31, 
   2017   2018   2019 
Revenues   100.0%   100.0%   100.0%
Costs and expenses:               
Cost of revenues   75.6    76.7    79.5 
Research and development   17.2    17.0    17.1 
General and administrative   3.0    2.9    3.5 
Sales and marketing   3.0    2.9    2.6 
Total costs and expenses   98.8    99.5    102.7 
Operating income (loss)   1.2    0.5    (2.7)
Non-operating income   3.2    0.5    0.4 
Income tax expense    0.7    0.2    0.1 
Profit (loss) for the year   3.7    0.8    (2.4)
Loss attributable to noncontrolling interests   0.3    0.4    0.4 
Profit (loss) attributable to Himax stockholders   4.0    1.2    (2.0)

 

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Year Ended December 31, 2019 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2018

 

Revenues. Our revenues decreased by 7.2% to $671.8 million in 2019 from $723.6 million in 2018. The decrease was attributable mainly to an 8.9% decrease in revenues from display drivers for large-size application to $237.3 million in 2019 from $260.5 million in 2018. The decrease was primarily from panel makers’ ongoing inventory correction driven by weak TV demand and industry-wide oversupply. Revenues from small and medium-sized applications totaled $307.4 million in 2019, a decrease of 5.6% year-over-year. Combing TDDI and traditional discrete smartphone driver, sales into mobile handsets application in this segment increased 2.4% in 2019 attributed to the TDDI shipment for smartphone close to double. The growth was limited due to TDDI capacity constraint during 2018. The display drivers for consumer electronics applications decreased 9.8% to $192.5 million in 2019 from $213.5 million in 2018 mainly due to the decline of automotive, tablet and other consumer electronics businesses. Automotive sales worldwide declined sharply since fourth quarter of 2018 over worries of economic slowdown and trade conflicts. Revenues from non-driver products to $127.1 million in 2019 from $137.4 million in 2018, a decrease of 7.5% year-over-year. WLO sales increased offset by decrease of other non-driver products. Our average selling prices increased by 3.0%, primarily due to the increase from our core driver IC business. However, our unit shipments decreased by 9.9% as a result of the decrease in the driver IC business during 2019.

 

Costs and Expenses. Costs and expenses decreased by 4.2% to $690.1 million in 2019 from $720.2 million in 2018. As a percentage of revenues, costs and expenses increased to 102.7% in 2019 compared to 99.5% in 2018.

 

· Cost of Revenues. Cost of revenues decreased to $533.9 million in 2019 from $554.7 million in 2018. The decrease in cost of revenues was due primarily to a 9.9% decrease in unit shipments in 2019, as compared to 2018. Inventory write-downs, which are included in cost of revenues, increased to $25.4 million in 2019 from $17.7 million in 2018. As a percentage of revenues, cost of revenues increased to 79.5% in 2019 from 76.7% in 2018.

 

· Research and Development. Research and development expenses decreased by 6.6% to $114.9 million in 2019 from $123.0 million in 2018. This decrease was primarily attributable to decreases in the salary expense and tape out expense $1.8 million. The decrease in salary expense was primarily attributable to lower headcount, lower average salaries due to NT dollar depreciation against US dollar as we pay the bulk of our employee salaries in NT dollars and lower RSU compensation.

 

· General and Administrative. General and administrative expenses increased by 8.5% to $23.7 million in 2019 from $21.8 million in 2018, primarily as a result of increases in depreciation out of our Fab 2 building and partially offset by lower RSU compensation.

 

· Sales and Marketing. Sales and marketing expenses decreased by 13.5% to $17.6 million from $20.4 million in 2018. This decrease was primarily attributable to decreases in the salary expense related to lower headcount, lower average salaries from exchange rate effect and lower RSU compensation.

 

Non-Operating Income. We had net non-operating income of $2.5 million in 2019 compared to $3.6 million in 2018. We recognized finance costs of $2.3 million in 2019 and $1.2 million in 2018, respectively. The higher finance costs was due to higher borrowings amount and higher interest rate.

 

Income Tax Expense. Our income tax expense decreased to $0.4 million in 2019 from $1.0 million in 2018. Our effective income tax rate decreased to (2.6%) from 14.2% in 2018. The decrease in our effective income tax rate was primarily attributable to the decrease in pre-tax loss $15.8 million in 2019 from pre-tax profit $7.0 million in 2018, income tax benefit for tax credit decreased to $2.7 million in 2019 from $5.3 million in 2018, as well as recognized $1.2 million and $1.1 million income tax benefit for effect of tax rate changes and tax-exempt income in 2018, respectively.

 

Profit for the year. As a result of the foregoing, our loss for the year was $16.2 million in 2019, versus profit for the year of $6.0 million in 2018 and loss attributable to Himax stockholders was $13.6 million in 2019, versus profit attributable to Himax stockholders of $8.6 million in 2018.

 

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Segment Results

 

The following table sets forth the revenues and operating results for our reportable segments for the periods indicated:

 

   Year Ended December 31, 
   2017   2018   2019 
   (in thousands) 
Segment Revenues               
Driver IC  $529,847   $586,258   $544,727 
Non-Driver Products   155,320    137,347    127,108 
Total  $685,167   $723,605   $671,835 
                
    

Year Ended December 31, 

 
    2017    2018    2019 
    (in thousands) 
Segment Operating Income (loss)               
Driver IC  $43,021   $56,023   $29,070 
Non-Driver Products   (34,662)   (52,638)   (47,377)
Total  $8,359   $3,385   $(18,307)

 

Driver IC Segment

 

Year Ended December 31, 2019 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2018

 

Segment revenues. Our revenues from the Driver IC segment decreased by 7.1% to $544.7 million in 2019 from $586.2 million in 2018. The decrease was mainly from the decrease in display drivers for large-size application and consumer electronics applications. This decrease was attributable to 14.0% decrease in unit shipments but partially offset by an 8.0% increase in our average selling price of our driver IC products.

 

Segment operating income. Operating income from the Driver IC segment decreased to $29.1 million in 2019 from $56.0 million in 2018. This decrease was primarily attributable to a decrease in revenues in 2019 as compared to 2018 and lower gross margin.

 

Non-Driver Products Segment

 

Year Ended December 31, 2019 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2018

 

Segment revenues. Our revenues from the Non-Driver Products segment decreased by 7.5% to $127.1 million in 2019 from $137.4 million in 2018. This decrease was attributable mainly to a 11.0% decrease in average selling price of our non-driver products but partially offset by a 4.0% increase in unit shipments of the non-driver products.

 

Segment operating loss. Operating loss from the Non-Driver Products segment decreased to $47.4 million in 2019 from $52.6 million in 2018. The operating loss decreases was attributable mainly to the decrease in salary expense and lower RSU compensation.

 

5.B. Liquidity and Capital Resources

 

We need cash primarily for technology advancement, capacity expansion, paying dividends and working capital. We have historically been able to meet our cash requirements through cash flow from operations and borrowings to pay dividends.

 

As of December 31, 2019, we had total current assets of $604.7 million, total current liabilities of $380.9 million and cash and cash equivalents of $101.1 million. As of December 31, 2019, we had total secured borrowings of $164.0 million with cash and time deposits of $164.0 million as collateral, unsecured borrowings of $57.3 million and did not have any outstanding long-term borrowings. As of December 31, 2019, we had total unused short-term credit lines of $242.5 million, of which $24.0 million will expire before the end of March 2020, and $136.0 million belonging to the parent company needs to be secured with equal amount of cash and time deposits when borrowing money from banks. We believe that our existing short-term credit lines, together with cash generated from our operations, are sufficient to liquidity needs. We expect to meet our present working capital requirements through cash flow from operations and bank borrowings from time to time.

 

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The following table sets forth a summary of our cash flows for the periods indicated:

 

   Year Ended December 31, 
   2017   2018   2019 
   (in thousands) 
Net cash provided by operating activities  $29,393   $4,009   $7,656 
Net cash used in investing activities   (35,088)   (38,266)   (47,767)
Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities   (41,214)   2,801    35,261 
Net decrease in cash and cash equivalents   (46,429)   (31,586)   (5,382)
Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of period   184,452    138,023    106,437 
Cash and cash equivalents at end of period   138,023    106,437    101,055 

 

Operating Activities. Net cash provided by operating activities in 2019 was $7.7 million compared to $4.0 million in 2018. This increase in net cash provided by operating activities in 2019 was mainly due to an increase in cash collected from customers in 2019 compared to 2018.

 

Investing Activities. Net cash used in investing activities in 2019 was $47.8 million compared to $38.3 million in 2018. This increase in net cash used in investing activities was due primarily to decrease in net effect of cash provided by disposal of financial assets at fair value through profit or loss in 2019 compared to 2018.

 

Financing Activities. Net cash provided by financing activities in 2019 was $35.3 million compared to $2.8 million in 2018. This increase was due primarily to an increase in unsecured borrowings $17.2 million in 2019 and distribution of cash dividends of $17.2 million in 2018. Our liquidity could be negatively impacted by a decrease in demand for our products that are subject to rapid technological change, among other factors, which could result in revenue variability in future periods. In addition, we have at times agreed to extend the payment terms for certain of our customers. Other customers have also requested extension of payment terms and we may grant such requests for extensions in the future. The extension of payment terms for our customers could adversely affect our cash flow, liquidity and our operating results. Our subsidiaries’ ability to distribute dividends and other payments to us may be limited by ROC regulations. See “Risk Factors — Risks Related to Our Holding Company Structure — Our ability to receive dividends and other payments or funds from our subsidiaries may be restricted by commercial, statutory and legal restrictions, and thereby materially and adversely affect our ability to grow, fund investments, make acquisitions, pay dividends and otherwise fund and conduct our business.”

 

Our capital expenditures were incurred primarily in connection with the purchase of property and equipment. Our capital expenditures totaled $39.3 million, $49.7 million and $45.9 million in 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively, higher than usual capital expenditure due to our Fab 2 construction and WLO capacity expansion. Capital expenditures of $45.9 million in 2019, of which $7.3 million was for the investment of design tools and R&D related equipment related to our traditional IC design business. Other capital expenditures, mainly consisted of $27.5 million payment for land purchase, and ongoing payments for our Fab 2 construction and WLO capacity expansion.

 

The capex budget will be funded through our internal resources and banking facilities, if so needed. We will continue to make capital expenditures to meet the expected growth of our operations. We believe that our working capital and borrowings under our existing and future credit lines should be sufficient for our present requirements.

 

5.C. Research and Development

 

Our research and development efforts focus on improving and enhancing our core technologies and know-how relating to the semiconductor solutions we offer to the flat panel display industry. In particular, we have committed a significant portion of our resources to the research and development of non-driver products because we believe in the long-term business prospects of such products and are committed to continuing to diversify our product portfolio. Although a significant portion of the resources at our integrated circuit design center are invested in advanced research for future products, we continue to invest in improving the performance and reducing the costs of our existing products. Our application engineers, who provide on-system verification of semiconductors and product specifications, and field application engineers, who provide on-site engineering support at our customers’ offices or factories, work closely with panel manufacturers to co-develop display solutions for their electronic devices. In 2017, 2018 and 2019, we incurred research and development expenses of $117.7 million, $123.0 million and $114.9 million, respectively, representing 17.2%, 17.0% and 17.1% of our revenues, respectively.

 

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5.D. Trend Information

 

2019 has been a challenging year for Himax. Uncertainty in the global economy overshadowed the marketplace, where we saw waning demand in all industries that consume display. This, combined with the prevailing LCD industry capacity oversupply, had led to severe pricing pressure for panels which inevitably affected the sales and margin of display driver IC across all major product segments including TV, smartphone and automotive.

 

Against the backdrop of an unfriendly market environment, we have faced multiple challenges that have had an adverse effect on our overall financial performance in 2019. First, the large display driver IC and small/medium driver IC markets experienced chip-on-film (COF) and wafer capacity shortages, respectively. The severe shortages significantly affected our ability to fulfill customer orders in the second half of 2018, which not only impacted our 2018 sales but also jeopardized our ability to win new projects with customers at that point of time. While these constraints were resolved towards the end of 2018, we are still suffering from the repercussions of the loss of new projects as we did not get to take part in the mass production of those projects.

 

Second, since early of 2019, there has been a major pullback in demand for our DDICs as panel makers, facing an industry-wide overcapacity and uncertain economic outlook due to US/China trade conflict, cut back their production and, in the meantime, attempted to lower the DDIC inventory which they built earlier to address the IC shortage concern. The combination of these two factors has negatively impacted our performance in the second half of 2018 as well as full-year 2019. Separately in the smartphone segment, new model opportunities, which we count on to boost our new generation TDDI product shipment, have been limited in 2019 due to a slow smartphone market. As a result, our overall sales and outlook were weak. In the fourth quarter of 2019, however, we have started to see major turnaround in literally all aspects of our businesses.

 

Large-sized Display Driver IC Segment

 

Sensing strong signs of panel price recovery, panel makers began to replenish their inventory and increase production starting the end of fourth quarter of 2019. Our leading Chinese panel customers are particularly active in gaining further market share, taking advantage of Korean panel makers’ ongoing fab restructuring by getting out TFT LCD into OLED market segment. As the leading IC supplier, Himax is well positioned to benefit from increased demand coming out of the major Chinese large display players. These market trends, that began to emerge during the fourth quarter of 2019, are expected to drive strong results in the first quarter of 2020 that will accelerate throughout 2020.

 

On the supply side, Himax and some of our major panel customers were already seeing foundry capacity shortage of 8-inch silicon wafers for display driver ICs. In anticipation of this, we have strategically prepared to ready our 12-inch foundry, as well as associated backend packaging and testing, ahead of our peers to cover the potential 8-inch capacity shortfall. Our design project coverage is strong across all leading Chinese panel makers. We are very positive on the business outlook for our large display driver for 2020.

 

Looking at technology development, all top-tier TV brands have been trying to boost sales for 8K models in 2020. At the CES 2020, many of these brands showcased 8K TV’s that contained Himax’s technology. Although the penetration of 8K TV’s is still low, we expect this to be a strategic opportunity for Himax as 8K TV sales will boost demand for not just our driver IC but also timing controller contents. Large display driver IC business enjoyed strong growth in the second half of 2018 as 4K TV penetration continued to rise globally and China continued to ramp brand new advanced generation LCD fabs.

 

Small and Medium-Sized Display Driver IC Segment

 

In the smartphone segment, our TDDI product roadmap as well as new design-wins with end customers and a foundry capacity advantage have positioned Himax to gain market share starting the first quarter and throughout 2020. Furthermore, the smartphone market continues to embrace new technologies and is moving toward higher frame rate displays to enable smoother screen viewing and gaming experience. This will drive the adoption of next generation high frame rate TDDI solutions, for which Himax is a leading technology provider. Also, the demand for 5G in China is expected to drive worldwide smartphone growth in 2020 which will in turn stimulate the growth for TDDI. All these trends will benefit Himax. Separately, the price erosion of TDDI we have seen over the past year is expected to abate in 2020. This is not only because the new high frame rate products enjoy a higher ASP but also due to the industry-wide tightening of foundry capacity for TDDI. As a reminder, during 2018 the Himax TDDI business was negatively impacted by a severe foundry capacity shortage that resulted in our inability to meet customers’ delivery requirements. Although the capacity constraint was resolved toward the end of 2018, the delay limited our ability to participate in major design-in opportunities that would have driven the business in 2019. The actions we took in 2018-2019 to develop and enable an additional qualified foundry partner ahead of our peers, combined with our superior technology and customer collaboration, now uniquely position Himax to benefit from a tightening of overall TDDI foundry capacity in 2020. We are well-prepared to meet TDDI production demands and continue to move forward with plans to enable additional capacity this year to capitalize on the strong opportunities for smartphone TDDI, as well as other TDDI applications such as tablet, in 2020. Regardless of the coronavirus, we are confident that our both TDDI business will grow strongly from last year.

 

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As expected, our traditional discrete driver IC sales into smartphone declined in 2019 as the market is being quickly replaced by TDDI and AMOLED. On AMOLED product line, as discussed previously, a major development we are seeing in the marketplace is increased utilization of the OLED display for smartphone. This is due to expanded AMOLED capacity as well as increased demand for under-display fingerprint technology that is only available in the AMOLED display for the time being. We are encouraged by the progress we have made, collaborating closely with leading panel makers across China for AMOLED product development. We believe AMOLED driver ICs will soon become one of the major growth engines for our small panel driver IC business.

 

In the automotive display segment, the number of displays per vehicle continues to rise as the overall automobile display market is set to increase from 2020 onward, despite that the global car sales are forecast to decline again this year. More importantly for Himax, the market is quickly shifting towards a number of new technologies including higher resolution, in-cell touch, slim border, giant pillar-to-pillar screen, local dimming for higher contrast, and plastic AMOLED for free form design, all of which are contributing to an increase in market size and demand for automotive display driver ICs. Himax commands more than 30% of the global automotive display driver IC market and is the primary partner for most of the world’s automotive panel makers to enable the new technologies above. It’s worth mentioning that Himax is also the dominant automotive TDDI technology provider, working as the sole supplier on numerous TDDI design-in projects across different leading panel makers. While we expect only small volume shipments in 2020, we anticipate meaningful volume of automotive TDDI as we move into 2021.

 

Lastly, we expect the tablet business to be a major growth area for Himax during 2020 with a significant volume of tablet TDDI shipment starting from first quarter of 2020. The strong momentum will accelerate into second quarter of 2020 and throughout 2020. The business growth will be driven primarily by leading non-iOS brands’ rapid adoption of the newly developed in-cell TDDI solutions. In-cell TDDI is quickly becoming mainstream for tablets due to its lower cost and a simplified supply chain as well as faster and easier integration for display manufacturers. At the same time, consumer demand is expected to accelerate for these cheaper, slimmer, lighter and more stylish tablets. Himax is the primary partner for all non-iOS tablet in-cell TDDI products right now and we are already making shipments of our new in-cell TDDI products for tablet to a number of leading end customers, some of which include active stylus. Additionally, we continue shipping our traditional display driver IC with COF packaging for larger-sized tablets with slim bezel design to a leading Chinese brand customer and expect the momentum for these high-end designs to accelerate throughout 2020.

 

The non-driver category has been our most exciting growth area and a differentiator for the Company. We are devoted to the development, manufacturing and marketing of non-driver products to diversify our customer base and product portfolio to offer total solutions of image processing and human interface related technologies in addition to our driver IC products. Our non-driver products delivered the strongest growth in 2014 owing to many new product launches and project wins. During 2016, our non-driver businesses experienced tremendous growth, primarily driven by the LCOS and WLO businesses due to shipments to one of our leading AR device customers. Additionally, our WLO business hit inflection in the middle of 2017 when we began mass shipment to an anchor customer. The overall 2018 shipment increased considerably year-over-year because of the customer’s large-scale adoption in more models. In 2019, we continued the strong shipment momentum from 2018 to fulfill anchor customer’s higher demand with a significant year-over-year increase. We continue to make progress with our ongoing R&D projects for next generation products centered around our exceptional design know-how and mass production expertise in WLO technology.

 

3D sensing in the smartphone segment, we have advanced our WLO optics solution to cover both structured light and time-of-flight (ToF) 3D sensing. We are seeing increasing ToF adoption by smartphone makers for world-facing cameras to enable advanced photography, distance/dimension measurement and 3D depth information generation for AR. In the past few months, we have been actively working with an industry leading ToF 3D camera vendor to develop a new and advanced ToF solution, targeting Android smartphones. Leveraging on our WLO technology, we have made great progress providing the partner with spot projector for their reference design which will be ready for leading Android smartphone makers’ evaluation as soon as first quarter of 2020. Our non-smartphone 3D-sensing engagements have focused on smart door lock and industrial automation segments where we provide structured light-based 3D sensing total solution. We have been collaborating closely with two main types of partners: those with industry-leading expertise in facial recognition algorithm and those offering application processors with strong AI capability. We have started design-in projects with several smart door lock end customers. Separately, as we previously mentioned, we are working with partners who wish to take advantage of our 3D sensing know-how to achieve efficiency improvement and cost reduction in traditional manufacturing. One market opportunity we are pursuing is shoe factory automation. We are pleased to report that prototypes of 3D sensing enabled automatic robotic cementing system are available now for production optimization testing.

 

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Regarding ultra-low power smart sensing, the demand for battery-powered smart device with AI intelligent sensing is rapidly growing. WiseEye is our AI-based ultra-low power smart sensing solution, built on Emza’s unique AI-based algorithm, on top of Himax’s proprietary computer vision processor, WE-I Plus, and CMOS image sensor, all equipped with ultra-low power design. Currently laptop is the market of focus. Himax WiseEye 2.0 NB solution provides a ‘laptop-ready’ 3-in-1 RGB/IR/AI solution, respecting privacy while enhancing security for notebook users. At the CES 2020, a number of notebook OEMs and ODMs demonstrated our WiseEye NB solution in their next generation premium notebooks with positive feedback. In addition to notebook, we have also made progress in the displays and IoT markets. Innolux, one of the world's leading manufacturers of TFT-LCD displays, has integrated the Himax-Emza WiseEye solution into displays to enable consumer privacy protection in real time. Also, Chicony, one of the largest ODMs in the world, and Emza jointly announced a reference design of the world’s first battery-powered human sensing solution for IoT in December 2019. Both Innolux and Chicony showcased their products at the CES. In addition to total solution, Himax is also able to offer ultra-low power smart sensing on the basis of individual parts so as to address the market’s different needs and maximize the potential opportunities for Himax.

 

CMOS image sensor is a critical part of the WiseEye 2.0 NB solution. To support the lean camera design and high-quality image needed for thin bezel laptops, we have made a 2-in-1 sensor that offers the duo capabilities of high quality HD image capturing and ultra-low-power, low resolution visual sensing in one single sensor, the industry’s first with the innovative design. With this sensor, laptop makers can simplify their next generation product design and save costs by eliminating the need for an additional camera to provide context awareness for a better user experience. Our sensor has also incorporated an RGB-IR design to enable Windows Hello facial recognition. This new 2-in-1 CMOS sensor is currently available for our partners/customers. In addition, we recently announced the commercial availability of an industry-first ultra-low power and low latency, backside-illuminated CMOS image sensor solution with autonomous modes of operations for always-on, intelligent visual sensing applications such as human presence detection and tracking, gaze detection, behavioral analysis, and pose estimation for growing markets such as smart home, smart building, healthcare, smartphone and AR/VR devices. We are collaborating with leading partners within the ecosystem to reduce time to market for intelligent edge vision solutions. Notably, we are working closely with Google and have become the reference design for its world-leading TensorFlow Lite AI framework targeting low power edge devices. For the traditional human vision segments, we see strong demand in notebooks, where we are one of the market leaders, and have experienced increased shipments for multimedia applications such as car recorders, surveillance, drones, home appliances, and consumer electronics, among others. Additionally, we have seen increased shipments and new design-wins in the automotive segment covering before-market solutions such as surround view and rear-view camera.

 

Lastly, on LCOS, we continue to focus on AR goggle devices and head-up-displays (HUD) for automotive. Many of our industry-leading customers have demonstrated their state-of-the-art products, including holographic HUD, AR glasses and LiDAR system, with Himax LCOS technology inside at the 2020 CES with positive market feedbacks. Our technology leadership and proven manufacturing expertise have made us a preferred partner for customers in these emerging markets and their ongoing engineering projects in AR goggles and HUD for automotive applications.

 

Historically, due to the Lunar New Year holidays, the first quarter has seasonally been the slowest period of the year in terms of sales, often down by more than 10% sequentially. At this time, however, based on our current pipeline, we are experiencing decent sales in the first quarter, brushing aside the seasonal factor. However, the coronavirus outbreak currently taking place in China and all over the world does represent a major uncertainty to our operations, especially for the short term. We are working extremely closely with both our customers and suppliers in our joint efforts to mitigate the risks. The first quarter guidance provided during our fourth quarter earnings call on February 13, 2020 already included the anticipated impact to the business from the coronavirus outbreak which reflects to see some downward adjustments mainly from certain China-based customers for small-sized display drivers and CMOS image sensors. With vast majority of operations located outside of China, our suppliers are largely unaffected by the coronavirus outbreak. The focus there is primarily the logistics management including the customs operations in various ports in China.

 

The situation is still evolving. Notwithstanding the uncertainty arisen from the coronavirus, we are confident that we will see decent growth across the board for all our major product categories in 2020.

 

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For more trend information, see “Item 5.A. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—Operating Results.”

 

5.E. Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements

 

As of December 31, 2019, we did not have any off-balance-sheet guarantees, interest rate swap transactions or foreign currency forwards. We do not engage in trading activities involving non-exchange traded contracts. Furthermore, as of December 31, 2019, we did not have any interests in variable interest entities.

 

5.F. Tabular Disclosure of Contractual Obligations

 

The following table sets forth our contractual obligations as of December 31, 2019:

 

   Payment Due by Period 
   Total   Less than
1 year
   1-3 years   3-5
years
   More than
5 years
 
   (in thousands) 
Unsecured borrowings   57,339    57,339    -    -    - 
Secured borrowings   164,000    164,000    -    -    - 
Purchase obligations(1)   131,800    131,800    -    -    - 
Other obligations   32    32    -    -    - 
Total   353,171    353,171&n