Taiwan start-up signs tech deal with mainland TV set-top maker

CyWee agrees to sell chipsets to Shenzhen set-top maker Coship Electronics to allow television content to be sent to mobile devices

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 January, 2013, 4:08am

A Taiwanese firm specialising in wireless streaming has signed an unusual deal with mainland-based Coship Electronics to design set-top boxes that let television viewers send on-air content to mobile devices.

CyWee said it signed the agreement last month to sell two million encoder chipsets to Coship within a year.

The Taiwanese firm, spun off in 2007 by a government research institute, said the deal was its biggest ever.

The agreement stands out as Taiwan's laws ban some technology firms, especially in liquid crystal display panels, from tie-ups on the mainland for fear of technology theft. Other companies in technology-rich Taiwan worry about commercial misuse of new schemes introduced on the mainland.

"It could just be that the company in Taiwan is more efficient in design systems than Coship is," said Michael Clendenin, the managing director of RedTech Advisors, an information-technology consultancy in Shanghai. "It shouldn't be a big deal, since it's not manufacturing technology, and I think that's the most sensitive thing from the Taiwan side."

Under the agreement, Coship would use CyWee technology to build boxes that could send television content to smartphones or media tablets, CyWee's sales and marketing vice-president Paul Liu said.

"For example, you can be watching your favourite TV programme on the TV, and another device can watch something else on a portable display," Liu said, predicting more simultaneous viewing within a single home.

"You will no longer be bound to a wire, and sharing of content will be even easier within the household."

The agreement with Coship should help CyWee grow, he added.

"We're looking to change the way that content can be consumed, so the more partners we have to adopt our technology, the faster we can expand," he said.

CyWee's chipsets allowed streaming of audio and video at up to 60 frames per second in real time, the firm said in a statement.

Liu would not say how much the deal was worth.

Coship, headquartered and listed in Shenzhen, says it has been the No 1 set-top box exporter on the mainland for the past six years. The 19-year-old firm has 4,000 employees and serves 90 million mainland internet service platform customers.

Both sides call the deal the first major break for CyWee, which says it trusts Coship to use its technology legally but will take legal action if needed.

Taiwan should not worry about set-top box technology falling into the wrong hands on the mainland, Clendenin said.

CyWee's deal is not the first cross-strait technology partnership. In one of the best known cases, Taiwanese-based Acer agreed in 2010 to operate most of Founder Technology's personal computer business while Founder's factory in Suzhou would keep providing support.