Image sensor maker OmniVision Technologies forecast a current-quarter profit ahead of analysts’ estimates, encouraged by higher demand for its camera chips from smartphone makers in China. Shares of the company soared 24 per cent at US$19.19 in after-hours trading. OmniVision forecast an adjusted, first-quarter profit of 35-52 cents per share, well above the 28 cents analysts were expecting on average. The company said it expected current-quarter revenue of US$355-US$390 million, above the average analyst estimate of US$347.2 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. OmniVision designs analogue and digital single-chip image sensors that capture and convert images for cameras, surveillance systems, smartphones and tablets. “In fiscal next year, we expect that OmniVision camera solutions will be featured in several major consumer device launches,” President Raymond Wu said in an analyst call. Smartphone cameras brings in about two-thirds of the company’s revenue. Demand is driven mainly by multiple Chinese Tier-1 smartphone makers that are expanding to both developing and developed international markets such as the United States, Wu said. Analyst Rajvindra Gill of Needham & Company said ZTE Corp and Huawei Technologies Co are among the biggest Chinese customers of OmniVision. OmniVision’s notebook and web camera sales fell in the fourth quarter, but the company expects several companies to launch new devices in the second half of this year featuring its camera sensors. “You should expect to see some very innovative products in calendar this year using our most advanced technologies,” Wu said. OmniVision competes with Aptina Imaging, Samsung Electronics, Sharp, Sony and STMicroelectronics. Net income rose to US$8.9 million, or 17 cents per share, for the fourth quarter, from US$2.6 million, or 5 cents per share, a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, the company earned 31 cents per share. Revenue rose 54 per cent to US$336.2 million for the quarter ended April 30. Analysts on average had expected adjusted earnings of 21 cents per share on revenue of US$318.9 million. OmniVision stock closed at US$15.49 on the Nasdaq.