Interview with Mr. Hiroaki Kinoshita, President, Falcon Denshi K.K.

Q. Please give us an overview of your company’s business.

Falcon Denshi K.K. was established in Yokohama on June 2, 2009, the day of the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Yokohama International Port. We manufacture and sell Falcon-brand device programmers to our clients in close coordination with our partner company in Taiwan. Our basic business model is to receive orders from our clients here in Japan and have our partner in Taiwan build the products in their factories. Many of our clients are Japanese or Japan-affiliated companies whose businesses extend globally.

We also offer device programming services using device programmers developed by our partner company. IC programming is used in various products; for example, a rice cooker has an IC chip that allows different cooking options such as speed cook, porridge and brown rice. Smartphones have IC chips with authentication codes written in. There is a huge market opportunity in automotive related industries; for example, various technologies such as navigation systems, advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), steering control, automatic headlights and tire pressure monitoring systems all require microcomputers, and we can provide the programming tools to vendors.

Based on the various needs of our clients, we handle the IC programming either in Japan or partner programming facilities in Taiwan, China, and Hong Kong. Through off-shore programming, we are able to offer low-cost and high-yield programming solutions to our customers. Also, there is a logistical advantage for clients that have facilities or warehouses in those areas, as they can have the IC programming and product assembly carried out in the same location.

In this year’s event (ET/IoT Technology 2018), we are showcasing our device programmer that supports Toshiba’s UFS, which is a controller-embedded next-generation NAND memory chip. We are the first Japanese company to provide programming support for these new products. Managed NAND will be used in various vehicle-related technologies, such as navigation systems, infotainment and audio systems, and ADAS.

Falcon Denshi K.K. at ET/IoT Technology 2018

Falcon Denshi at ET/IoT Technology 2018

Q. Do you have plans to extend business in the US?
To provide IC programming services, we need to work closely with semiconductor companies. We obtain data sheets from these companies in order to support a wide range of IC packages. There are several semiconductor suppliers in the US that we already have business relationships with.

A recent trend is that IC chip programming for the US market is returning to the US. Up to now, a lot of them was carried out in China and other Asian countries; however, nowadays major smartphone suppliers and automotive companies are going back to doing their programming within the US. Given this situation, we are seriously considering expanding to US/Canada.

We are thinking about setting up a facility in the US. Similar to our current business model in Asia, our plan is to build IC device programmers based on the needs of our Japanese clients and sell them to their factories in the US. In some cases, manufacturers do not want to buy their own device programmers and would rather outsource the programming. To these companies, we can handle the programming on their behalf and provide them with pre-programmed IC chips. All of these services become possible if we have a US-based facility.

Q. Can you tell us more about your plans for the US facility?
We are aiming to open the US location maybe 3 years from now. We are currently in discussion with our partner in Taiwan, as they mainly handle the international aspects of our business. In fact, we already have a lot of international clients and some of them are in the US. Many of our IC related clients are located in Silicon Valley as well as Texas.

Company Overview

November 16, 2018 at ET/IoT Technology 2018