Apex Microelectronics Co., Ltd (Apexmic), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Shenzhen-listed Ninestar Corporation that offers printing and imaging services, has received a 3.2 billion yuan ($488 million) strategic investment led by state-owned China Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund (ICF) II, according to a company filing with The Stock Exchange of Shenzhen on December 8.
Besides ICF II, Apexmic has roped in 12 investors for the deal including Gree Electric Appliance’s investment arm Zhuhai Gree Financial Investment Management, Goldstone Investment, Hengqin Financial Investment, and others.
ICF II has agreed to invest 1.5 billion yuan ($229 million) for around 7.9 per cent stake, while Gree Financial Investment has pumped 350 million yuan ($53 million) for a roughly 1.8 per cent equity interest.
Upon completion of the transaction, Ninestar will remain the controlling shareholder in Apexmic with around 83.2 per cent stake. The deal is subject to approval from Apexmic’s shareholders.
Set up in 2004 and located in Southeast China’s Zhuhai city, Apexmic is a provider of integrated circuit chips based on novel technologies such as CPU design and multi-core SoC chip design. Its pipeline products — cartridge chips, unismart printer chips — are widely used in defence, aerospace, healthcare, semiconductor, IoT, and internet security, among other sectors.
Per its press release on December 7, Apexmic has delivered an innovative chip product that can be used in Japan-based Epson’s newly-launched inkjet multifunction device EW-M530F.
“The deal can help Apexmic shore up business for industrial-accessed microcontroller unit (MCU) chips and IoT security-focused SoC chips,” said the company in the filing.
In addition, it will also advance Zhuhai city’s developments in integrated circuits and high-end printing equipment, it claims.
In September this year, Zhuhai municipal government released a policy to ramp up efforts to nurture its IC industry and targets a market size of 100 billion yuan ($15 billion) by 2025, according to Zhuhai government’s official website.
ICF is a 138.7 billion yuan ($21 billion) semiconductor fund co-launched by China Development Bank Capital, China Tobacco, China Mobile, and others in 2014. In October last year, ICF II was set up with a registered capital of 204.2 billion yuan ($31 billion) by 27 marquee investors such as Ministry of Finance, China Development Bank Capital, and Beijing E-Town.
Some of its portfolio companies include Unisoc, SmartSens, and SMIC.