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on Monday, 09 July 2018
in Business in China

International Leading IC Foundry’s Business Journey in China——An Interview with TowerJazz China Country Manager-Mr. Lei Qin

Q: Could you please introduce the business and the history of TowerJazz?

A: TowerJazz, the global specialty foundry leader, specializes in manufacturing analog integrated circuits for more than 300 customers worldwide in growing markets such as automotive, medical,industrial, consumer and aerospace and defense, among others. Currently TowerJazz’s main business in China focuses on serving fabless companies by offering a broad range of customizable process technologies, including SiGe BiCMOS and RF CMOS (SOI and bulk) for radio frequency and high performance analog (HPA)applications; CMOS image sensor (CIS); power management, including BCD and 700V and its patented Y-Flash, the leading solution for non-volatile memory (NVM)and mixed-signal CMOS.

The history of TowerJazz can be seen from the highlighted milestones below: 

  • 1993 Tower Semiconductor was founded in Israel with the facility acquisition of US National Semiconductor. Tower Semiconductor gained the capacity of producing 150mm wafers.  

  • 2004 Tower Semiconductor established a state-of-art facility in Israel, with the capacity of producing 200mm wafers, using advanced CMOS technology.

  • 2008 Tower Semiconductor and Jazz Semiconductor merged and officially launched as TowerJazz. The merger enabled the company to present a more comprehensive product portfolio and to doubled its customer base. 

  • 2014 TowerJazz finalized a joint venture with Panasonic initiating production in Asia, including 3 manufacturing facilities, which still supports some of the orders placed from China.

  • 2016 TowerJazz acquired Maxim Integrated wafer foundry in Texas, U.S.A. and increased production capacity by 28,000 wafers per month.

Q: When did you join the TowerJazz team? Why were you interested in TowerJazz?

A: I was appointed as China Country Manager in November 2010, the same year TowerJazz began operating in China through PTL’splatform.

Prior to joining TowerJazz, I spent five years with Grace Semiconductor as Sales Director of China region. Before Grace,I was Product Marketing Manager at Hua Hong NEC. I have always been working in the same industry due to my passion for semiconductors. I joined TowerJazz because I believed in TowerJazz’s advanced technology and saw the huge potential TowerJazz has in the Chinese IC market. 

Q:  What has been your greatest challenge since joining the team?

A: I think the biggest challenge I have faced is that when I joined TowerJazz, the brand was not well known in the Chinese market. Potential domestic clients were suspicious of a foreign wafer manufacturer, not to mention the fact that working with foreign companies means dealing with a language barrier.  Therefore,my primary goal right away was to build the brand awareness and reputation of TowerJazz among the potential Chinese clients. Thanks to my 10 years previous work experience and connection in the market, it didn’t take me long to build trust and excellent reputation.

The first step to building up our reputation was improving relationships with existing customers by offering local support. Successful stories of helping customers’ business growth are the most useful tools for convincing new customers to work with TowerJazz. The second step was to build a technical and customer support team in China. This allowed clients to access prompt support without any difficulties that language or time zone differences can cause. Finally, we actively participated in exhibitions and seminars and also promoted our Technical Global Symposium (TGS) . After a few years of efforts, TowerJazz has earned a reputation for quality in the industry.The orders keep coming in which is why the China market is one of the quickest growing markets among TowerJazz’s global portfolio.

Q: How have the PTL’s services/the role PTL team has played to support your business growth and operations in China?

A: As the China Country Manager, I have the mission of not only developing the market, but also managing the rapidly growing team at our Shanghai office. PTL Group’s HR and Finance teams have supported me to register and handle all the employees’ social insurance, pay roll, reimbursement and HR management in terms of recruiting, daily management,and contract termination. The PTL team not only supports the daily operation management, but also they serve as a bridge between our office and the TowerJazz headquarters. Through their unique advantage of having an international background, but operating locally in China, it enables their staff to have a deep and comprehensive understanding of companies operating in two or more cultural contexts.

One thing worth mentioning is that we used to share an office with PTL Group for many years. However, due to our team expansion and clients’ requirements, we had to search out new office space that fits our current and future needs. PTL’s HR & Admin team was very service-minded,flexible, and helped us throughout our search for the new office. They supported us in signing the leasing and renovation contracts and made sure that we didn’t miss a single detail. We are now happily relocated all thanks to PTL’s continual support. 

Q:  What has been your greatest challenge since joining the team?

A: According to the China Semiconductor Industry Association, China's Integrated Circuit (IC) market revenues represent 38% of the $102 billion worldwide IC industry market. The fabless business in China has grown rapidly and will continue to grow in the future. However, for international foundries, their biggest challenge is how to customize and localize their solutions and support according to Chinese clients’ requests. As a sales representative, you have to understand what the Chinese clients need and then translate that need into how you can utilize your company’s special technology to help these target clients.

International companies also need to realize the importance of localizing the sales and support personnel in China. A great Chinese sales manager can bridge what clients require and what the company can offer, in addition to coordinating the whole supply chain from sales forecast to manufacturing plan, and arranging pre-sales and after sales technical support. For important clients, conference calls are not enough in China; you will need to hold face to face meetings. This requires more than just a sales manager, and may require a trip or two from staff in the Headquarters. Luckily,China is a fascinating place to visit, especially for business! 

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