Foldable Screen Coating Company Cathay Photonics Eyeing $1.5 Million In New Funding Round

Foldable Smartphone
The Samsung Galaxy Fold phone is shown on a screen at Samsung Electronics' Unpacked event in San Francisco (Photo: Reuters / Stephen Nellis)

Chinese firm Cathay Photonics, a specialized company that produces its own patented plastic screen protectors, is now seeking major funding via pre-series A financing. The Hong Kong-based company is aiming to raise around $1.5 million, which it plans to use to further develop its scratch-proof sapphire on glass and plastic technology.

The Chinese firm apparently sees a big potential in the application of its technology given the recent rise of foldable mobile phones. The first generation of mobile phones, which were introduced by companies such as Samsung and Huawei, did not come with any kind of screen protectors.

The lack of any kind of protection on the bendable screens made them very fragile and prone to damage, which is likely why most companies have yet to released commercially available units.

Samsung previously unveiled its first-generation foldable phone called the Samsung Galaxy Fold. Huawei then followed with the unveiling of the Huawei Mate X. Due to issues with the foldable screens, both companies decided to delay their product's commercial release.

According to Cathay Photonics CEO and founder Cheah Kok Wai, the technology his company provides should help protect future bendable plastic screens on bendable phones. The company's technology also provides an additional layer of protection to mitigate wear during contact folding and unfolding, essentially extending the lifespan of the devices.

The company revealed that it had already broken through its 200,000 folds target for its proprietary screen coating. Cathay Photonics expects its technology to be installed in second-generation foldable devices, which it believes should become commercially available by the second half of 2020.

The executive also explained that it plans to use the capital that will be raised by the funding round to expand its workforce and laboratories. Cheah revealed that they are currently exploring options to place part of their operations within the Greater Bay Area. The location apparently gives them access to major manufacturing establishments in Hong Kong, Macau, and the nine cities in Guangdong province.

Cheah clarified that they will likely not be establishing themselves as a manufacturer and supplier, but will instead be focusing on being a research and development company. The firm plans to simply license its technologies to original equipment manufacturers and provide them with testing, engineering, and manufacturing advice.

Cathay Photonics' funding plan comes as the company signs an agreement with Japan's Nagase to use the former's sapphire coating technology. The company also signed a separate agreement for the mass production of a watch glass coating using the same foldable sapphire technology.

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