‘We’re not isolated from the world,’ says China-based laser display tech firm

First on CNBC |  WED, JAN 4 2023


Li Yi of Appotronics discusses how the company overcomes the perception that Chinese tech poses a national security threat to the West.

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Sri Jegarajah:

That's good to hear, Mr. Li. But I've got to say, it's very, very challenging, isn't it, in terms of the perception issue. So how do you and your colleagues overcome this perception that Chinese technology, whether it is ZTE, whether it is ByteDance, poses a national security threat in the eyes of many European governments or the United States? How do you get around that perception?

Li Yi:

I think the most important thing is IP, right, intellectual property. You know, you should follow, you know, we will follow the rules. You know, we will be complying to all those legal regulations. So for us, like, you know, for the laser projection, people in the industry know us. We are the cause of, the original inventor or the true inventor. So we do have a lot of IPs, you know, developed on our own. Meanwhile, we also collaborate with others, you know, we are not isolated from the world. So people think we should probably be isolated. We're still working with our partner like Texas Instrument, and we also work with BMW, right? It does add a lot of difficulty, challenging for travel, like, you know, the Covid control. So I have to go to Germany through US and back to US to China. So that's not the typical way you would travel. Right. But anyway, we can manage that.

Martin Soong:

Okay. Listen, Li, you know, I am fascinated and also curious and I'm really excited looking forward to seeing what you're going to be displaying at the CES when it opens its doors in several hours at time. You mentioned your collaboration with BMW and using your laser technology to project images on not just dashboards or windscreens, but also side windows and the roofs of cars. What are you going to be displaying? I mean, and driving is already such a sort of hazardous proposition that, you know, having a heads-up display with what you need to know, speed, revs, etc., that's about as much as you need. I mean, how much you need to show?

Li Yi:

Well, that's the, you know, the beauty of technology, right? So you can create something people never imagined that you show to them. That's why we show in the BMW concept car, right? So we can test this on the floor and see what's the response from the user. For instance, like if you sit in an Uber and sit on the second row and you looks outside, you don't know, you know, what you are looking at, right? Then the side window can show some picture. You have cameras or you can use something like, so for the AR function, you can imagine you have really big AR glasses around you. So those are the things you know, I think it is fascinating, right? That's something really inspire us, trying to invent something which people have never seen.