James Li 720
James Li, General Manager for Smart Antenna’s operations in China, at the Suzhou testing facility (cold chamber in the background).

University of Birmingham spinout, Smart Antenna Technologies Ltd (SAT), has appointed James Li as General Manager for the company’s operations in China.

James will be based at Smart Antenna’s new office and testing facility at the National Innovation Park in Suzhou, China. The company intends to have up to 50 people at the facility within 2 years.

The facility was acquired by Smart Antenna in April this year as part of a planned expansion into the Far East. It has been fitted with testing and production equipment, and will be the focal point for the company’s global ambitions for its antenna system which can reduce antenna system sizes by 35% or more. The office will oversee volume production, provide local customer support and further extend Smart Antenna’s R&D capability.

The company already has a presence in the mobile devices market, and intends to address the Internet of Things (IoT) via a whole new product range by incorporating Smart Antenna’s leading edge technology, which is being developed out of its Taiwan office.

James joined Smart Antenna from Pulse Electronics where he was R&D Director and had responsibility for new product development in consumer device and infrastructure antennae.

James commented on his new role: “It’s great honour to join the Smart Antenna family, a very innovative business developing antenna systems for laptops, smart phones, electric vehicles and the Internet of Things. With more than 80 patents in our portfolio, I believe we can create fantastic value for our customers."

Smart Antenna originally span out from the University of Birmingham with a mission to commercialise technology developed by founder Dr Sampson Hu while he was studying for his PhD at the university.

Sampson founded the company in 2013 and since then he has grown the skills and scope of the business from a small team to an organisation now operating on a global scale, with high-profile names in the tech industry being potential prospects for its technology.

The company has received financial backing from the University’s Spinout Investment fund, the Senetas Corporation, and Mercia Technologies PLC. It has offices in the UK, China and Taiwan.

  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 5,000 international students from over 150 countries.
  • Smart Antenna Technologies was founded in 2013 by Dr Sampson Hu, who has been working on the core technology since 2009, while completing his PhD at the University of Birmingham. SAT was the first company to receive investment from the University of Birmingham’s Spinout Investment fund in January 2017. Smart Antenna Technologies is based at the Birmingham Research Park, Birmingham, UK, and has offices in Taipei, Taiwan and Suzhou, China. Smart Antenna Techologies is backed by Mercia Technologies PLC, a national group focussed on the funding and scaling of innovative technology businesses with high growth potential from the UK regions.
  • University of Birmingham Enterprise supports academics who want to innovate, take their ideas to market, work with businesses and social enterprises, or enrich their professional lives by doing academic consultancy projects. We do this by providing enterprise training, funding, office and laboratory space, and a full technology transfer service. University of Birmingham Enterprise also manages the incubation services and facilities at the Birmingham Research Park.
  • For more information on technology transfer and Intellectual Property at the University, visit: www.birmingham.ac.uk/enterprise. The University of Birmingham’s patented technologies are also showcased on the IN-PART partnering website.