Think Australia can’t make computer stuff? These ASX electronics makers say otherwise
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It’s not widely known, but Australia built the world’s fourth computer back in 1949.
The CSIR Mark 1 computer was a wonder of its time and — among other things — is known as the first computer anywhere to play music.
Unfortunately by the mid-1950s it was still the only computer in Australia — and we have never since been able to develop a computer hardware industry.
Nevertheless, there are a handful of successful computer chip and electronics makers in Australia — including about 20 or so listed on the ASX.
Our table below shows ASX small caps building digital hardware ranging from data storage to processing chips that function like the human brain to Internet-Of-Things sensors that identify cracks in planes.
(The ASX also has some successful gadget makers such as earbud maker Nuheara and smartwatch maker MGM Wireless — but here we mostly focus on companies making chips and electronic components.)
Over the past year, these 18 computer component stocks have risen, on average, 15.5 per cent in share price for a market cap in excess of $2 billion.
>> Scroll down for a list of ASX stocks that makes computer chips or electronic components
Data storage is perhaps the hottest of the trends. Weebit Nano (ASX:WBT) and 4DS Memory (ASX:4DS) are the two strongest performers.
Weebit Nano hopes its technology will allow semiconductor memory elements to become faster, more reliable, more energy efficient and more cost-effective. A semiconductor is a material that conducts electricity not as well as a conductor — gold, copper — but better than an insulator, such as glass.
It works with ReRAM, an emerging technology that combines the advantages of RAM and Flash, two more traditional types of memory.
Its shares are down in recent months — but still up 221 per cent for the year at 4.5c.
Meanwhile, 4DS Memory is also working with ReRAM, but more specifically their technology is known as the 4DS Interface Switching ReRAM technology, and it says it is well positioned to meet the massive memory demands of the future.
4DS is up sharply over the past month with no explanation.
For some companies, it’s not even an elongated turnaround before results start to flow. Audinate (ASX:AD8) and Pivotal Systems (ASX:PVS) are two examples of companies who’ve seen positive share price movement within 18 months of listing.
Audinate listed on the ASX in June last year, and in the last 12 months its shares have shot up 127 per cent to $3.74.
The tech company provides computer chips for audio networking. Its technology has been used by the likes of Prince and Jamiroquai and is found in some 1100 different audio products, including big names like Bose, Sennheiser, Sony and Yamaha.
Pivotal, which makes software for making computer chips, had a strong first day on the stock exchange last month. In the short amount of time since, its shares have spiked 56 per cent, hitting $2.91 and valuing the company at over $315 million.
However, it hasn’t quite all been good news.
Ten of the 18 companies are trending down over the past 12 months.
Kollakorn Group (ASX:KKL), which makes technology for asset identification and security, has lost 82 per cent over the past year.
BrainChip (ASX:BRN), which makes accelerated artificial intelligence hardware and software, is down 6 per cent for the yeart — though the stock has been rising in recent months.
Here’s a list of ASX stocks that makes computer chips or electronic components: