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Creative Technology soars 21% after snagging next-gen audio deal

Creative Technology CEO Sim Wong Hoo with Super X-Fi products in hand. (PHOTO: Joseph Nair/Yahoo News Singapore)

By Yoolim Lee and Abhishek Vishnoi

(Bloomberg) -- Creative Technology Ltd.’s shares surged 21%, their biggest gain in more than four months, after the company said Taiwanese computer maker Clevo Co. will integrate its Super X-Fi headphone technology in its next-generation gaming laptops.

With Clevo, Creative is moving a step closer to the goal of expanding the user base for Super X-Fi, a new piece of audio technology that founder and Chief Executive Officer Sim Wong Hoo introduced after years of research and more than $100 million of investment.

Sim, a household name in Singapore for his Sound Blaster audio cards, once competed with Apple Inc. and Steve Jobs in portable music players.

Creative has been exploring ways to increase usage and make money from its invention. In January, it said it’s ready to work with original equipment manufacturers to incorporate its headphone technology into their products. Sim said in an interview in February he’s targeting 50 million Super X-Fi customers in two years, including free users.

“My goal is to have every headphone user enjoy Super X-Fi,’’ Sim said during the interview.

The technology, which is available in headphones or as a headphone amplifier, makes sound appear like it’s coming from multiple speakers placed at a distance around the listener, rather than from the headphone itself. Creative calls it “holographic audio.”

Users take a picture of their face and ear shape on the Super X-Fi app to create a tailored listening experience. Creative researched how thousands of different people perceived sound -- by, among other things, putting microphones in the subjects’ ears in a studio -- and fed the results into an artificial intelligence engine.

Creative’s shares traded at S$4.12 at 11:10 a.m. in Singapore, up 20% from Thursday.

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P