Thinfilm and SmartSign Align to Combat Counterfeit Products in Vietnam

NFC OpenSense™ technology delivers product authentication and consumer engagement capabilities to brand owners and government agencies

OSLO, Norway--()--Thin Film Electronics ASA (“Thinfilm”) (OSE: THIN.OL; OTCQX: TFECY), a global leader in printed electronics and smart systems, today announced a partnership with SmartSign, a leading provider of digital security products and other technology-based solutions in Southeast Asia. The companies are leveraging Thinfilm’s NFC OpenSense™ technology as a means of addressing rampant counterfeiting that currently exists in many Vietnamese markets, including wine and spirits, tobacco, and home health products.

“In a region that continues to be significantly impacted by fake products and illegal trade, SmartSign has been a leader in providing commercial anti-counterfeiting solutions to the Vietnamese market”

In delivering this next-generation anti-counterfeiting NFC solution throughout Vietnam, Thinfilm and SmartSign are initially focusing on the wine market in the wine/spirits segment, an industry that has been hit especially hard by fraud. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated in a 2014 report that “50% of all alcohol consumed in Vietnam is unrecorded,” a scenario which poses major health risks, creates unfair competition for legitimate businesses, and deprives the government of much needed tax revenues.

NFC OpenSense tags will help prevent these counterfeiting activities, as the proprietary technology allows the consumer, the brand, the retailer, and others throughout the supply chain to verify the authenticity of each bottle. A growing number of firms in the global wine industry have expressed interest in NFC OpenSense, including Australia-based Ferngrove Wines. Thinfilm, the G World Group and Ferngrove unveiled the world’s first “smart wine bottle” powered by printed electronics at Mobile World Congress Shanghai in 2015. The group is planning to launch field trials in 2016.

NFC OpenSense tags are thin, flexible labels that can detect a product’s “factory sealed” and “opened” states and wirelessly communicate contextual content with the tap of an NFC-enabled smartphone or device. The tags contain unique identifiers that make it possible for brands and government agencies to authenticate products and track them to the individual-item level using powerful software and analytics tools. In combination with the NFC OpenSense tags, SmartSign has developed a custom mobile app and back-end software to ultimately deliver a powerful end-to-end anti-counterfeiting solution.

Counterfeiting and illicit trade are pervasive in Vietnam, primarily due to high import taxes and the huge influx of fraudulent goods from neighboring China and Cambodia. Beyond wine and spirits, nearly one billion packages of counterfeit/illicit cigarettes are smuggled into the Vietnamese market each year. This figure represents nearly 25% of domestic consumption and costs the government more than US$200 million in lost taxes. The Vietnamese government recently established “Committee 389” to unite the Ministry of Commerce, the Customs Department, and the Police Department to proactively combat these increasing levels of product counterfeiting and illicit trade.

“In a region that continues to be significantly impacted by fake products and illegal trade, SmartSign has been a leader in providing commercial anti-counterfeiting solutions to the Vietnamese market,” said Davor Sutija, CEO for Thinfilm. “We’re pleased to partner with SmartSign and also excited that NFC OpenSense will play a key role in helping to mitigate these serious issues in Vietnam.”

Thinfilm and SmartSign will be demonstrating the solution at an Anti-Counterfeiting Workshop featuring NFC technology and SMS labels in March in Hanoi. Thinfilm will also be demonstrating other technologies in its product portfolio, including NFC Speedtap™ and Thinfilm Memory™. It is expected that the event will be attended by several government agencies, including the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Customs Department, and the Police Department.

“The counterfeiting issue in Vietnam has grown steadily over the past several years and has severely impacted the country’s ability to attract investment,” said SmartSign’s CEO, Nguyen Hoang Vu. "This solution enables the Vietnamese government to increase tax revenue and protect companies against unfair competition from illicit trade in counterfeit products. It also allows businesses to combat the proliferation of fraudulent products and, at the same time, provide relevant information to their valued customers through their smartphones."

About Thin Film Electronics ASA

Thinfilm is a leader in the development and commercialization of printed electronics and smart systems. The first to commercialize printed, rewritable memory, the Company is creating printed systems that include memory, sensing, display, and wireless communication (NFC), all at a low cost unmatched by traditional electronic technologies. Thinfilm’s roadmap integrates technology from a strong and growing ecosystem of partners to enable the Internet of Everything by bringing intelligence to disposable goods.

Thin Film Electronics ASA (“Thinfilm”) is a publicly listed Norwegian company with headquarters in Oslo, Norway; product development and production in Linköping, Sweden; product development, production, and business development in San Jose, California, USA; and sales offices in the United States, Hong Kong and Singapore. For more information, visit www.thinfilm.no.

About SmartSign

SmartSign is a leading provider of digital security products and technology-based solutions in Southeast Asia. The Company is developing certificate authority solutions that are effective, practical, and consistent with market demands for its customers, the community and shareholders. It is also one of the first enterprises in Vietnam to address the Public Key encryption infrastructure market, and has introduced several security products in an effort to socialize information technology in Vietnam, including Vina CA. Vina CA is a Public CA provider, approved by Ministry of Information and Communications. It began offering CA services in March 2013, and today is one of the leading providers in the market. Vina CA has operations in 3 major cities: Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Danang.

In early 2015, SmartSign introduced an SMS Anti-Counterfeit Stamp to the market which, in collaboration with Thinfilm, is now being expanded to an NFC-based solution. For more information, visit www.smartstamp.com.vn / www.smartsign.com.vn.

Contacts

Thin Film Electronics ASA
Bill Cummings, +1 408-503-7312
VP, Marketing & Communications
bill.cummings@thinfilm.no
or
Blanc & Otus for Thin Film Electronics ASA
Jennifer Smith, +1 415-856-5152
jsmith@blancandotus.com
www.blancandotus.com

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