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Is Altium a Chinese company?

Altium’s Nationality: Exploring the Origins and Ownership of the Electronic Design Software Giant


Altium is a well-known name in the world of electronic design automation (EDA) software, providing tools for printed circuit board (PCB) design, simulation, and manufacturing. With its global presence and a user base spanning various industries, a common question arises: is Altium a Chinese company? In this article, we will delve into Altium’s nationality, exploring its origins, ownership, and global footprint to provide a comprehensive understanding of the company’s roots and current status.

The Birth of Altium: An Australian Origin Story

Altium’s journey began in 1985 in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. The company was founded under the name “Protel” by Nicholas Martin, an electronics engineer who recognized the need for more accessible and user-friendly PCB design tools. Protel’s early software offerings, such as Protel PCB and Protel Schematic, quickly gained popularity among electronics engineers and hobbyists alike.

As the company grew, it underwent a series of name changes and acquisitions. In 2001, Protel Systems Pty Ltd changed its name to Altium Limited, reflecting its expanding product portfolio and global ambitions. The name “Altium” was derived from the Latin word “altus,” meaning “high” or “profound,” signifying the company’s commitment to providing high-quality, innovative solutions for the electronics industry.

Global Expansion and Acquisitions

Throughout its history, Altium has focused on expanding its global presence and strengthening its position in the EDA market. The company has established offices in various countries, including the United States, China, Europe, and Japan, to better serve its international customer base.

In addition to organic growth, Altium has also made strategic acquisitions to enhance its product offerings and technology capabilities. Some notable acquisitions include:

  1. Tasking (2001) – A Netherlands-based company specializing in embedded software development tools.
  2. Protel International Pty Ltd (2002) – The original Protel company, which was acquired to consolidate ownership and intellectual property rights.
  3. Morfik Technology (2010) – An Australian company focused on developing web-based application design tools.
  4. Perception Software (2014) – A US-based company known for its advanced PCB visualization and collaboration software.

These acquisitions have allowed Altium to diversify its product portfolio and provide a more comprehensive suite of tools for electronics designers worldwide.

Altium’s Ownership Structure

Altium Limited is a publicly-traded company listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) under the ticker symbol “ALU.” The company’s ownership structure is diverse, with a mix of institutional investors, individual shareholders, and company insiders.

As of 2021, some of the largest shareholders of Altium include:

Shareholder Ownership Percentage
T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. 9.4%
Hyperion Asset Management 5.5%
Vanguard Group 4.0%
Blackrock, Inc. 3.5%
Eley Griffiths Group Pty Ltd 3.4%

It is important to note that while Altium has a significant presence in China, with a research and development center in Shanghai and a strong user base in the country, the company’s ownership remains primarily Australian and international.

Altium’s Presence in China

Altium’s relationship with China is primarily based on its market presence and customer base rather than ownership. The company has recognized the importance of the Chinese market for its growth and has made significant investments to establish itself as a key player in the country’s EDA industry.

In 2002, Altium opened its first office in China, located in Shanghai. Since then, the company has expanded its presence, establishing additional offices and research and development centers in various Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shenzhen, and Chengdu. These facilities focus on software development, customer support, and localization efforts to better serve the unique needs of the Chinese market.

Altium’s success in China can be attributed to several factors, including:

  1. Growing electronics industry – China has emerged as a global hub for electronics manufacturing, with a thriving ecosystem of companies involved in PCB design, fabrication, and assembly.
  2. Localized solutions – Altium has invested in developing localized versions of its software, supporting the Chinese language and addressing specific design requirements and standards prevalent in the country.
  3. Strategic partnerships – The company has formed partnerships with Chinese universities, research institutions, and industry associations to promote electronic design education and foster innovation.
  4. Affordable pricing – Altium has introduced more affordable pricing models and regional licenses to cater to the diverse needs of Chinese customers, ranging from small businesses to large enterprises.

Despite its strong presence in China, Altium remains an Australian company with a global outlook, serving customers in more than 130 countries worldwide.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. Is Altium owned by a Chinese company?
    No, Altium is not owned by a Chinese company. It is an Australian-based company listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).

  2. Does Altium have offices in China?
    Yes, Altium has several offices and research and development centers in China, including Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, and Chengdu.

  3. Why is Altium popular in China?
    Altium’s popularity in China can be attributed to the country’s growing electronics industry, the company’s localized solutions, strategic partnerships, and affordable pricing models.

  4. Is Altium’s software available in Chinese?
    Yes, Altium offers localized versions of its software in Chinese to better serve the needs of its Chinese customers.

  5. Does Altium’s presence in China influence its ownership?
    No, Altium’s presence in China does not influence its ownership. The company remains an Australian-based entity with a diverse ownership structure comprising institutional investors, individual shareholders, and company insiders.


In conclusion, Altium is not a Chinese company but rather an Australian-based multinational corporation with a strong presence in the global EDA market. Founded in Tasmania, Australia, in 1985, Altium has grown through organic expansion and strategic acquisitions to become a leading provider of PCB design software worldwide.

While Altium has a significant presence in China, with offices and research and development centers in various cities, its ownership remains primarily Australian and international. The company’s success in China is driven by its localized solutions, strategic partnerships, and ability to cater to the unique needs of the Chinese electronics industry.

As Altium continues to innovate and expand its product offerings, it remains committed to serving its global customer base, including those in China, while maintaining its Australian roots and international ownership structure. The company’s ongoing success in the EDA market is a testament to its ability to adapt to the evolving needs of the electronics industry and provide cutting-edge solutions for PCB design and manufacturing.