Samsung Sets Nano Benchmark

We know from our ongoing search for nano developments and early opportunities that commercial applications are being launched worldwide. But our ears perked up when we heard that Samsung, a South Korean industrial conglomerate, had earned an estimated $779 million in revenue since its nano additive's 2003 launch.

Being Foolish investors, however, we compare that claim to what we know about publicly quoted American "nano" companies. Any group of 10 together would be hard-pressed to muster even $100 million in revenue from their nano products in the past year.

Consider Nanophase Technologies (Nasdaq: NANX  ) , which recorded product revenue of only $1.28 million in its last quarter. Indeed, the company has not even sold $100 million worth of nano materials since it went public in 1997.

Nano toolmaker FEI (Nasdaq: FEIC  ) recorded $170.8 million in product sales for the last six months. We estimate that less than 10% is from the company's nano tools.

The companies above are not direct comparisons or even in the same nano sector, but their performance further highlights the giant strides Samsung claims to have made. A company can move the research of nano applications into the commercial arena and gain huge revenues from it.

Samsung's nano sales are too insignificant for such a large company to interest investors. But it reminds us that nano products are being developed worldwide and that we must stay on top of evolving events.

Just as eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY  ) expands across the globe, a clear example of extraordinary growth, the same will take place in the nano universe. As we beat the bushes and scour the nano landscape looking for those growth opportunities in this nascent technology, we'll keep an eye on the U.S. market and abroad. We've already been warned: The competition doesn't have to be a U.S. company.

If high-growth sectors interest you, then check out David Gardner's newest newsletter,Motley Fool Rule Breakers.

Carl Wherrett owns Nanophase stock, and John Yelovich owns shares of eBay. You can reach them by email.

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