Saitek was founded in 1979 by Swiss technologist Eric Winkler as a manufacturer of electronic chess games. By the 1990s the company had distribution and design offices in the United States, Germany, France and the United Kingdom, as well as a factory in China. In 1994, Saitek acquired Hegner & Glaser's successful Mephisto line of chess computers. Saitek diversified into PC peripherals, focusing on game controllers for flight simulation, driving and first-person gaming. Saitek has also expanded into PC peripherals, with an emphasis on input, connectivity and multimedia. In 2005, Saitek launched a high fidelity audio product line for PC & iPod. Retail audit data shows Saitek to be the second largest brand in PC games controllers and one of the fastest growing brands in mice and keyboards.
In 1997 the group began Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS), designing and building electronic products for OEM customers world-wide from its facility in China. Now under separate private ownership, it employs some two and a half thousand people, including one hundred technologists in design and development, and is careful to comply with international employment and environmental standards.
In 2007 Saitek was acquired at a price of $30 million by Mad Catz. Following the buy out, Saitek’s North American operations were transferred to Mad Catz’s San Diego offices.
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