Philippines spawns homegrown IC design

The recently concluded 10th e-Services Global Sourcing
Conference and Exhibition saw a marked participation of domestic
start-ups doing chip design on a global scale signaling hope for the
Philippine semiconductor industry outside manufacturing,
according to the Department of Trade and Industry?s Center for
International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM).
In the past, majority of Filipino chip designers work for large
multinational companies, however, following the massive lay-offs
and worldwide recession of recent years, ex-Intel IC design
engineers formed together a Filipino operation involved in the
design and layout outsourcing for a number of US-based memory
chips companies.
?Our goal is to keep our competencies and encourage jobs locally
for our engineering graduates,? said Robert Minguez II, president
and senior design engineer of Xinyx Design. ?An IC design industry
is possible in the Philippines because Filipino engineers are
capable of highly specialized and high value services.?
Global research firm Gartner reported that semiconductor revenue
would rebound in 2010 from sales decline of more than 10% in
2009. Same study pointed to worldwide semiconductor revenue
reaching US$255 billion this year.
?In the long-term, we want to put the Philippines on the map of IT
design services. Filipinos have the skills sets. We can become
good IT designers and IC layout engineers,? added Minguez.
Meantime, another Philippine IC design company APAC IC
recently collaborated with leading US-based software and IP
design firm Synopsys, Inc. The company is adopting custom
designer tool for its layout engineers in a bid to meet the demands
of their diverse international clients.
?We want to grow our IC physical design business and contribute
to establishing the Philippines as a center of semiconductor
excellence,? said APAC IC CEO and president Jerome Avondo.
?We want to leverage on the Filipino talent and resources at
excellent value with high quality work, with no long lock-in periods.?
For several years, Filipino software engineers have been doing
70% of flash memory chip design for big companies. These flash
memory chips were used by global brands including Nokia,
Samsung, and Blackberry.
?A lot of people are excited about the features of these phones but
they do not realize that a good chunk of it was done by Filipinos
here in the Philippines,? said Avondo.
On the other hand, local company Golf Electronics Corporation
developed a cost saving solution and eco-friendly hardware ?Plug
and Pair? that converts wired devices (e.g. keyboards, mouse,
game controllers, PC remotes) into wireless. According to Danilo
Lamaroza, technical director of Golf Electronics, ?The technology is
rechargeable thus eliminating the need for placing battery
compartments and making major modifications to the plastic

The product won the 2010 e-Services Awards Groundbreaking
Technology of the Year. ?This full custom IC integrates the
charging and the protection of the on board lithium battery, the
power management, the device serial ID management and
interface functions," he added.
?Our clients are electronics or plastics OEMs and ODMs locally
and abroad. We hope to encourage local manufacturers in
electronics and in the plastics industry to produce competitive HID
products at par with global standards,? he further said.
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