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If it were up to you...

Posted:? Mar 21, 2008 1:29 AM


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...what would you change about, or introduce to, the business/research ecosystem in the Philippines to spur local semiconductor design activities?
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Reply:If it were up to you...

Posted:? Mar 25, 2008 1:25 PM


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The message below quotes ForumWatch's post.
...what would you change about, or introduce to, the business/research ecosystem in the Philippines to spur local sem......

- better tax incentive perhaps? investors always look for the best deal, and right now, China and Vietnam seems to be offering the best deals.

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(3) Reply:If it were up to you... Posted:? Apr 16, 2008 2:47 PM


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Industry-research tie-ups. Have academic projects conducted in partnership with industry players. This is a symbiotic relationship, it helps the academe gain access to the latest tools as provided by the chip design houses (saves them the cost) and at the same time,, companies can look up potential partners in research (facilitating long-term partnerships and continuous design innovation), as well as employees to hire in terms of the grads. :-)
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(4) Reply:If it were up to you... Posted:? May 16, 2008 11:01 PM


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Filipinos starting to design chips

By Dennis Posadas

While many people know that Filipinos can design and develop good quality software, very few people know that Filipinos are capable of designing microchips.
For the uninitiated, these microchips are those black plastic things mounted on the green PC boards you see inside computers. If you open those plastic packages, you will see a thin sliver of glass, actually a piece of silicon. And if you look closely enough with a powerful microscope, you will see some lines and patterns etched on the piece of silicon.
These lines and patterns, are actually microcircuits. On an Intel Pentium microprocessor, for example, there are several million transistors. These chips are extremely complex, requiring teams of designers and test engineers to insure that these are designed and built to work in various conditions.
Multinationals like Intel, Rohm, Canon, and some small firms do some aspects of chip design here. The University of the Philippines Electrical Engineering department has a chip design laboratory where students take turns on the workstations round the clock, and send their designs to a wafer fab in Taiwan for actual fabrication. Other local universities like De La Salle, Ateneo, USC and Mapua are also introducing chip design programs for their electronics engineering departments.
I spoke with Vic Gruet, who runs a small chip design firm at the UP Ayala Technopark called Symphony Consulting, about the state of chip design in the Philippines. Vic, a Wharton and Moore School double degree holder from the University of Pennsylvania, also heads the Electronics Industries Association of the Philippines, Inc. Vic gave me an overview of their current state and plans for the future:

Vic said that there are roughly 600 to 700 chip design engineers in the Philippines. Around six to seven companies that he knows of are engaged in IC design -- Intel, Rohm (Japan), Canon, Lexmark, Sanyo, BitMicro, and Tsukiden. The locals, like EAZIX (Ayala IMI), Blue Chip (Ateneo), and Symphony, are also going there. These chip design engineers were trained mostly in UP Diliman, though -- La Salle, Ateneo, San Carlos, St Louis, among others -- are trying to develop their own chip design programs. Many of the large companies also train their staff in-house. The Department of Science and Technology’s (DoST) Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) is also a source of chip designers.

In July 2004, Vic said that they sought the help of the BoI/DTI and the Manila Economic Cooperation Office (MECO) in Taiwan, to link up with the Taiwan Semiconductor Industry Promotion Office (SIPO), that is affiliated with the prestigious Taiwanese research center, Industrial Technology Research Institute or ITRI.
Also in 2004, ITRI officials, and Johnson Yang, who is from a prominent Taiwan property development firm came here accompanied by representatives from Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs.
In May 2005, representatives from DoST, SEIPI, Board of Investments, attended a Taiwan-Asia IT summit to build relationships. This was followed by a 10-man delegation from Taiwan, including those from their prestigious research center, ITRI, and from their universities. They visited our chip design centers and semiconductor companies like UP, ASTI, IMI Ayala and PSi Technologies, and agreed that collaboration may be beneficial to both countries.
In December 2005, Taiwan sent two instructors to hold a training course in chip design layout. Eighteen local engineers attended, including students from UP and Ateneo.
The Taiwanese instructors commented that Filipino chip design engineers "easily pick up skills and learn very fast," Vic said.

Because wafer fabs cost around $3 billion to build these days, it is probably unlikely (though not impossible) for these to be done here. Maybe prototyping fabs will happen here, bigger versions of the fab equipment that they have at the UP National Institute of Physics.
But because these contract wafer fabs (or foundries) are only two hours away by plane in Taiwan, the so-called "fabless" chip companies and design service companies can exist here. These are design firms that design and market their own chips or are contracted by big companies like IBM, Sony, Philips, etc. to design custom chips, or their subsections.
These designs are then sent to places like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. (TSMC) or Chartered Semiconductor in Singapore who fabricate the chips.
IC design services are the electronics engineers’ equivalent of back office designs in architectural and engineering design services, or BPO in other fields.
Vic says that they are "working with DoST, DTI, UP, and expatriate Filipinos to bring to the Philippines chip industry practitioners to help beef up our marketing and sales efforts, and improve our design business process. We also have to set up a way of sharing expensive IC design software tools."
Although they are hampered by the nondisclosure agreements that some industry engineers who want to teach have to deal with, nevertheless, with concentrated attention and pooling of limited resources, Vic feels that we can make a go at it.
This May 2006, some of our local chip design and semiconductor test companies will be manning a booth at the SemiTech 2006 Conference in Taipei, the largest exhibit conference for the semiconductor industry.
Hopefully, their quiet efforts will get them noticed, and attract more companies to consider designing their chips here

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(5) Reply:If it were up to you... Posted:? May 27, 2008 8:35 AM

Author:Jose Jr

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Provide tax free incentives for foreign companies to set up semiconductor design centers in the Philippines.
Improve local transportation and communication infrastructures. Do away with all the bureacratic red tape that is common in the Philippines today.
Provide tax free incentives to local companies to set up research and design IC centers in the Philippines.
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(6) Reply:If it were up to you... Posted:? Jun 10, 2008 4:53 PM


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The message below quotes Chk's post.
...what would you change about, or introduce to, the business/research ecosystem in the Philippines to spur local sem......

with the current global business climate, i believe this will be the most sensible thing for this government to do...

me_myself_and_i edited at Jun 10, 2008 4:56 PM
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