Global Sources
EE Times AsiaWebsite
Stay in touch with EE Times Asia
Asia Trends Home?/?eeForums?/?Talk Shop?/?Asia Trends
Discuss electronics design and business trends in Asia.
Hot Post Recommend
Post new message? Print ?thread

Philippine IC design

Posted:? May 16, 2008 10:33 PM


Level:? Interns

Points:? 360

Send Message

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.

Reply with quote? Reply? Watch? Comment?
EETimes Asia : Employing energy harvesters for wireless sensors

Reply: Philippine IC design

Posted:? Feb 14, 2010 11:13 PM

Author:Visitor null

Timex Cebu made the early models of Timex Datalink when Windows 95 was launch. Cebuano Engineers took part in developing the later versions.

In 1983, DLSU ECE made history in growing the First Silicon Crystal used in wafer fabrication, with the help of Toshiba Japan.

With the help of the internet cafes, Filipinos engineers can not just develop the "I-love-you" virus. It can be world leader in firmware development. Internet webinars are free:
Free Continuing Education and E-learning for Electrical Engineers and Architects
Reply with quote? Reply? Comment?
EETimes Asia : Imagination, Elvees to churn out video analytics SoC platform
(3) Reply: Philippine IC design Posted:? Jun 17, 2011 10:02 AM


Level:? Interns

Points:? 306

Send Message

product chain is key for one product or one serive. if there are not some product design companies and software companies, it's high risk for IC manufature.
Reply with quote? Reply? Comment?
EETimes Asia : NXP takes the lead in automotive chip space
(4) Reply: Philippine IC design Posted:? Jun 20, 2011 10:40 PM


Level:? Interns

Points:? 360

Send Message

Soon, ‘Rizal’ will run computers, electronics
By Tarra Quismundo
Philippine Daily Inquirer 1:03 am | Sunday, June 19th, 2011 11share251
In an incarnation that can fit on your thumb, “Rizal” will someday run your mobile phone, music player and laptop.

A team of Filipino design engineers has embarked on an ambitious project to create the first all-Filipino made microprocessor, honoring national hero Jose Rizal with an invention that they hope would put the Philippines on the technology map.

Filipino technology firm BiTMICRO Networks Inc. is in the design phase of the Rizal processor, a chip envisioned to become the first commercial all-Filipino made processor that would run a multitude of devices.

“What we’re hoping to do is, once we’re done, we can show a success story. More investors will come to the Philippines and invest. That’s the whole idea. Because then, they would believe that, hey, the Philippines can really do it and they’re capable,” said Rey Bruce, BiTMICRO chair and CEO.

“We want a hero behind our product. Hopefully, we could have a product that will be equally known worldwide,” said the CEO’s nephew, Bobbet Bruce, BiTMICRO vice president for corporate strategy.

Chips are the brains of your everyday electronic device—from computers and smart phones to digital cameras and air-conditioning control panels.

The Rizal processor is the first attempt at developing such a chip for BiTMICRO, a firm that designs and creates customized all-weather computer data storage devices like the solid-state drive (SSD).

More stable and sturdy

Considered more stable than mechanical disc drives found in your typical desktop or net book, the SSD is an industry-grade storage device used in the field by clients like foreign militaries, aircraft maker Boeing and Nasa (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) to withstand different field conditions and varying temperatures.

The firm, established by five Batangas-born Bruce brothers in Silicon Valley in 1995, has made it a tradition to give its products Filipino names, among them, Luneta (Logical Unifier of Extensive Transfer Arrays), and Edsa (Enhanced Datamover and Storage Accelerator.

“The product itself we want to be competitive. We want something that’s a Filipino brand fully made in the Philippines. I think that equally as important as having a branded product is the opportunity that we’re giving our engineers in the Philippines to build this,” Bruce told the Inquirer at the firm’s office at The Fort in Taguig City.

The project is part of BiTMICRO’s initiative to establish a training center that would hone the skills of the country’s engineering students, graduates and professors by providing the actual tools used in the industry that simulate on-the-job experience.

The firm is working with the government, the private sector and top universities on a project envisioned to roll out its first prototype in one year at an estimated minimum cost of $2 million (roughly P90 million) for development and another $2.5 million (roughly P112 million) for fabrication.

Project ‘Team Philippines’

BiTMICRO’s partners include global IT firm Synopsis, US firm Texas Instruments, University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University, Don Bosco Technical College, Mapua Institute of Technology, Mindanao State University, University of San Carlos and First Asia Institute of Technology and Humanities, among others.

Also taking part in the “Team Philippines” project are the Department of Science and Technology, Congressional Commission on Science and Technology and Engineering, and Department of Trade and Industry.

While the design and development of processors is well advanced around the world, the Philippines has yet to create and patent its own commercially viable chip.

With the continuing development of more powerful devices, the chip market is considered robust as use of the intellectual property costs millions of dollars. For instance, a laptop developer has to pay for licensing and royalties to use a particular processor in his device, said Rey Bruce.

“The processor is a very mature IP (intellectual property). It’s been around ever since the computer started. But there are still some areas where we can probably excel,” he said.

“It has to be better or at least equivalent to those already in existence. We can’t sell something that the others are already selling. We have to be better and affordable, not necessarily cheaper,” said Bruce, who moved the firm’s research and development operations to the Philippines in 2003.

Tags: BiTMICRO Networks Inc. , Computer , Electronics , Jose Rizal , technology
Reply with quote? Reply? Comment?
EETimes Asia : Phoseon to demo latest UV LED curing sol'n
(5) Reply: Philippine IC design Posted:? Nov 7, 2011 9:45 PM


Level:? Interns

Points:? 360

Send Message

BiTMICRO spearheads Philippines microelectronics design center October 17, 2011 - BUSINESS WIRE -- The Philippino brothers behind BiTMICRO in Silicon Valley and its Philippine subsidiary BiTMICRO Networks International Inc. have created the Bruce Institute of Technology (BIT) microelectronics and storage system training institute for the Philippines. The Philippines is engaged in microelectronics assembly, fabrication, and manufacturing, noted Rey Bruce, chairman and CEO of BiTMICRO and one of the Bruce brothers. BIT will emphasize microchip design and development. Synopsys and Cadence are helping with engineering programs, and partner universities are encouraging enrollment. The initial list of participating schools includes the University of the Philippines, Mapua Institute of Technology, First Asia Institute of Technology and Humanities, Don Bosco Technical College and Mindanao State University. BIT will launch with the development of the Philippines’ first commercially viable microprocessor, the Rizal, named after The Philippines' Dr. Jose Rizal. The multi-platform embedded configurable microprocessor is a "modest first step" in developing the Philippines as part of a global microelectronics ecosystem, added Rudy Bruce, president of BIT. Other programs will cover device- and system-level firm- and software development. For more information, visit: BiTMICRO Networks provides rugged and high-performance non-volatile solid state drives and storage management solutions. For more information, visit
Reply with quote? Reply? Comment?
Post new message
Previous thread????What is the global imp...
Filipino microchip des...????Next thread??
Quick Reply
*??Nickname: Visitor (To avoid code verification, simply login or register with us. It is fast and free!)
*??Message title:
*??Enter verification code::
The engineering community needs are best served with a professional environment at eeForums. And we need your help in ensuring eeForums best serves your needs. Please report offensive or irrelevant messages/replies by clicking here. Thank you for your help and participation!
Return to Asia Trends | Talk Shop
The views and opinions shared on eeForums and eeBlogs are those held by users of the web site and do not represent those of EE Times Asia. EE Times Asia is not liable or responsible for any defects, deficiencies, errors, omissions or inaccuracies in any information, data or other content (whether provided or offered therein or in or through eeForums and eeBlogs).
How to earn points
The moderator marks your post as one of the following.
  • Good: +5 points
  • Very good: +10 points
  • Excellent: +20 points
  • Bad: -5 points
  • Very bad: -10 points
  • Exceptionally bad: -20 points

We also count your replies to questions posted by others.
  • You have posted 10 or more replies: +10 points
  • You have posted 20 or more replies: +50 points
  • You have posted 50 or more replies: +100 points
  • You have posted 100 or more replies: +200 points
Have Your Say!

Bloggers Say

Got something to say? Why not share it with other engineers?

Just introduce yourself to us, we'll contact you and set you up. Yes, it's that simple!

See what engineers like you are posting on our pages.

Interviews & Viewpoints


Learn how senior executives are seeing the industry from interviews and contributed opinions.

Back to Top