Corporate image photo: ASTRI joins hands with start-up from Silicon Valley to speed up data communication
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ASTRI joins hands with start-up from Silicon Valley to speed up data communication

(Hong Kong, 7 May 2009) Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute and Credo Semiconductor Inc., an IC start-up company from Santa Clara, California specialized in high-speed and low power mixed-signal IC design, signed an agreement today (7 May) to forge ahead the development of high speed data communication IC products for the global market.

The agreement was signed by Dr Cheung Nim-Kwan, CEO of ASTRI, and Mr Job Lam, CEO and Co-Founder of Credo, and witnessed by Dr Wang Keh-Chung, ASTRI's Vice President and Group Director, together with Prof Joshua Wong, Credo Adviser.

Dr Cheung said, "This is the first time that ASTRI partners with a technology company from the Silicon Valley. We are thrilled to work with Credo because the project will bring in state-of-the-art technology in IC designs from the U.S. and create immediate job opportunities for our science and engineering graduates. The project will hire 12 local university graduates with no previous work experience, two of which are interns under the Government's internship scheme.

"Through this collaboration, we expect to train up local research talents and uplift Hong Kong's technological capability in the semiconductor industry to the world-class level, contributing to the growth of Hong Kong's high-tech industry in the long run."

Mr Lam considered partnering with ASTRI a strategic move for Credo to take off in the global market. He said, "Through this project, ASTRI and Credo will create a team of world-class high speed mixed signal IC design engineers for the semiconductor industry. Since the semiconductor market is expected to prosper further in Asia in the years to come, this collaboration provides Credo with a head start and at the same time creates high value jobs for the local high tech industry."

Prof Wong, who is also President of the Hong Kong Semiconductor Industry Council and former Vice President of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, stressed that the establishments of the Hong Kong Science Park and ASTRI are the main reasons attracting Credo to Hong Kong, and he expects more Silicon Valley hi-tech companies to follow. He is confident of the success of Credo which will demonstrate to entrepreneurs in Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland that technology business has a bright future, creating wealth and jobs.

According to the agreement, ASTRI and Credo will jointly develop a 65nm complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) IP platform for 10 gigabit Ethernet physical layer (PHY) transceiver application and produce a working prototype of a 10G LRM (Long Reach Multimode) chip in two years. With the recent fast-paced growth of data transmission applications which results in bandwidth bottlenecks, long reaching and very high data rate Ethernet is much in demand.

The collaboration will pull together ASTRI's expertise in 10G data communications system and Credo's strength in low power mixed signal designs. While Credo will benefit by getting an exclusive license to incorporate the project's R&D outcome into the IC products for sale in the worldwide market, ASTRI, besides sharing profit from the sale, will be able to acquire the most advanced know-how in IC designs to address the need of the emerging high speed networking industry in the next three to five years.

More than half of the project's research funding is borne by ASTRI under the support of Innovation and Technology Fund of HKSAR, and the rest of the budget comes from Credo. Dr Cheung also expresses appreciation to Innovation and Technology Commission for its support of this collaboration project.

Upon the signing of the agreement, ASTRI will start recruiting R&D staff and implementation of the background intellectual property from Credo. The project team will be located at ASTRI's office in the Hong Kong Science Park.