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Industrial Technology Research Institute


ITRI Provides Resources for Innovative IC Design Startups in Taiwan with Arm


ITRI and Arm jointly created the IC Design Platform for Startups.
ITRI and Arm jointly created the IC Design Platform for Startups.

Taiwan is a hub for global semiconductor manufacturing. To promote local IC design startups, the Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) is supporting ITRI and Arm, a world leader in semiconductor IP design, in providing critical resources to make innovative IC design accessible to startups in the region through a new initiative called the IC Design Platform for Startups. The combination of services and support from ITRI and access to Arm technology through its highly successful Arm Flexible Access for Startups program will assist startups in accessing critical IP and accelerating the launch of competitive products for the global market.

IDB Director General Jang-Hwa Leu pointed out that IC design startups often suffer from insufficient capital or resources, inhibiting their ability to access critical IP and preventing innovative designs from progressing to the commercialization stage due to challenges around things like technology, patents, legal issues and capital. This new initiative will enable startups to better navigate these challenges by providing a platform through which they can access chip design support from ITRI (including system design and optimization, chip integration solutions, and advanced manufacturing processes), alongside no-cost access to more than 80 Arm products via Arm Flexible Access for Startups.

Chih-I Wu, Vice President and General Director of Electronic and Optoelectronic System Research Laboratories of ITRI, stated that the collaboration between ITRI and Arm is expected to achieve three objectives. First, it invites global IC design innovators to come to Taiwan. Arm's global network and resources could assist foreign startups anchoring in Taiwan to speed up chip development. Second, ITRI will contribute extensive industrial resources and experience to engage in IP conversion through its Nankang IC Design Incubation Center. In conjunction with Arm's diverse IP portfolio, this joint effort will provide startups with inclusive chip design and wafer roll-off services, quickly deploying niche chips to fulfill market demand. This arrangement should greatly improve the cash flow of startups and accelerate their time-to-market. Lastly, by connecting Arm's global ecosystem of more than 1,000 technology partners with Taiwan's unique semiconductor cluster, in addition to electronic OEM/ODM, software developers and the end application ecosystem, this initiative will be critical to further positioning Taiwan at the center of the Asia-Pacific semiconductor ecosystem.

Arm Taiwan President CK Tseng commented that helping startup teams to innovate and go to market quickly and successfully is fundamental to promoting continued technological advancement. More than forty partners worldwide, covering IoT, autonomous vehicles, terminal device AI and wearable medical devices, have taken advantage of Arm Flexible Access for Startups since its launch. Any startup with less than USD $5 million in capital can join this program; by gaining no-cost access to a wide portfolio of more than 80 Arm products, these startups have the freedom to experiment, evaluate and innovate in chip design, as well as access to Arm's global resources and ecosystem of other chip designers, software developers, technical support, training and tools. With no fees for prototyping or test tape-outs, the company then only pays a licensing fee at commercial rollout for the IP it uses. This allows startups to make better use of their funds, while shortening their product development cycle by an average of 6-12 months.

ITRI, offering extensive expertise in IP management and multi-disciplinary innovative technology, and Arm, providing broad access to leading technology through its Flexible Access for Startups program, are committed to helping IC startups take root in Taiwan. The cooperation is expected to combine enormous resources, providing global startup companies with comprehensive services from product development to worldwide marketing.

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Vivian Chen
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