IC Microsystems Sdn Bhd (ICmic) is a fabless IC [integrated circuit] design house headquartered in Cyberjaya, Malaysia. The group was founded in 2001 by Abdul Rashid Munir, an experienced semiconductor industry professional. The initial investor is Silvaco Data Systems, a subsidiary of Silvaco International – an Electronic Design Automation [EDA] company based in Santa Clara, California. ICmic is a MSC company which has been approved for MESDAQ listing.
Essentially, ICmic has crossed the ‘development’ stage and plans have been drawn up to accelerate “growth” potentials. The strong point of the company lies in the fact that ICmic owns the technology [and the IP]; they are not using third-party technologies and therefore are not subject to royalty payments.
The company’s core competency is in the field of IC design, device modelling, simulation, layout and testing. IC design is very much related to the knowledge-based activities promoted by the Malaysian government. These activities will undoubtedly elevate the country’s status in the global semiconductor industry. Other operations like masking, foundry and packaging are outsourced to a number of international vendors who specialise in such services. However, ICmic ensures that only the best vendors are qualified and selected for the outsourcing of such services.
The current product portfolios which comprise of 82 devices are as follows:
Mixed Signals ICs [in the form of Digital to Analog Converters IC (DAC)] Radio Frequency [RF] ICsFixed Line Phone ICs Serial EEPROM ICs
As a demonstration of the company’s capabilities, all the products are conceptualised, designed and developed by ICmic with the exception of Serial EEPROM. In order to reach this stage, ICmic has invested close to RM14.0 million in R&D.
Recently, ICmic achieved a significant milestone by securing a contract from Telekom Malaysia Berhad [TM] to supply Caller ID phones worth RM13.8 million over a two year-period. The phone is designed using ICmic Single Phone IC as the core component. This is indeed a recognition of ICmic’s capabilities as this will be the first phone that uses a home grown IC. This same IC is also being used in an alarm security system designed by a US company for the US market and which will pave the way for ICmic to venture into other telecommunications related products that can incorporate its ICs. This is the advantage of “owning” the technology.
“Being a Malaysian company, we are committed to becoming a catalyst to further promote and elevate knowledge-driven and high value-added activities in the country” says Abdul Rashid Munir, Chief Executive Officer of IC Microsystems Sdn Bhd. “The underlying strength and success of ICmic lies in its highly skilled personnel with vast experience and expertise. ICmic also employs fresh local graduates who are trained by the experienced personnel of the company in the area of IC design”.
IC Design is a very competitive global business. It relies heavily on knowledge-driven initiatives and requires extensive research and development [R&D]. The level of technology involved in an IC design is very high as this activity, within the semiconductor value chain, has the highest value added component. This will undoubtedly pave the way for Malaysia to become a high value-added semiconductor producing country by incorporating all the activities along the value chain, namely IC design, wafer fabrication, assembly & test and technical marketing.
In terms of linkages, ICmic has an ‘operating’ network with a majority of the leading wafer foundries and assembly & test contract manufacturers in the world. In addition, ICmic customers worldwide include Celestica, Rockwell Automation, Litton Elecronics [China], LG etc. The company is also represented by an extensive distributor set-up including AVNET Logistics [USA] and Retronic GmbH [Germany].