Introduction to SPADE

With a total annual market of US$150 billion [1], the already proven semiconductor industry will be a vital industry for years to come. As suggested by the MIT team in the "Made by Hong Kong" report, Hong Kong has all the ingredients to be a strong player in the lucrative semiconductor design arena [2]. Presently, there are over forty semiconductor companies in Hong Kong. Of these companies, some are semiconductor design and manufacturing companies, some are simply "fabless" design houses, and the remaining are semiconductor user companies. In the near future, as Hong Kong transforms into a knowledge-based economy, the number of semiconductor companies will grow significantly. All of them need , and will continue to need, product analysis, design enhancement, and failure analysis facilities in order to produce advanced products and do well in this lucrative, high value-added semiconductor business. At the present moment, many local semiconductor companies cannnot produce high value-added semiconductor products because of the lack of facilities that solve problems due to "first silicon failure". In addition, there are also many semiconductor user companies that require die-level failure analysis facilities to analyse the failure problems in their products. The Semiconductor Product Analysis and Design Enhancement (SPADE) Center is playing a vital role in building the basic infrastructure to support the local semiconductor companies as well as to help attract non-local semiconductor companies to open their design and development offices in Hong Kong. The SPADE Center is providing services to the companies. It analyses their designs and products when their silicon prototypes are available in the form of silicon wafers or silicon dies. Design and product errors can be debugged, corrected, and optimised in this center, and, in the end, high value-added semiconductor products can be produced.

[1] Source:Cahners In-StatGroup (1999)

[2] Berger and Lester, "Made by Hong Kong", Oxford University Press, 1997.

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