Hong Kong Pursues Role As China's IP Hub - InformationWeek

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Hong Kong Pursues Role As China's IP Hub

Pursuing its mission to be China's top intellectual property hub, a Hong Kong science park is forging partnerships with four Chinese universities.

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Pursuing its mission to be China's top intellectual property hub, the Hong Kong science park is forging partnerships with four Chinese universities with the aim of developing a legal and technical qualification process for local companies looking to use IP circuit blocks in their designs.

The Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corp. plans to work with Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT), Hefei University of Technology, Zhejiang University and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. The main objective of the collaboration is to develop a due diligence platform in legal and technical terms for IP certification and authentication purposes. The project is due to be completed in mid-2006.

Over the last few years, the Chinese interest in the use of third-party circuit blocks for inclusion in complex chip designs has risen sharply, along with some interest in licensing, and government officials see the use and reuse of IP blocks as a means of increasing the pace of development for local IC design houses, many of which are mired in low-end design.

Knowing that the broad development of domestic IP will be a long slog, the government is trying to facilitate the use of foreign IP blocks in locally designed semiconductors. That has spawned the flurry of activity in the development local IP exchanges.

The Hong Kong facility is one of a handful of IP exchanges just getting off the ground in China. And it is trying to build a reputation as a place where IP providers can trust that everything they leave there will stay there. If it is successful, the park may become one of a few key hubs of activity for Chinese engineers looking to learn system-on-chip (SoC) design methodologies and to evaluate foreign IP. It would also serve as an early access point for big and small IP vendors looking to tap into the China market.

These exchanges are nothing new in the region. Korea, Taiwan and Japan have them, as do Britain and France, although as commercial exchanges with facilitated transfers and reconciliations on individual blocks they have had limited success. But as marketing shop windows, engineering databases and repositories for previously licensed libraries of IP, they have been more successful.

Asia is trying to develop a "Silicon Sea Belt" initiated by Japan that stretches from Fukuoka Prefecture in southern Japan to South Korea, Shanghai, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore.

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