LONDON NXP Semiconductors (Eindhoven, the Netherlands), one of the leading providers of secure ICs for global e-passport providers, has won a coveted deal to supply its SmartMX security chips to power the Chinese government's first ePassport scheme.
The Chinese government will start issuing ePassports in 2010, and is planning to replace all paper-based passports. At present over 30 million passports are in circulation within China.
The SmartMX integrates the latest developments in cryptography and security to protect the chip at both hardware and software level.
NXP says it is currently involved in more than 80 percent of all ePassport schemes, having shipped about 150 million ICs to date. In total, 68 out of 79 countries which have deployed ePassports are using NXP SmartMX chip technology including the U.S., U.K. and Singapore.
Prior to selecting NXP the relevant ministry of the Chinese government undertook a thorough evaluation of smartcard security chips.
"Following this independent review, we were able to determine that NXP's SmartMX technology offered the highest levels of interoperability, reading distances and read times, therefore meeting our exact requirements. Working in collaboration with NXP's distribution partner in China and the official development team of the ePassport scheme, we have developed an operating system to power the Chinese ePassport scheme based on the SmartMX platform," according to an official statement from the Chinese authorities.
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