LONDON – Rusnano, the Russian government investment fund for nanotechnologies, has said it is investing $15 million into a $22 million project with MEMS-based timing company SiTime Corp. under which the company will open up a development center in Russia.
Timing components are required somewhere in almost all forms of electronic equipment. SiTime (Sunnyvale, Calif.) offers MEMS-based silicon timing chips that replace legacy quartz products. The company claims to have shipped more than 45 million devices and to have a market share of 85 percent.
Rusnano continues to use its cash to invest in promising western technologies and create manufacturing and development opportunities at home. It has previously announced it is part of a $300 million deal with Crocus Technology Inc. on thermally-assisted magnetic random access memory and a $700 million deal with Plastic Logic Ltd. That investment is set to include the creation of the world's largest plastic electronics factory in Zelenograd, Russia, as well as continued investment in Plastic Logic's manufacturing facility in Dresden, Germany, which opened in 2008, and its R&D center in Cambridge, England.
Under the terms of the deal with SiTime, Rusnano will set up a division of SiTime in Russia. SiTime has design centers located in California and Ukraine and its products are manufactured by foundries Tower Semiconductor Ltd. and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd., according to a translated Rusnano statement.
SiTime, founded in 2004, is a fabless chip company, which probably explains the relatively modest level of Rusnano investment. The advantages that SiTime's MEMS-based timing products enjoy over the competition include: high temperature stability, precise digital frequency tuning, long life and low power consumption, Rusnano said.
The global market for timing components, including resonators, oscillators and synchronizing chips is worth about $5 billion per year although the Russian market is valued at about $80 million, Rusnano added.
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