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The semiconductor industry in Bulgaria

Recently I got inspired by a report about the semiconductor industry in the UK, and thought that it might be cool to copy some of their chart ideas and create a family tree about the semiconductor industry in Bulgaria.

Bulgaria can not boast with a large IC community, but actually, we have had quite a few successful, and not so successful IC ventures during the past 30 years. It all began during the 70s with the establishment of the Institute of Microelectronics and the semiconductor fabs around Botevgrad which used to produce discrete Ge and Si active devices. Later on during the 70s and 80s the fab produced MOS logic ICs of the 4000 and 7400 series, and also successfully copied and manufactured the IBM 6502 under the name CM630. This 8-bit processor was used in most of the early bulgarian personal computers - Pravetz.

After the fall of communism in 1989, the institute could not keep up innovating (if it ever has...) which led to its closure. Consequently most of the skilled resources emigrated, while a few remained to form a branch of Silway semiconductor (at that time a French fab). Later during the 90s there have been quite a few movements and acquisitions, making an average acquisition re-organization time of about 5-6 years.

Here is a graph chart of what I have managed to find out by talking to people and exploring the world of the internet:

Family tree of semiconductor companies in Bulgaria

Please, if you know more on the topic let me know in the comments, so I can update the chart. I am sure there is some missing information there.

Date:Mon Aug 14 18:34:53 GMT 2017


Deyan Levski
12 Dec 2017, 10:01
A quick update, according to some unofficial rumours Broadcom has acquired ASIC Depot as of December 2017. This has to be yet confirmed, but just decided to add this here quickly. If it turns out to be trueр it confirms my observations that the average acquisition time for this industry in Bulgaria is about 5 to 7 years.

... will have to update the chart
Nikola Zlatanov
29 Jan 2018, 20:01
I really enjoyed your article about the state of the Bulgarian Semiconductor industry. I have been working in Silicon Valley, San Francisco area, Caloifornia for more than 25 years. There are a lot of Bulgarian engineers and business people working here. I wrote and published books on this topic at Amazon Kindle direct publishing. I worked for comapies like Gasonics, Novellus, Lam Research, KLA-Tencor and Applied Materials which design and build capital semiconductor processing equipment. A friend of mine is interested to build a big factory in Plovdiv next to the 2 plants for storage devices and typewriting machines. This plant will be the biggest in the Balkan region and employ a few thousand people. The plant will produce microchips in DRAM or NAND Flash memory. Later can be extended to Logic and even ARM CPUs.
I am interested to find out what are the prospectives for this business in Bulgaria and who can invest in it.
Deyan Levski
01 Feb 2018, 10:27
Hi Nikola,

I'm glad you found this post useful.

As per your ideas for constructing a huge DRAM/IC production plant in Bulgaria, well, I'm not entirely convinced that this is realistic.

Establishing an IC production facility is not only a matter of money. Human resources and convenient industrial (even political) ecosystems play an even more important role when trying to get into cutting-edge semiconductor businesses, and beating tough competition.

But I do admire your bravery and wish anyone with such plans good luck and all the best in his endeavours.
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