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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

Comments

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
Hi,
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.
Todor - ex ASIC Depot enginner
11 Jun 2018, 18:24
Hi Deyan, it's nice to find a cool semiconductor blog from a Bulgarian author!

The chart with the companies from the 90s to 2000s is interesting, too.

Nice to hear the story from Nikola - good luck!

Dyean, there's at least one other company, based in Plovdiv: http://www.sibiz.net/

https://www.capital.bg/specialni_izdaniia/kapital_gradove/2016/10/06/283932 8_amerikanskata_sibiz_zapochva_da_stroi_ofis_za_15_mln/


There's a mistake, regarding ASIC Depot. It also had it's best performing office in Plovdiv.

ASIC Depot was created as a start-up in the end of 2007, so in their case, the acquisition has taken exactly 10 years, not 5-7.

I was one of the first engineers. The first office was in a hotel's conference room near "Studentski grad", at "Simeonovsko shose": http://bgreklamator.com/%D0%BF%D0%BE%D1%87%D0%B8%D0%B2%D0%BA%D0%B0/%D1%85%D 0%BE%D1%82%D0%B5%D0%BB%D0%B8-%D0%B0%D0%BF%D0%B0%D1%80%D1%82%D0%B0%D0%BC%D0% B5%D0%BD%D1%82%D0%B8-%D0%B2%D0%B8%D0%BB%D0%B8-%D0%BA%D0%B2%D0%B0%D1%80%D1%8 2%D0%B8%D1%80%D0%B8/%D1%81%D0%BE%D1%84%D0%B8%D1%8F-%D1%85%D0%BE%D1%82%D0%B5 %D0%BB%D0%B8/%D1%85%D0%BE%D1%82%D0%B5%D0%BB-%D0%B1%D1%80%D0%BE%D0%B4

А month later it moved to a building in Studentski grad - because almost all of the first engineers were still students (8 out of 10 if I'm not mistaken).

However, AFAIK they have been practically turning into a Broadcom subsidiary years before being formally acquired.
Deyan Levski
13 Jun 2018, 12:11
Hi Todor,

Thanks for sharing this valuable information.

Indeed, most likely there are plenty of errors and inaccuracies in the chart. I am glad to hear your first-person story of ASIC Depot. What an exciting first office - a hotel room.

Also good point, there is definitely the Plovdiv area, which I have somehow missed.

Thanks once again, any information from people working in this field in Bulgaria is valuable and very welcome. I'll work on updating the graph to reflect your feedback.
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