NXP Wins Supply Contract for Chinese ePassport chips

Secure SmartMX IC enables storage of biometric data on ePassports

NXP announced its SmartMX security chip was chosen by the Chinese government to power the country's first ePassport scheme. Utilizing the latest developments in cryptography and security to protect the chip at both hardware and software level, NXP's portfolio of SmartMX products enables data to be securely stored on the passport, creating an even stronger link between the document and its owner. The Chinese government will start issuance of ePassports in 2010, and is planning to replace all paper-based passports. At present more than 30 million passports are in circulation within China, therefore substantial rollout volumes of ePassports is expected in the coming years.

NXP 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., United Kingdom and Singapore.

Prior to selecting NXP as its main supplier of ePassport chips, the corresponding ministry of the Chinese government undertook a thorough evaluation of smart card security chips. The selection has been confirmed by a government official in charge of the ePassport scheme in the following statement: “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've developed an operating system to power the Chinese ePassport scheme based on the SmartMX platform.”

“We are extremely proud of being selected by the Chinese Government to supply our leading SmartMX products for the upcoming rollout of electronic passports,” said Guenter Schlatte, VP and GM, eGovernment, NXP Semiconductors. “Since the introduction of ePassports, NXP has been at the forefront of developing solutions to enhance border security, safeguard privacy and improve interoperability.”

NXP's SmartMX chips comprise a number of unique security features to guard against attack scenarios with light and lasers as well as a dedicated hardware firewall to protect specific sections on the chip. In addition, the ICs provide faster read and write capabilities due to optimized hardware and software. NXP's SmartMX chips can be delivered in the industry's thinnest 250 μm chip-package, making it suitable for a wide variety of contact and contactless eGovernment applications.
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