China Selects Infineon’s Security Chips for Electronic Passports

Nov 11, 2009 | Business & Financial Press

Neubiberg, Germany – November 11, 2009 – The Chinese government is using security microcontrollers of Infineon Technologies AG (FSE: IFX / OTCQX: IFNNY) for its new electronic passports. Infineon today announced that it recently started deliveries to the Chinese electronic passport project which volume-wise is one of the world’s two biggest electronic passport projects. As of the first quarter of 2010, all new Chinese passports will be issued as electronic passports. The Chinese government estimates that, beginning in the first full year of the roll-out, about 6.5 million electronic passports will be handed out annually to citizens, diplomats and government workers. In total, there are currently more than 30 million passports in circulation in China, which are usually valid for ten years.

In China, two ministries are involved in electronic passport programs: The Ministry of Public Security is responsible for citizens, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for diplomats and government workers. Infineon is the only semiconductor supplier delivering into both of China’s electronic passport projects.

All Chinese electronic passports include a security microcontroller in the back cover that stores, securely encrypted, the same information about the bearer’s identity that is printed on the document, such as the bearer’s name, date of birth, and photo, and the passport’s validity period and number.

Special Administration Regions Hong Kong and Macao also use Infineon’s security microcontrollers

Both China Special Administration Regions, Hong Kong and Macao, trust in Infineon and it’s almost 25 years of expertise in security and contactless technology. Infineon is sole chip supplier for their electronic passport programs. Hong Kong, with its approximately nine million inhabitants, annually issued about 1.2 million electronic passports since 2007. And Macao, with its population of about 300,000, handed out about 100,000 electronic passports per year since the beginning of 2008. In addition, Infineon also exclusively supplies the security microcontrollers for Hong Kong’s and Macao’s National electronic Identity Cards issued to citizens as well as permanent and non-permanent residents since 2004. These identity cards enable identification and other services such as automatic border control and e-government.

“We are deeply honored by the trust awarded to Infineon by the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as both the Hong Kong and Macao Special Administration Regions to be the silicon partner for their electronic passport programs,” said Dr. Helmut Gassel, President of the Chip Card & Security Division at Infineon Technologies. “Security being a key area for Infineon we feel confirmed in our efforts to provide high-quality, superior security products that successfully passed the world’s most stringent security tests.”

Infineon ranks number one in chips for card and security applications

Roughly every second electronic Government ID document (not including the China National ID card project) issued in 2008 incorporated a security chip of Infineon. Government ID applications include electronic documents, such as passports, national ID, health cards, drivers licenses and social security cards. Today, Infineon’s products are used in the public domain of about one third of the 192 UN member states, which represent a total population of more than three billion people.

Infineon is the world’s number one chip card semiconductor vendor, already for the twelfth year in a row. According to the US market research company Frost & Sullivan Infineon holds a 25.5 percent market share of the overall chip card IC (integrated circuit) market that totaled about US $2.4 billion in 2008.

Technical details on Infineon’s security chip used in Chinese passports, the SLE 66CLX800PE

Specifically designed for use in electronic passports, identity cards, e-government cards and other high-security applications, the SLE 66CLX800PE security microcontroller features a crypto-coprocessor and provides advanced performance and high execution speeds of up to 848 kbits/s even if elevated encryption and decryption operations have to be calculated. The SLE 66CLX800PE features 80 kilobytes (kb) of EEPROM, 240 kb of ROM, and 6 kb of RAM. With its tailored set of EEPROM/ROM and RAM memory sizes, the SLE 66CLX800PE adheres to the ICAO requirements for the secure storage of the biometric and personal data in travel documents.

The SLE 66CLX800PE is certified according to Common Criteria EAL 5+ high (BSI-PP-0002 protection profile) security certification. Infineon’s security microcontrollers build on underlying hardware-based integral security, with data encryption, memory firewall system and other security mechanisms to safeguard the privacy of data.

For more information on Infineon’s semiconductor product portfolio for chip card and security applications, please go to

About Infineon

Infineon Technologies AG, Neubiberg, Germany, offers semiconductor and system solutions addressing three central challenges to modern society: energy efficiency, communications, and security. In the 2008 fiscal year (ending September), the company reported sales of Euro 4.3 billion with approximately 29,100 employees worldwide. With a global presence, Infineon operates through its subsidiaries in the U.S. from Milpitas, CA, in the Asia-Pacific region from Singapore, and in Japan from Tokyo. Infineon is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (ticker symbol: IFX) and in the USA on the over-the-counter market OTCQX International Premier (ticker symbol: IFNNY).

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