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Electronics Production | November 11, 2009

Infineon’s security chips in Chinese passports

The Chinese government is using security microcontrollers of Infineon Technologies AG for its new electronic passports.

Infineon has 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.
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