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Virtus and Taiwan-Based UMC Group Companies to Collaborate

January 10, 2007

The alliance will produce 3-axis MEMS accelerometers for a variety of consumer electronics applications. The collaboration includes design, production, marketing, and sales.


PITTSBURGH & HSINCHU, Taiwan /BUSINESS WIRE/ -- Virtus Advanced Sensors has entered into a strategic collaboration agreement with several Taiwan-based UMC Group companies, including Unimicron, Taiwan`s largest printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturer, and affiliated MEMS foundry ChipSense. UMC is the world`s second largest semiconductor foundry and parent company of Unimicron.

The companies will collaborate on producing 3-axis accelerometers for a variety of consumer electronics applications, including cell phones, laptop computers, and car navigation systems. The agreement includes collaboration on product design, production, marketing, and sales activities.

"We believe this alliance will produce the results we are looking for this time next year. Our goal is to eventually establish our technology as the global standard for 3-axis accelerometers for consumer electronics applications. This partnership is a first step toward that goal," said Virtus President & CEO Louis Ross. According to Mr. Ross, "ChipSense has the capability and capacity to deliver reliably volume production" and has the full support of its parent companies UMC and Unimicron.

ChipSense Chairman Simon Chou believes the "collaboration allows both ChipSense and Virtus to benefit a lot from each others complementary strengths. With this collaboration, Virtus has a reliable and capable manufacturing partner, ChipSense, and this is also a further validation of Virtus` technology. For ChipSense, it will build up very valuable technological know-how and access to a fast-growing market. This is truly an exciting time for both companies."

ChipSense President Robert Hsieh believes the collaboration represents "...a historical moment for both Virtus and ChipSense" and looks to introduce 3-axis accelerometer products from the collaboration to the market by Q4 of 2007. ChipSense has expanded its operations over the past several years and is increasing its investment in new equipment and personnel.

The parent company of ChipSense is Unimicron, the 6th largest PCB manufacturer in the world and member of the UMC Group. Mr. T. J. Tseng, Chairman of Unimicron Group, believes "...the 3-axis accelerometer can be applied in many aspects and there could be explosive growth in the near future, especially for consumer electronic products. I am convinced this will be an opportunity for Virtus and ChipSense as 3-axis accelerometer products have great potential." Unimicron also recently acquired Asia Pacific MicroSystems, Taiwan`s largest MEMS foundry, and now employs over 350 people working on MEMS.

Production will take place in Hsinchu Science Park, established in 1980. The park is home to most of Taiwan`s producers of wafers, integrated circuit foundries, mask read-only memory, ADSL modems, Web cards, and small thin-film liquid-crystal displays.

About Virtus Advanced Sensors
Virtus Advanced Sensors is a next-generation sensor company commercializing multi-axis inertial and force sensors developed using MEMS technology and micro-machining methods. Virtus maintains one of the largest patent portfolios in the world for MEM-based multi-axis inertial sensors. Virtus currently maintains offices in the U.S. and Japan.


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