Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) has long viewed Asia as a manufacturing hub owing to the region’s vast market and low-cost labor. But the times are changing, with the expansion of region’s talent pool, Chip powerhouse now expects Asian engineers to help design processors that will be used in smartphones, tablets and PC’s.
Intel’s Malaysian Facility
Currently, Asia accounts for 80 percent of the packaging and testing of Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) products. In 1972, the chipmaker opened its first facility outside the U.S. in the northern island of Penang, Malaysia. The facility is now one of Intel’s biggest technology development centers.
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Intel’s Malaysia Design Centre has played an important part in the development of the fourth-generation processor known as Haswell, which was launched in June. Apart from this, the center is also supporting the development of current and future generation Clover Trail, Bay Trail and Broadwell platforms.
Apart from Malaysia, Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) has also opened centers in India, Taiwan, China and Vietnam with investments of more than $10 billion. These centers employ more than 20,000 people, which is one-fifth of the company’s total headcount.
Intel’s Future Plans
In a recent interview given to The Wall Street Journal, Robin Martin, vice president of Intel’s technology manufacturing group, and Christopher Kelly, head of Intel’s Malaysia Design Center, discussed the company’s plans in Asia.
As per Mr. Martin, Asia is a huge market and is growing consistently. The logistics and infrastructure in the region is also improving, so “it makes sense for us to grow the seeds that we’ve sown here.” Presently, the Malaysian facility is responsible for chips used in smartphones, tablets, and SOCs (system on chips), but as the numbers grow, the company plans to rope in Vietnam because of the cost structure there.
Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) employs around 2,000 engineers in Malaysia, 3,000 engineers in India, 3000 engineers in China and 1000 in Taiwan. These are the regions where “our rapidly growing markets are” says Mr. Kelly. Each of the facilities is capable of performing tasks from “design to manufacturing test with a slight twist.”
Bangalore team design work for servers while the team at Penang do chipsets and central processing units. Chinese unit is involved in the platform and software developments, reveals Mr. Kelly.
According to Mr. Martin, the bulk of the hiring will be in Vietnam as the company is “starting to move more of our SOCs products there.” Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) has around 1000 engineers in Vietnam and plans to increase it to 4000 once the process is fully ramped up.