RealTime IT News

Cisco, AMD Raise China Bets

Two major IT firms -- network equipment developer Cisco and computer chipmaker AMD -- announced separate investments in China today.

The investments are the latest examples of U.S.-based companies looking to the country to find skilled labor, as well as an end-market for their products.

Cisco has earmarked $32 million over the next five years for an R&D center in Shanghai, where engineers will focus on products for service providers. It will hire approximately 100 employees over the next 18 months.

The engineers will have plenty of opportunities to field-test equipment, because Chinese telecom carriers are rolling out wireline and wireless services at a rapid pace due to strong demand and a hot economy.

Scheduled to open next year, the new R&D center will help Cisco become more responsive to customers in China and elsewhere in Asia, the company said.

In another announcement, AMD said it will locate its headquarters for China, Hong Kong and Taiwan in Beijing.

"[The move] will help speed the development and delivery of new AMD products into one of AMD's most important global business areas and one of the world's most dynamic technology markets," said Hector Ruiz, AMD chairman and CEO, in a statement.

It will also make it easier for the company to partner with local semiconductor companies, AMD said.

The company has already made significant inroads in China. In April, it won approval for a second manufacturing plant, which will cost $100 million.

Two months later, the chip and Flash memory specialist established a holding company to increase its business activities in China.

AMD spokesman Drew Prairie said no staffing additions have been announced, but the company "continues to hire for strategic positions throughout the company and across all of our locations."

Cisco and AMD are not alone in boosting their presence in China. Earlier this month, wireless handset and networking specialist Motorola committed $90 million to expand its Beijing operations.

The company is combining two existing facilities -- one for R&D and one for general management, administration, marketing and sales -- into one campus. Lucent Technologies and Nokia also have an R&D presence in China.