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Intel's New R&D Center Has Seoul

Seeing an opportunity to develop its next-generation platforms in a country eager to connect, Intel set up a new research and development laboratory in South Korea this week.

The new center is the result of Intel CEO Craig Barrett's recent Asia-Pacific trip, which included a stopover in South Korea and a meeting with President Roh Moo-hyun.

According to its latest financial filing, Intel will spend $4.8 billion on research and development this year, up from $4.4 billion in 2003. The increase is driven by development of the Intel's next-generation 65-nanometer process technology, scheduled for production in 2005 on 300-mm wafers.

The Santa Clara, Calif., chip making giant said the center in Seoul will focus on building better wireless communications technology, high-quality media coding, and improved platforms for content distribution. The center will also collaborate with the technology industry on wireless communications technologies, such as Ultra-Wideband , and the South Korean government on spectrum reform issues, holding rapid deployment of new wireless technologies as the goal.

While Japan and China are largely perceived to be technological hotspots, South Korea's IT growth has been strong over the last few years. The W3C said Korea has one of the fastest-growing economies in East Asia, with a premium placed on IT.

The No. 1 chipmaker said it is also impressed by South Korea's aggressive broadband and wireless adoption, the government's strong commitment to policies that support new communication technologies, and experienced researchers in consumer electronics.

"The Korea R&D center provides a great opportunity for companies and industry to develop exciting new experiences and interoperable products for the worldwide marketplace," Intel CTO Pat Gelsinger said in a statement.

The South Korea market is ripe for Intel's vision of a digital home. A survey released by the Ministry of Information and Communication this week said there were nearly 30 million Internet users in South Korea in December. On average, South Koreans spent 12.5 hours online per week and that more than 85 percent of subscribers had multiple e-mail accounts, the survey found.

Intel is also welcoming local technology companies, government, and research institutes to work with the center. Intel named KS Lee as the center's first director. Before joining Intel, Lee worked at Samsung Electronics in the Digital Media Network businesses.

In related news, Intel signed a pact with Chu-Hwan Yim, president of the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI). Intel and ETRI will jointly develop new technologies related to multi-stream media distribution over home networks, home automation and home servers.