Lucent Continues China R&D Push

Network equipment maker Lucent will spend $50 million to upgrade its reseach and development (R&D) facilities in China.

The investment is intended to spur development of third-generation technologies, including Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) and Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) networks (sometimes called Wideband-CDMA).

“Our R&D organization in China has been responsible for many key technical accomplishments, and this was a determining factor in our decision to increase our investment in China,” said Mary Chan, an executive with Lucent’s mobility solutions group.

Engineers at Lucent’s Bell Labs China have been awarded 21 patents, and currently have numerous others in various stages of qualification.

The group has R&D sites across China, including six joint labs with academic organizations such as the Chinese Academy of Science, Peking University, Tsinghua University and Fudan University.

“We increasingly rely on our teams in China to take on key responsibilities for aspects of our business operations including R&D, procurement and manufacturing,” said Jim Brewington, president of Lucent’s mobility solutions group. “We also
are actively developing local talent for future leadership positions.”

In addition to being an important from a development standpoint, China is also an important market for Lucent. Last year, the Murray Hill, N.J., firm secured a lucrative contract renewal from China’s state-owned telecom carrier.

Other firms, especially those invloved in wireless also have bases in China. For example, Nokia recently said it will merge four existing joint ventures in China, while spurring production of handsets based on the CDMA standard.

Nokia is chasing after Motorola, which leads the race for shares of the rapidly growing mobile handset production market in China. Qualcomm also recently said it will expand its presence in China.

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