| Intel Remains Aggressive in Asia, Barrett Says
April 7, 1998 (PENANG, Malaysia) -- Intel Corp. will continue to invest in the Asia Pacific
region despite the regional economic crisis, said CEO-designate Craig Barrett.
|"The Asia Pacific region is a major growth area for PCs. We are extremely optimistic about
prospects for growth and we will continue to look for more opportunities to invest," he said.
Barrett said Intel plans to invest US$1.3 billion in Asia in 1998, or more than a quarter of
the chip giant's total capital investment of US$5 billion.
Those investments are mainly for its assembly and test plants in Malaysia, China and the
Philippines. About US$430 million has been allocated for increasing production of Pentium II
microprocessors at its Malaysian plants in Penang and Kulim, and for an
integrated warehouse near the Bayan Lepas airport.
Barrett, who is Intel's president and chief operating officer, spoke here as part of his
Asian tour, with stopovers in Korea, the Philippines, Thailand and Australia.
He said the financial crisis will only hurt personal computer sales in the region in the
"I expect a rebound once the currencies and economies stabilize, just as they did in
countries like Mexico and Brazil," he said. Barrett said the region as a whole is buoyed by
strong growth in emerging PC markets such as China and India.
"I anticipate that the Chinese market will surpass Japan's market relatively soon, especially
if the Japanese market continues to be weak. The PC market in Japan, the second largest after
the United States, has been weak for the past two years. Korea has
been weak for over a year," he said.
Barrett said that in countries that were hardest hit -- Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia --
growth may have slowed, but those markets comprise relatively small parts of Intel's
In March, Intel rattled the industry when it warned that its first quarter revenues would
fall 10 percent short of previous expectations.
Barrett said it is "too simplistic" to blame the slump on the Asian crisis, and suggested
that a combination of factors may have hurt the company.
The reasons included a fall in orders from its major customers, the rise in demand for
sub-US$1000 PCs, and the fact that leading PC makers may have "stuffed the channels."
Barrett, who succeeds Andrew Grove as CEO in May, told reporters that the biggest
challenge for him now is getting the company back on the growth track.
"Revenues have been flat for the past five quarters. It was a jolt to us after historically
having 30 percent growth rates," he said.
Barrett explained that the only way to recover from a crisis and become stronger is to
continue to invest, and accelerate development of new technologies and new products.
Intel plans to stimulate the PC market worldwide through its new line of Pentium II
processors that address all segments of the market from "lean PCs," to high-performance
workstations and servers.
"Also expect to see us being aggressive in areas in and around the PC, such as networking,
graphics, digital imaging, electronic commerce and content development. Those are all growth
markets for us," he said.
Barrett said Intel plans to spend US$2.8 billion on research and development worldwide in
1998, up from US$2.4 billion in 1997. In Asia, the company will continue to invest in its
chip design center in Penang, software development lab in Shanghai, and
technology center in Bangalore.
In 1997, Intel invested more than US$300 million in seed money in about 100 companies.
"Expect us to spend more this year," he said. The equity investments are seen by industry
analysts as a hedge against losing out to emerging technologies.
Barrett said that in the last decade, the Asia Pacific region had become an increasingly
important market for the company. Excluding Japan, the region commanded 19 percent of Intel's
revenues in 1997, up from only 6 percent in 1987. Japan's share was unchanged
at 10 percent, while that of North America had declined from 61 percent to 44 percent.
"The region has also become the hub not just for low-cost manufacturing but for designing and
developing next-generation products," he said.
Barrett said Taiwan is notable in that it has risen to become a major force in supplying PC
components and peripheral equipment.
Barrett also singled out India, for its potentially large market and because it promises to
be a key player in the future.
"India has a strong education base and wonderful technical talents to do high value-added
work such as hardware design and software engineering, and if its infrastructure continues to
improve, to eventually do more manufacturing," he said.
Barrett said he also is encouraged by government initiatives in the region to continue to
place emphasis on developing broadband infrastructure, such as Malaysia's Multimedia Super
Malaysia has promised to put in place an optical-fiber broadband network operating at 2.5Gbps
to 10 Gbps to support companies creating and delivering multimedia content and services in
the high-tech zone. Barrett said Intel is committed to participating
in the MSC, located just south of Kuala Lumpur, but that the company had yet to finalize its
(Julian Matthews, Asia BizTech Correspondent)