Intel Invests in Plant in Kulim
Intel Corp will invest US$230 million to set up an additional assembly and test plant in Malaysia. The chairman of the company Craig Barrett said the expansion will create an additional 2,000 jobs at the Kulim Hi-Tech Park in the northern state of Kedah.
The new 18,580m2 facility is expected to be operational by 2007 and will include the creation of the platform compatibility and ecosystem validation lab, which will focus on supporting digital home and digital office platforms and channel platform business.
Barrett said Intel has invested over US$3 billion in Malaysia since 1972, and underlines its continued commitment to the country with the fresh investment.
Intel Malaysia is Intel's largest operational site outside the US, and currently employs 10,000 staff in Kulim, Penang and Kuala Lumpur. Barrett said Asia has been Intel's largest and fastest growing market. Besides Malaysia, he said Intel plans to invest more than US$2 billion over the next four years in China and India.
Penang Chief Minister Koh Tsu Koon added that investment in Penang has been on an upswing in 2005 following a decline in the 2002 to 2004 period. Host to various multinational hardware manufacturers, the island state recorded an estimated US$658 million worth of investments in 2005 despite pressure from other lower-cost centers such as China and Vietnam. "Penang is now at an inflection point. There is a three- to five-year window of opportunity now that we must grab,'' Koh said.
Intel's motherboard design and development center in Kulim has grown ten-fold from 20 engineers in 1999 to over 200 engineers. The Kulim center is the largest offshore motherboard design and development facility outside Oregon, the US. The Malaysia team develops motherboard products based on the Intel architecture platform for the global market.
On the deployment of WiMax, Barrett said Intel rolled out a commercial trial of the wireless broadband connectivity application in Seremban, south of Kuala Lumpur, in December 2005, while trials are also planned for the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam. He said that there were 30 global commercial trials from Intel in 2005 and at least another 100 are planned for in 2006
Barrett said the WiMax trials are part of Intel's digital ASEAN (d-ASEAN) vision of an integrated region of connected villages, provinces, cities and countries which will lead to a more digitally-integrated southeast Asia.
by Julian Matthews
Kulim Hi-Tech Park: www.khtp.com.my
Ness Display: www.nessdisplay.com
(February 2006 Issue, Nikkei Electronics Asia)