Tue, Feb 18, 2003 - Page 10 News List

Sony chip-design center to be established in Taipei

By Bill Heaney  /  STAFF REPORTER

Japan's Sony Corp plans to invest a total of NT$3 billion in two computer chip design centers in Taipei's Nankang Software Park over the next three years, Sophie Tsai (蔡宜凌), Sony Taiwan's public-relations manager said yesterday.

The facility will specialize in the design of digital-photography chips, display chips, and system chips for use in mobile devices such as cellphones, personal-digital assistants (PDAs) and notebook computers.

The company hopes to move into its new offices next month.

"We found premises in the Nankang Software Park and will move in next month when the Park is complete," Tsai said.

The two facilities, the Design & Engineering Center (資產品創新研發總部) and System in Module Engineering of Taiwan (創新LSIModule設計研發中心), will employ less than 20 engineers initially, but the number will triple within two years, said Yoshikazu Ochiai, Sony's spokesperson in Japan.

Sony will transfer its digital-sensor technology to the center for engineers to develop in conjunction with the "optical design technological expertise of Taiwanese manufacturers, universities and public research institutes," the company said in a statement.

The center will work on combining multiple chips into one piece of silicon.

The facility is seen as a launch-pad for its mobile chip business.

"Sony recognizes Taiwan's importance as a production base for a wide range of information and communication technology companies, and has established the center in order to promote smooth product development in conjunction with these companies," Ochiai said.

The government is encouraging foreign tech companies to locate research facilities here.

In its statement, Sony acknowledged the "considerable support" it had received from various local authorities.

Sony's decision to locate its research facility in the Nankang Software Park is a feather in the cap for the park's developers.

The completion of the second phase of the park scheduled for next month should bring in another 43 companies and hike the workforce at the 8.2-hectare park to 9,000, the Industrial Development Bureau's director general Chen Chao-yi (陳昭義) estimated late last year.

A bureau source said yesterday that there are currently 107 companies, employing 5,000 people, in the park.

The domestic integrated-circuit industry was worth NT$146 billion last year, according to the government-funded Market Intelligence Center. This will more than triple to NT$520 billion in 2006, the center predicts.

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