Fri, Dec 03, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Fujitsu to set up local R&D center

INVESTMENT The firm plans to increase local purchases after the center -- which will focus on chips for third-generation handsets -- is launched

By Jessie Ho  /  STAFF REPORTER

Japan's largest information technology products maker Fujitsu Ltd yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Economic Affairs' Industrial Development Bureau to set up an R&D center in Taiwan and expand partnerships with local companies.

"We hope to systematically introduce more know-how and technology from Fujitsu to local partners and clients through the R&D center," Kevin Liu (劉容志), general manager of Fujitsu Taiwan, said during a signing ceremony in Taipei yesterday. "We'll also increase our procurement from local companies after the center is launched."

Vivien Lu (呂素君), planner for Fujitsu Taiwan's business promotion division, said the company has no timetable for the official inauguration of the center, but hopes it will be as soon as possible.

The center will focus on developing semiconductors and chips used in third-generation handsets, she said.

Fujitsu's president, Naoyuki Akikusa, who also participated in the event in Taipei, said the company estimates it will purchase about NT$85 billion of parts and components from local original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) this year, mostly for personal computers (PCs) and liquid crystal displays (LCDs).

Earlier, while being interviewed by the media, Akikusa said the information technology market is extremely competitive with margins declining due to oversupply, especially in the LCD TV and plasma TV markets. Therefore, Akikusa does not expect next year to be a bumper year for IT manufacturers. Value-added service is the key to breaking through the difficulty, he said.

To maintain high standards, Fujitsu manufactures 70 percent of its of high-end products in Japan. Akikusa said the company is considering offshoring low-end production to Taiwan to cut costs. The outsourcing plan, however, does not include the notebook sector, he said.

During a speech delivered later yesterday, Akikusa said the Internet is permeating people's daily lives. Computers, cellphones, TVs, and many devices will be capable of connecting to the Internet, he said.

One major concern resulting from this is computer viruses, which could disrupt all of these systems, Akikusa said. Therefore, he said the industry needs to provide trustworthy products to avoid the problem, and this is a major goal of Fujitsu now.

"We are working on products that will never malfunction," Akikusa said.

To achieve this, Akikusa said the company needs to work with component providers to come up with compatible parts and integrate components to produce zero-glitch devices for consumers.

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