Fri, Sep 20, 2019 - Page 12 News List

MediaTek invests NT$100bn in 5G tech

CONCERTED EFFORT:The company has been striving to catch up with its rivals since the release of 2G chips, but its chairman said it is definitely now a leading 5G developer

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter, in Hsinchu

MediaTek Inc chairman Tsai Ming-kai gestures at the launch of the company’s 5G labs in the Hsinchu Science Park yesterday.

Photo: Cho Yi-chun, Taipei Times

Mobile phone chip designer MediaTek Inc (聯發科) yesterday said that it has invested NT$100 billion (US$3.23 billion) — part of which was spent on a team of 3,000 engineers — to grow its 5G technological capabilities and capture the market in its prime.

The company entered the mobile phone chip market in 2000, offering 2G chips.

As each new generation of wireless technology has been released since, the company has been striving to catch up with rivals such as Qualcomm Inc.

Three years ago, the company started to allocate 20 to 30 percent of its annual research and development spending to 5G technology, MediaTek chief financial officer David Ku (顧大為) said, adding that the company budgeted between NT$50 billion and NT$60 billion per year for research and development.

“We will continue expanding our 5G team over time,” Ku said.

“Development of our 5G chips is going smoothly. Everything is on schedule,” he added.

MediaTek is scheduled release its first 5G single-chip product in the first quarter of next year, Ku said.

The chipmaker said it plans to release more details about the chip in December, which would be based on Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (台積電) 7-nanometer technology.

That is just the first step, as MediaTek said it plans to launch a full series of 5G chips next year.

“MediaTek is definitely one of the leading 5G technology developers in the world,” MediaTek chairman Tsai Ming-kai (蔡明介) told reporters at the company’s headquarters in the Hsinchu Science Park (新竹科學園區), which houses the company’s new 5G fabs.

MediaTek estimated that 5G smartphone shipments would reach 140 million units next year, with the bulk, or 100 million phones, going to China, where MediaTek has built a stronghold over the years.

The company opened its 5G labs in Hsinchu Science Park yesterday, demonstrating to reporters mobile phone chips tested on equipment similar to the base stations used by North American and Japanese telecoms.

Commenting on a US-China trade dispute, MediaTek said that it would not benefit from the situation.

The company’s concern would be whether the trade dispute reduces consumers’ willingness to buy new smartphones, Ku said.

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