Freescale to hire more in China, HK

LOOKING EAST: The US-based company employs more than 1,000 engineers in Asia, excluding Japan, out of a total workforce of more than 9,000, its Asia chairman said

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Sun, Sep 16, 2007 - Page 11

Freescale Semiconductor Inc, a US maker of chips for cars and mobile phones, plans to increase hiring in Hong Kong and China to accelerate product development.

"We want to expand in markets that offer growth," Joe Yiu (姚天從), Asia chairman of the Austin, Texas-based company, said yesterday in Hong Kong.

The company has more than 1,000 engineers in Asia excluding Japan, out of a total workforce of more than 9,000, Yiu said.

Freescale said it is increasing its development of chips used to process cellphone signals to meet demand from customers including Research In Motion Ltd and Motorola Inc.

Worldwide sales of mobile-phones are expected to climb 14 percent to 1.13 billion units this year, research firm Gartner Inc said.

400 ENGINEERS

The US chipmaker is the third-largest supplier of semiconductors used in mobile phones and employs more than 400 engineers in China and Hong Kong, Yiu said.

The company has more than 600 engineers in India, where in March it opened a design center in Noida, near New Delhi, to add to a facility in the southern city of Bangalore, he said.

Freescale, which also supplies chips used in phone and networking equipment to customers including Huawei Technologies Co (華為科技) and ZTE Corp (中興通訊), has design centers in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Chengdu and Suzhou, in addition to Hong Kong.

Freescale moved its Hong Kong office to Phase 2 of Hong Kong Science Park, a government-funded office complex. Phase 2, which cost HK$3.8 billion (US$488 million) to build, opened yesterday.

Companies including Royal Philips Electronics NV and Solomon Systech International Holdings Ltd also lease offices at the complex.

RISING SALES

Freescale increased sales of mobile-phone chips 11 percent to US$1.35 billion last year, behind Texas Instruments Inc and Qualcomm Inc, Gartner said. Freescale also makes chips used in cars for customers including General Motors Corp.

Freescale, which was bought by a group of private-equity companies led by Blackstone Group LP in December, said that sales in the three months to June 29 fell 14 percent from a year earlier to US$1.38 billion.