Wed, Sep 22, 2010 - Page 1 News List

HP to establish R&D center in Taiwan

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Hewlett-Packard Co is setting up a global research and development (R&D) center in Taiwan, and expects to churn out computer and mobile devices such as its prospective iPad-killer, the HP Slate.

The center, called the Computing Hub, will cost NT$3.6 billion (US$112.5 million) over three years and is expected to procure US$30 billion in electronics components from Taiwanese companies each year within that period, according to sources familiar with the deal.

“The center will set its focus on computer products, determining the design of HP Slate and related multi-touch applications,” sources said.

Other products in the R&D pipeline for the Computing Hub include 3D visual technologies for mobile products, while the US tech giant will work with local suppliers for special shutter glasses.

Personal cloud computing will also be a key theme for the center, where HP will develop related infrastructure and share know-how with Taiwanese contract makers, the sources said.

Kai Hsiao (蕭國坤), HP Taiwan’s procurement head, confirmed ­yesterday that the company has initiated a three-year program to set up an R&D center in Taiwan.

He would not comment on the specifics or amount, but said the center would play a critical role for HP’s global R&D.

“This project will put our Taiwan site in a strategic position for HP’s global R&D operations,” he said, adding that the center would be the largest R&D project in terms of investment in Taiwan’s tech industry.

He said PC, handset and server products would be the key focuses for the Computing Hub.

“Innovation will be the key to the Computing Hub. It won’t carry out R&D for middle or low-end products. The center will also join hands with Taiwan’s academia,” he said.

HP is not alone in boosting investment in Taiwan to tap into the local tech supply chain and its growing trade ties with China following the signing of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA).

Another US firm, Super Micro Computer Inc, a leader in storage and server manufacturing, will also spend more than US$100 million to set up its Asia-Pacific operation center in Taiwan.

The company will recruit up to 4,000 staff members to run the center, which will include logistical, manufacturing and R&D functions.

“The company is facing high labor costs at its research site in Silicon Valley. Moving to Taiwan will help it cut costs and it could also take advantage of the ample resources of the tech supply chain here,” sources said.

Its operation center will be located in Bade (八德), Taoyuan County.

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