US high-tech giant Intel Corp said yesterday it had agreed to open a research center in South Korea, the world's leading high-speed broadband market.
The agreement was reached at a meeting here between Patrick Gelsinger, Intel's senior vice president and chief technology officer, and Yim Chu-jwan, president of the state-run Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute, a joint statement said.
It highlights a new push by global high-tech giants into South Korea, which has the world's highest broadband penetration rate at 73 percent and the world's fastest mobile phone network.
IBM Corp, the world's largest computer company, agreed last year to open a research and development center in South Korea to develop software for mobile communications.
Intel said its research center in Seoul will focus on "advanced wireless communications technology, high-quality media coding and next generation platforms for content distribution and consumption.
"Digital technology and the rapid expansion of digital content is changing how people experience entertainment and personal content within the home," Gelsinger said in the statement.
Intel gave no figures for its new South Korea investment saying only that the research lab would hire 20 people by the end of this year.
For this year, Intel set its capital spending budget at US$3.6 billion to US$4.0 billion.
South Korea's Information and Communication vice minister Kim Chang-gon said six international companies, including IBM, are expected to set up research labs in South Korea this year.
"Our goal is to make a cluster of world-class research centers here ... we plan to attract six research and development centers, four in the first half and two in the second," he said.
South Korea's once-booming high-tech industry led by mobile operators has been struggling to tide over a period of slow growth, competition and weak consumption caused by an economic downturn.
Finance and Economy Minister Lee Hun-jai promised last week to take steps aimed at raising the proportion of foreign direct investment from 9.2 percent of gross domestic product in 2002 to 14 percent by 2010.