Motorola Inc, the world's second largest cellphone maker, said it is opening a research center in Singapore, its first in Asia outside Japan, to develop mobile phones for so-called third-generation, or 3G, services.
The research center will help Motorola develop new cellular handsets in Singapore, where its manufacturing site produces 60 percent of its 3G mobile phones, the company said at a media event.
Third-generation phones allow users faster access to services such as video downloads. The handsets will be based on global system for mobile communications, or GSM, technology.
"Both Asia and Europe seem to be the rapid adopters of new technology," Bill Werner, senior vice president of personal communications sector for 3G at Motorola, said at a press briefing in Singapore. "The Americas tend to be a little slower" due to less emphasis on the mobility of technology.
Hutchison Global Communication Holdings Ltd and Vodafone Group Plc are the two biggest buyers of Motorola's Singapore-made cellular handsets.
The center will help Singapore's efforts to build its technology sector as it faces rising competition from lower-cost markets such as China and India. For the cost of hiring a Singapore worker, a company can employ three in Malaysia, eight in Thailand, 13 in China and 18 in India, Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said last year.
About 60 new staff will be recruited for the new research unit, including an initial 28 engineers who have been sent to the US for training on the new technology, the Schaumburg, Illinois-based company said.
Motorola already operates two research centers and houses its Asia Pacific regional headquarters in Singapore.