Qualcomm Inc yesterday said it is to open three research and testing centers — including a 5G module research and design center in Hsinchu next quarter — in an effort to complete the final pieces of its 5G puzzle.
A millimeter-wave testing center and a biometric sensor testing center will also be built at its campus in Hsinchu, it said.
The US chipmaker added that it plans to relocate several key labs to Taiwan over the next few months, making Taiwan the second in the world after Silicon Valley with testing capabilities for those technologies.
The latest development came after the San Diego, California-based chipmaker in August agreed to invest a total of US$700 million in Taiwan over the next five years to settle an antitrust lawsuit with the Fair Trade Commission.
“We are working together with Taiwan to complete this 5G puzzle at the very beginning phase,” Roawen Chen (陳若文), senior vice president of manufacturing technology and operations at Qualcomm, told reporters.
It would be totally different from Taiwan’s experience in the development of previous generations of wireless communications technology, as local companies entered the market to “fill some of the holes” in the final stage, he said.
“Our aim is to assist Taiwan to usher in the 5G era as rapidly as possible, allowing them to make profits by quickening the time-to-market of their products, rather than relying on scale of economy,” he said.
“The economic scale achieved by Chinese and South Korean rivals will be incomparable until then,” he said.
Qualcomm’s testing centers would help local manufacturers nearly halve the time-to-market of new products compared with the 4G era, Chen said.
The testing centers would not only provide certification for mobile phone components in Taiwan, but also for system testing, or the whole phone, he added.
The creation of a 5G module research and design center would make it possible for Taiwan’s small and medium-sized enterprises to tap into the 5G market, Chen said.
Such 5G modules can be used in different industries, such as automotive devices, Internet of Things, augmented reality and virtual reality, Chen said.
The introduction of 5G modules can help solve the problems and lower the threshold of 5G technology and investments for companies that do not have a scale of 100 million mobile phones a year, he said.
Qualcomm’s manufacturing tech-nology and operations employ a total of 3,000 engineers worldwide, including about 100 in Taiwan.
The firm plans to expand its local headcount significantly over the next four to five years, it said.
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