US chipmaker AMD will open a research and development (R&D) centre in Shanghai and launch its own platform strategy in China to expand its sales to businesses.
"My biggest regret is that our share of the enterprise computer market is still very small, so we've got a lot to do in 2006," said Karen Guo, corporate vice-president of AMD and president of its Chinese operations, in an interview in Beijing.
The company declined to reveal its shipment proportion in the enterprise computer market, but its share of the total market, including ordinary customers, was almost 20 per cent, according to the US intelligence firm International Data Corp.
There are still difficulties, in spite of the firm's successes in the consumer computer segment in 2005.
One major investment by the US firm in China to help achieve a breakthrough in the enterprise market this year will be the establishment of its global R&D centre.
"It is still under internal evaluation, but I hope we will be able to make some announcements on this in two to three months' time," said Guo.
The centre is expected to be located in Zhangjiang, a semiconductor hub in Shanghai, and initially employ about 30 people.
Guo said the centre will develop AMD platforms, which will allow computer makers to develop solutions with the US chip giant together.
"China should not only be a research base for our business on the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan, but also a base for global research and development," said the scientist-turned-businesswoman Guo.
Intel, which has benefited from its Centrino wireless Internet connection platform over the past three years, aims to work with hardware, software and content partners to create market demand.
Intel has embedded more functions into its chips, thus giving it a bigger say with its partners. It can also promote new products much faster because of the support of many customers.
Last week, Intel announced the launch of its second platform, called Viiv, with the support of more than 20 companies in China.
AMD currently has a platform development team in Taiwan, but the establishment of an R&D centre in Shanghai will greatly elevate its capabilities, Guo said.
She added that AMD's platform strategy is not the same as Intel's and will not provide customers with every requirement, but give them choices about what functions they want to add to their computers. While AMD has made some breakthroughs in the consumer market, where cost is a key factor, stability and brand awareness are more important in the enterprise sector.
Many businesses, which have been using Intel processors for years, know little about what AMD can offer, Guo said.
For enterprise users, computer stability is one of the top concerns.
This is a problem for AMD, which is famous for its technological innovations, but also for some perception problems, such as its chips producing too much heat. This has made some enterprises cautious about using the firm's chips, even though AMD has solved the problem.
In the past year, AMD said it had gained significant ground on its rival Intel in the Chinese market.
"Last year was a year of pride and glory for us in China," claimed Guo.
In 2004, AMD began to co-operate with the world's third-largest computer maker, China's Lenovo Group, and the country's Founder Group, the parent company of the country's second-largest computer firm Founder Technology. Large-scale adoption of AMD chips began last year.
Guo, quoting third party's statistics, said that more than 80 per cent of consumer desktop computers by Lenovo used AMD processors, while the ratio for the US giant HP was 60 per cent in the Chinese market.
Source: China Daily