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Taiwan awaits Intel's reply on WiMAX withdrawal speculation

2010/07/20 22:36:06

Taipei, July 20 (CNA) The government was waiting Tuesday for areply from Intel Corp. over speculation that the world's largest chipmaker is backing out of WiMAX wireless technology, Vice EconomicsMinister Hwang Jung-chiou said that day.

"We have asked about it (Intel's stance on WiMAX), but are stillawaiting a reply, " Hwang said at a press briefing.

He said that if Intel withdraws from the industry, there will belittle impact on the development of WiMAX, as Intel only occupies 1.3percent of the world's WiMAX chip market, while Taiwan's MediaTekInc. occupies 5.4 percent.

Intel's commitment to WiMAX was called into question earlier thismonth when news emerged that the company had closed its WiMAX ProgramOffice in Taiwan, reportedly in late June.

On July 1, Intel defended its office closure, saying that itsWiMAX office was only temporary and had accomplished its mission of"getting WiMAX off the ground and into the market."

Hwang expressed hope that a joint venture between the Ministry ofEconomic Affairs (MOEA) and Intel will be established by the end ofthe year.

Intel has promised to invest US$500 million over five years inthe sector under a deal with the ministry signed in 2008. Intel isalso a partner of leading WiMAX service providers in Taiwan.

In a separate event earlier in the day, Rosemary Ho, chairman andchief executive of Global Mobile Corp., one of Taiwan's six WiMAXservice providers, told CNA that "Intel has had a good relationshipwith us."

The prominent information technology veteran added that Intelmust cooperate with Taiwanese companies in the field because they can"complement each other."

Ho, who is a former country head of Hewlett-Packard (HP) Taiwan,described Intel's restructuring plan as "very normal" and said thecompany still supports WiMAX.

Howard Chen, chairman of Gemtek Technology Co., told reportersthat Intel's move will not have any impact and that he lookspositively to future sales of his company's WiMAX products.

Don Lin, president of Tatung InfoComm, another local WiMAXoperator, said that 90 percent of the world's WiMAX end-user devicesare shipped from Taiwan.

The output of Taiwan's WiMAX products is expected to reachNT$17.4 billion (US$543 million) this year, up from NT$8.79 billionlast year, according to an MOEA statement released that same day.

(By Lin Hui-chun and Alex Jiang)