Taipei, Nov. 2 (CNA) U.S.-based chip designer Qualcomm Technologies Inc. has decided to set up a new manufacturing engineering and testing center in Hsinchu, which will become operational in the first quarter of next year, the company announced Friday.
The Center for Operations, Manufacturing Engineering and Testing (COMET) in Taiwan will be headed by Roawen Chen (陳若文), senior vice president, Qualcomm QCT global operations, Qualcomm added.
COMET will include a 5G module design center and Qualcomm is launching a recruitment campaign with plans to initially hire 77 engineers.
The company first announced its plan to open COMET in Taiwan in August, with Chen saying in a statement that Taiwan has a well-developed semiconductor industry which serves as a hub in the supply chain of the integrated circuit upstream segment in Asia.
Chen said the establishment of COMET shows Qualcomm's commitment to investing in Taiwan and its determination to strengthen Taiwan's 5G technology and help the country build a successful 5G ecosystem.
In addition to the 5G module design center, which is expected to boost applications in 5G smartphones, COMET will also include a millimeter wave testing center and a supersonic touch ID research center.
According to Qualcomm, the 5G module design center is expected to provide technology for use to other industries such as automotive electronics and the Internet of Things.
Qualcomm also said it is planning to set up a multimedia research and development center and mobile artificial intelligence center in Taiwan, which are also scheduled to open in 2019.
The COMET announcement came after Qualcomm and Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission (FTC) reached a settlement on Aug. 10 over an antitrust dispute, as a result of which the company paid a fine of NT$2.73 billion (US$88.84 million), considerably lower than the record NT$23.4 billion initially imposed by the commission in October 2017.
The settlement was reached at Taiwan's Intellectual Property Court, where Qualcomm filed an appeal against the FTC's initial fine.
Under the settlement agreement, Qualcomm pledged to invest US$700 million in Taiwan over the next five years, an investment plan which will cover 5G collaboration, market expansion, startup and university collaborations, and the creation of an operational and manufacturing engineering center in the country.
While many market observers questioned whether Qualcomm will deliver on its commitment to invest US$700 million, the FTC said earlier this year that Qualcomm will complete the first stage of the investment by the end of next year. However, the financial terms for the first stage of the investment remain unknown.