Packard Bell NEC and NEC to merge sales outside Japan

By Julian Matthews

PENANG–Packard Bell NEC Asia Pacific and NEC will consolidate its desktop PC, notebook and server businesses, outside Japan, under a single entity by the year 2000.

“Managing and operating from the same organization gives certain advantages. Now, we are able to serve corporate customers worldwide under one umbrella. All products and services will be unified,” said Wim Giezenaar, vice president and managing director of Packard Bell NEC Asia Pacific in a statement.

Packard Bell NEC and NEC sales offices in the region operated independently of each other previously.

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Our own teenage envoy

By Anita Devasahayam

NEW YORK, November 20, 1998. More than 180 heads of state and ambassadors from all over the world had gathered for the United Nations General Assembly to discuss technology issues. They’d just been interrupted, and asked to bear witness to a new UN declaration.

A young man walks up the platform, representing the teenagers of the world. He’s their official voice. He seems a bit nervous, but that fades away as soon he starts speaking. He proposes the idea, others take up the call:

“We believe in ethics rather than laws … trust, not fear,” says another teenage delegate.

The result? The establishment of Nation1 (see In.Tech, Dec 1, 1998), a “country for children” that exists in cyberspace as a forum for young people to express ideas and fight for their rights.

And the young man who stood in the front of the world? He was 16-year-old Gerald Tan Chuang Win.

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Engineers Still in Demand, But Take Pay Cuts

Engineers are still in demand in Malaysia, but their incomes may have shrunk as result of the economic crisis and slump in the electronics industry in the last year and half.

A recent survey by the Institution of Engineers Malaysia indicated that average salaries dipped by between 6 and 20% since the crisis began.

About half of the 1,250 survey respondents said they were affected through cuts in salaries, bonuses, increments and benefits, while 3% said they were unemployed as a result of the crisis.

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Sony Strengthens Local DVD Production

By Julian Matthews

Sony Corp of Japan plans to make Malaysia a major global manufacturing facility for digital video disk (DVD) players outside Japan.

Sony (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd managing director Hideo Kojima said the decision was made based on the availability of high technology skills and similar technical processes already in place in the manufacture of CD-ROM drives in the country.

The company has been assembling DVD players since October with imported parts from Japan at the factory located in Bangi, Selangor. The initial production is for the domestic market.

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Penang Mooted as Removable Disk Drive Center

by Julian Matthews

A disk drive industry pioneer has predicted that Penang will become the removable disk drive capital of the world by the year 2000.

Castlewood Systems Inc president and CEO Syed Iftikar said this at the launch of the first Malaysian-owned plant to build 2.16-Gbyte magneto-resistive (MR) removable drives in August.

“If Singapore is the hard disk drive capital of the world, then I look forward to making Penang the leading manufacturer of removable drives in the world by the next millennium,” said Syed, who was the founder of SyQuest Technology Inc, and a co-founder of Seagate Technology Inc, where he invented the first 5.25-inch hard drive.

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IDT Banks on Winchip to Drive Growth

By Julian Matthews

Integrated Device Technology (IDT), Inc of the US expects to expand chip sales in Asia in the next two years despite market softness and the prolonged economic crisis in the region.

Integrated Device Technology (M) Sdn Bhd managing director B T Tan said the high inventory causing the current industry-wide weakness will be over in six to nine months.

“Although we see an impact in demand, I believe the semiconductor industry still has a bright future in this region, and will bounce back by next year,” he said.

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Removable Drives to Replace Hard Disks, Says Industry Pioneer

By Julian Matthews

August 27, 1998 (PENANG, Malaysia) — Removable drives will replace hard disk drives eventually, said industry pioneer Syed Iftikar, president and CEO of Castlewood Systems Inc.

He made his comment in an interview with Asia BizTech on Aug. 13, when manufacturing for the company’s ORB 2.16GB magneto-resistive (MR) removable drive was launched by its first strategic partner, Trans Capital Holding Bhd., a local contract manufacturer.

Syed was the founder of SyQuest Technology Inc. and co-founder of Seagate Technology Inc., where he invented the 5.25-in. hard disk drive.

Castlewood Systems was founded in September 1996 and is a privately-held company based in Pleasanton, Calif.

Syed is pioneering the use of MR technology and Giant Magneto Resistive (GMR) technology licensed from IBM Corp. in removable drives.

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Intel Expands Base With Market-Specific Processors

By Julian Matthews

April 10, 1998 (PENANG, Malaysia) — Intel Corp. plans to introduce Pentium II microprocessors to tackle every segment of the market including “lean PCs,” notebooks, desktops and high- performance workstations and servers, said CEO-designate Craig Barrett.

Barrett outlined the roadmap for 1998 in a presentation given April 2, while on a five- nation tour. Intel’s strategy means it will pursue the low- end, sub- US$1000 PC market, which it has largely ignored until recently.

Barrett said Intel was forced to re-think its single-processor strategy because of increased segmentation of the market and the differing needs of end- users.

“Previously we would introduce a new product for the workstation market and as volume manufacturing and cost reductions occurred it would drift down into the desktop PC, basic PC and mobile PC markets,” he said.

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We are not moving, says Barrett

By Anita Devasahayam

PENANG: Chip giant Intel Semiconductor will continue to aggressively invest in Asia Pacific to stimulate the PC market despite the region’s financial crisis.

President and chief operating officer Craig Barrett told a press conference here last week that Asia Pacific was still a growth area and has committed US$1 billion of capital investments for the region.

The company has committed US$5 billion in capital investments worldwide and another US$2 billion for research and development. “The five flat revenue growth quarters we had experienced was a jolt to us and our biggest challenge is to get back on track,” he said.

He added that the slowdown in the chip market and lack of anticipated orders from the customers also affected the company’s performance. “The only way to recover from a crisis is by accelerated development of new products and services,” he said.

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Intel Remains Aggressive in Asia, Says Barrett

By Julian Matthews

April 7, 1998 (PENANG, Malaysia) — Intel Corp. will continue to invest in the Asia Pacific region despite the regional economic crisis, said CEO- designate Craig Barrett.

“The Asia Pacific region is a major growth area for PCs. We are extremely optimistic about prospects for growth and we will continue to look for more opportunities to invest,” he said.

Barrett said Intel plans to invest US$1.3 billion in Asia in 1998, or more than a quarter of the chip giant’s total capital investment of US$5 billion.

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