Intel Hikes India Investments to Over $100 Million

Intel plans to invest in over 50 companies in the Asia-Pacific region this year, of which 20 percent to 30 percent would be in India, Christian Morales, Intel's vice president and general manager for the Asia- Pacific region, told IDG News Service.

These investments will include minority investment companies via Intel Capital, Intel's venture capital program. Avtar Saini, Intel's director for South Asia, said Intel would invest in Indian content development, technology and infrastructure companies. Intel announced in April it was investing in Mumbai-based IndusInd Media & Communications Ltd., which is setting up a broadband network in India.

Intel also plans to acquire some Indian companies. Some of these are technology companies. "We are constantly looking at it. Thinkit was one, and we are looking at more," said Saini. Intel acquired in February Santa Clara, California-based Thinkit Technologies Inc. and its Bangalore-based subsidiary, Software & Silicon Systems Pvt Ltd., which was doing silicon design for Sacramento, California-based Level One Communications Inc., an Intel subsidiary. Intel is keen to tap into the development expertise and availability of software engineers in India, Morales added.

The Thinkit acquisition has beefed up the strength of Intel's development center in Bangalore to about 120 engineers. "Close to the end of this year, we should cross the 200 engineers mark, and we plan to get to 500 over the next two to three years," added Saini. The center does systems software development work such as writing device drivers and also develops applications for Intel's own internal information systems. The scope of the center is being expanded to include design of logic chips for Intel, according to Saini.

Intel is also working with some undisclosed companies in India to ready them to design and manufacture PC motherboards. Currently, India's requirement of Intel processor-based motherboards is met by imports. "The cost of the PC in India will come down as more integration happens here," explained Saini.

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