Offshoring jobs or adding jobs offshore?

Chip design company Rambus is hiring in both India and the United States.

The offshoring debate is often framed as a zero-sum game, but that's probably too simplistic a view.

Consider chip designer Rambus, for example. The Los Altos, Calif.-based company on Thursday announced the opening of an office in Bangalore, India. Rambus, which has been embroiled in patent lawsuits, intends to hire 50 employees there by year's end.

But the company isn't chopping any of its roughly 230 U.S. positions. In fact, it continues to hire in the United States, according to Rambus official Linda Ashmore.

Ashmore said in an e-mail that Rambus' "primary design work will continue to be done" in California, while engineers in India will focus on replicating those designs for additional chip-making technologies.

So it looks like the Rambus offshore plan may be a win for workers on both sides of the Pacific.

Still, the move raises some intriguing issues. Would Rambus, which has 250 employees worldwide, have hired 50 more people in the United States if India wasn't an option? Or to turn the question on its head, would Rambus be able to continue hiring in the United States if it couldn't do some of its work in India?

 

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