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Intel to give lab to university in Taiwan

The company plans to donate a wireless lab to one of Taiwan's top universities, a move seen as the chipmaker's bid to develop its wireless communications business in Asia.

Intel will donate a wireless lab to one of Taiwan's top universities, a move seen as the giant chipmaker's bid to develop its wireless communications business in Asia.

The National Tsing Hua University, which is known to produce IT graduates for leading semiconductor companies such as TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing) and UMC (United Microelectronics), will receive financing and equipment sponsorship from Intel for the wireless facility. Intel CEO Craig Barrett, who made the announcement at a press conference Monday, declined to reveal the value of the deal.

The lab is scheduled to open in the third quarter of this year and is aimed at helping Taiwan's high-tech industry create the future of Internet computing, from design to development, Barrett said.

"The future of Taiwan is based on the strength of its current and future work force, which must be well-educated in technology and able to develop tomorrow's ideas. The foundation for technology invention can only come from education, especially from math and science," he said.

"The Internet is forcing the integration of computing and communications capabilities. New products and technologies will be needed to meet future consumer needs and demands. Taiwan's solid technology is an excellent place upon which to develop IT talent and create knowledge-based careers that will turn 'Made in Taiwan' into 'Innovated in Taiwan.'"

Barrett is in Taipei to attend Intel's Forum on Technology Education.

"Research across geographical boundaries and partnerships between corporations and education communities will be key to the competitiveness of advanced research and development personnel in Taiwan. With this partnership, we hope to have a head start in the global wireless communications sector," Frank Hsia-San Shu, president of National Tsing Hua University, said in a statement.

Taiwanese developers have been quick to embrace the convergence between personal computers and wireless devices. Companies like GrandTech and Evercomm International have been developing (personal digital assistant) PDA-based cell phones for the last two years; and with the release of Microsoft's Pocket PC 2002, eight local companies have been working on Web-enabled handheld computers, which are slated for launch in the second half of this year.

Intel is no stranger to the Taiwanese education sector. In April 1999, the company contributed $400,000 to two universities for the development of servers and workstations. This investment, and many others in the past, has borne fruit. Today, the country supplies 30 percent of the world's Intel-based servers, according to statistics from Taipei-based research firm Market Intelligence Center.

CNETAsia's Evan Chang and Hsing-yu Wang reported from Taiwan.