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AMD Ramps up Intel Rivalry with R&D Center
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US microprocessor firm AMD will establish its second research and development center for mobile processors and solutions in Shanghai next month, as it tries to break the dominance of its rival Intel in China.


Vanoy Wong, vice-president of sales with AMD China, said that his company is likely to set up the center in Shanghai's Zhangjiang, a semiconductor hub, in August. The center will mainly focus on the development of mobile platforms with partners.


The US microprocessor firm already has an engineering center in Beijing, which is mainly engaged in desktop computers.


But Wong would not disclose further details about the center.


"This year will be a year of mobility for us," said Wong in an interview.


Last year AMD achieved significant breakthroughs in the world's second-largest computer market, which was formerly dominated by Intel.


As many as 80 percent of Lenovo's consumer desktop computers sold last year used AMD chips and the ratio for HP was 60 percent. Almost all major computer makers in China bought some processors from AMD.


The technological innovations in 64-bit computing and dual-core processors enabled AMD to lead the market in terms of technology. And the demand from computer makers for an alternative supplier amid intense competition made companies like Lenovo and HP endorse AMD products.


Following success on the desktop market, AMD has this year turned its attention to the more profitable and faster growing notebook market.


However, Intel has an overwhelming dominance in the mobile processor market due to successful marketing of its Centrino processor, which has a wireless Internet connection function, saves power consumption and has almost become a standard in the notebook market.


The notebook processor market is an important one for AMD.


According to US market intelligence firm International Data Corp, China's computer market is expected to grow at an annual average of 11.7 percent from 2005 to 2010, but the growth of notebook computers is 38 percent for the period.


AMD's Wong predicted the growth could be around 50 percent and shipment is likely to hit 5 million units.


One weapon that the US firm will use is its traditional strategy: technology.


AMD has just released its latest Turion 64 x2 chips for thin and light notebooks in China. The product has two cores in one processor and supports 64-bit computing. The first feature allows a processor to run at twice the speed of a single-core processor and the 64-bit technology supports more complicated computing tasks.


Intel is expected to launch a similar product next month.


Chris Cloran, vice-president of AMD's mobile division, said the launch of its new processors will give the industry another choice on notebook processors.


A total of 12 notebook models were launched in China, including those from HP and Tsinghua Tongfang, the third-largest Chinese computer maker.


Cloran said more than 80 models are still in the pipeline and will be released onto the market soon.


However, its allies Lenovo and Dell, two of the top three computer makers in the world along with HP, were absent from AMD's first batch of partners.


(China Daily July 4, 2006)


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