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AMD Races to Catch Intel
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Rivalry between Intel and AMD is heating up as AMD races to catch its bigger competitor in the corporate market after making significant gains in the consumer sector.

AMD said yesterday its quad-core microprocessor, to be released in the middle of this year, would perform 40 percent faster than Intel's counterpart, vowing to shake Intel's dominance in the corporate sector in China, the world's second-largest computer market.

AMD, the second-largest microprocessor maker, held its first Innovation Day in Beijing yesterday, aiming to demonstrate its technological strengths and win clients. Intel will hold a similar event on April 17 and 18 in Beijing.

"By leveraging the R&D resources of the entire industry, we believe we can offer a great, stable experience," said Patrick Moorhead, vice-president of advanced marketing at AMD.

The chipmaker's "better by design" strategy, in cooperation with graphic card, wireless communication and chipset companies, aims to provide better services and stable performance to computer makers, former weaknesses of AMD in the corporate market.

According to domestic market research house CCID Consulting, AMD had a share of 23.9 percent in the desktop computer market in the first three quarters of 2006, an increase of 5 percent on the previous year at Intel's cost.

But while AMD held about half the Chinese consumer desktop market, its share in the corporate sector was much lower.

With technological innovation and a focus on partners, the company gained 28, or 90 percent, of the Chinese companies on the Fortune Global 2000 list as its customers.

"We are up to make it happen through partnerships," said Benjamin Williams, vice-president of strategy and solutions at AMD.

Intel is also changing its strategies to curb its losing streak.

On Monday, Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini said in Beijing that his company would begin building a US$2.5-billion chipset factory in Dalian. He predicted China would overtake the United States to become the world's largest computer market before 2010.

Although Intel usually plans a new production facility five or 10 years before it begins, it took just one and a half years for the world's largest semiconductor company to choose China, to get closer to the world's top computer manufacturing base and increase its cost competitiveness.

AMD will reportedly launch a new round of price cuts on April 9, about two weeks ahead of Intel, in a bid to maintain a competitive price.

Moorhead declined to comment on the price cuts, but said his firm was no more a follower, but a leader in technology such as 64-bit computing and dual-core processors.

(China Daily March 29, 2007)

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