US chipmaker AMD says China will become its single-largest market in 18 months, as the company aims to further challenge Intel's dominance.
Hector Ruiz, chairman and CEO of the California-based microprocessor maker, said China has become a critical factor in AMD's global success. "If I need to rate my China team on a scale of 0 to 10, I will give them a score of 11," said Ruiz.
The company's revenue in China has grown sixfold and the number of employees almost 20 times to about 2,000.
All major domestic PC makers have begun to use AMD processors. According to IDC, AMD's market share rose to about 25 percent in the first quarter, from a fraction in 2002, fundamentally shaking the overwhelming dominance of its rival, Intel Corp.
The company has started to build an active partnership with domestic computer makers like Lenovo, Tongfang and Founder, bringing down the prices of computers through competition and helping local firms reach out to consumers.
Karen Guo, senior vice-president of AMD and president of its Chinese operations, said her company already has an over 30 percent share of the desktop PC market.
However, in the notebook and enterprise markets, AMD still lags behind Intel, which has also invested heavily in China, including an ongoing US$2.5 billion fabrication plant.
Ruiz said it's hard to overthrow an "abusive and illegal monopoly", but he believed the industry has recognized the value of choice.
In the government sector, which is a large buyer and an opinion leader, not too long ago, officials used to think Pentium was the only industrial standard and thus their procurement catalog only had Intel products like Pentium or Centrino.
The procurement departments of the central government agencies, provincial governments and the Ministry of Education have now added AMD to their list.
Spencer Pan, vice-president of AMD China, said the government has provided a level playing field in procurement, so his company will try its best to win customers together with computer makers.
In the notebook segment, the fastest-growing area, the company plans to work more closely with computer makers. HP has used AMD chips in notebooks and achieved a rapid growth.
AMD, which launched an ambitious plan to bring computer access to half of the world's population by 2015 with partners, will begin to launch some low-cost computers for rural areas in partnership with local manufacturers.
The computers, with embedded chips and software, cost about 2,000 yuan, one-third of a mainstream PC.
In the past five years, AMD and other vendors in the industry have joined a remote education program. A total of 1.47 million computers will be set up in rural schools by the end of this year as part of this program.
(China Daily June 28, 2007)