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Agilent focuses wireless operations in Asia

Posted: 12 Jan 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:wireless communications? agilent? wireless systems operations?

Connection is crucial to wireless communications in the same way that it is crucial in the world of business. To be on top of the wireless foodchain, close proximity to clients is a must. Agilent is doing just that, making Singapore and Malaysia the global hub for its Wireless Systems Operations (WSO).

"Looking at the market trends, it has become apparent to us that Asia continues to be the center for most of the [semiconductor and electronic] activities. This centralization will bring tremendous amount of advantage when it comes to procurement, operation and dealing with contractors," said Amir Aghdaei, vice president and general manager of Agilent's WSO business unit.

By establishing the two centers in Singapore and Malaysia, Agilent expects to meet the needs of its customers through the capabilities of both countries.

"Over 50 percent of our T&M products are already being built and shipped out of Penang, building on that capability of 1,500 people, Malaysia was an easy choice to make. Singapore, on the other hand, is a hub for doing business in Asia. The government is attracting wireless R&D applications into the country. Efforts made by the Singapore Economic Development Board and the wireless community, to name a few, are factors for us to also select Singapore," said Aghdaei.

Agilent has started shifting some of its operations from the United States to Malaysia, building knowledge expertise and adding more engineers in Penang.

"A lot of our back office, order fulfillment and manufacturing capabilities have moved to Penang. We have a team close to about 50 engineers in Penang, most of which were additions over the last 6 months. Starting with the back office and infrastructure there, we have resources distributed throughout Asia: Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China and India."

Hot spot indeed

Aghdaei sees three major factors/trends in the market. One is supply-chain fragmentation, which is similar to the PC industry trend in the early 80s. The fragmentation of the supply chain from design to contract manufacturing is happening with a much faster rate in the wireless industry, especially in the handsets.

Another factor is subscriber's growth. "The next billion users will happen over the next three to five years. They're going to be located in India, China, Brazil, Russia etc. The demand of these new users is different from the first one billion users located in Singapore, Hong Kong, Western Europe and America. The kind of capabilities that they need, mobility as the key driver, will be primarily focused on cost and coverage."

The third trend evolves around innovation. Wireless communications will change the way we do business such as paying tolls, doing inventories and in healthcare, security etc. in the next few years. In fact, it is already happening in some regions, including Asia.

"Innovation is happening everywhere. Bangalore is becoming more of an R&D center and Southern China as the contract manufacturing capital. More and more ODMs are starting up in Taiwan, while Singapore continues to invest in next-generation wireless. Moving close to our key customers is the primary reason for this move. The centralization would enable us to move closer to where people are making these innovations, work with them, and make these things happen much faster," he said.

In India, the number of wireless users exceeds the number of landline users. Meanwhile, the number of subscribers in China has long surpassed the United States.

The wireless market is indeed moving rapidly. New standards are being introduced and new money is coming from venture capitals.

"This [wireless communications] is a 580-billion market. Being close to where next-generation networks are to be built allows you to tap into that opportunity, enable and support it."

- Denice Obina

Electronics Engineering Times- Asia

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