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Kyocera boosts India facility for wireless initiatives

Posted: 22 Jan 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:NFC? India R&D center? 3G?

Kyocera Wireless Corp. is gearing its engineering development center in India as a global center for innovation in product design and R&D.

The Indian center, which opened in 2003, initially employed 30 engineers but has since jumped to 580 workers. At least 300 more engineers are expected to be added this year. The center initially focused on software engineering for Kyocera's wireless handsets. It will now handle all aspects of wireless handset engineering, according to Samartha Raghava Nagabhushanam, managing director of Kyocera Wireless (India) Pvt. Ltd.

The center is also being expanded to develop emerging technologies like NFC, biometric sensors, dual-mode handsets and wireless broadband networks beyond 3G. It is also being expanded to support the company's pending deal to acquire Sanyo Electric's wireless handset business, which is expected to be completed soon.

When the Sanyo deal is completed, Kyocera's wireless business will grow by $2 billion in annual sales to about $4.5 billion. Kyocera executives declined to comment on the development of the deal.

Kyocera is one of the last of the major handset makers to enter the Indian market. "I know that the Indian market for wireless services is seeding explosive growth, with millions of subscribers being added by the month," said Rodney Lanthorne, president and chairman of Kyocera Wireless Corp. "The market for wireless handsets at the entry level is very competitive, and that is not the market we want to be in."

Kyocera has also launched talks with domestic CDMA service providers like Tata Indicom. "We are studying the possibility of entering the market, and also whether handsets can be manufactured in India," Lanthorne said. Flextronics is among Kyocera's possible manufacturing partners.

The company also manufactures solar power cells and modules but has yet to enter the Indian solar market. "If we have to sell our solar power products in India, we have to have a sales office," Lanthorne said.

- K.C. Krishnadas
EE Times

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