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Agilent discusses Asia business, modular instruments

Posted: 29 Sep 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Agilent Measurement Forum? LTE? modular instrument? education?

Initially, we saw manufacturers moving into Asia, capitalizing on the abundant labor and lower costs, as well as the domestic markets. For instance, China and India offer huge domestic markets.

More recently, we are seeing a lot of MNCs expanding their R&D and validation into places like Singapore, Malaysia and even China. So we see that Asia will continue to grow in terms of expertise. Some examples of the growth areas we see are:

HR issues challenge industry

During the interview, Lawrence Liu said he expects Samsung and Intel's Vietnam sites to be one of their biggest manufacturing sites. Yet, he noted that Intel's Vietnam initial investment plans probably fluctuated because of the challenge in hiring people. "Intel is basically having issues in hiring qualified technicians and engineers," he said.

Agilent has a representative in Vietnam, and Liu says that hiring is a challenge for them because people get trained and hop jobs. Keeping a trained work force is therefore a challenge.

Not just Vietnam
Liu agreed that most emerging economies, including India and Indonesia, present this challenge to the electronics industry. In Indonesia, "we're seeing a lot of resources and money increasing in infrastructure and education. We all agree that they need to do that."

EE Times-Asia: Are you partnering with any educational institution?
Liu: We are certainly working with all the top universities in those countries. While we have university programs around the world, the emerging economies have more interest and urgency for us to work with them.

Is there any part of the program you had to tailor for an emerging economy?
We are introducing a lot of the stuff here [at the Agilent Measurement Forum in Singapore] but we'll be doing scaled versions of the AMF. We will probably not have certain niche areas like [those that deal with] nanotechnology.

Vietnam: The country has a large population of 90 million people, which also represents a large domestic market. With lower labor cost, a relatively stable country politically and socially, coupled with generous tax incentives, these ingredients have attracted major foreign investors such as Samsung, Intel, Nokia and Foxconn. And Agilent is there to support our customers as well as to serve the local indigenous companies.

Indonesia: another potential growth country. The government has been proactively improving infrastructure as well as investing in research and education to bring up their level of competitiveness in the region.

In Singapore and Malaysia, there's increased focus on R&D, conformance set-up for RFID, government investment and education.

In India, the promising growth segments for test & measurement include telecom, A&D, R&D, automotive, consumer electronics and education.

Agilent serves these markets in developed and emerging Asia and the growth of the region is good news for the company.

What are the areas of opportunities and growth in these markets and what is driving this?
Some growth areas include telecommunications, aerospace & defense, consumer electronics (like tablets and cellphones) and education. The ever-increasing demand for faster internet data services pushes the demand for mobile devices like smartphone and tablets. Take tablets for example. Worldwide shipment by end of this year is projected to be 63.2 million, and increasing to 113.9 million by end 2012. Such trends drive the development of faster and more sophisticated technologies in order to keep up with the demand for higher data rates.

For the emerging economies, like Indonesia and the Philippines, they all have a pretty similar challenge: building up human capital to support their growing economies. The education market presents a huge growth potential where respective governments have acknowledged the need and urgency to upgrade their education system and infrastructure. [We expect that] the government will be funding or they will be getting overseas funding from the ADB [Asian Development Bank], the IMF [International Monetary Fund], and organizations like that.

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