German chipmaker Qimonda plans to set up a centre for the development of memory products in Suzhou.
Like a lot of western chipmakers, Qimonda originally limited China's role in the semiconductor value chain to one of assembly and testing — so-called back-end operations, which are particularly labour-intensive and therefore usually done in low-cost countries.
But it is now promoting China to take on a more strategic development role in its global network, taking advantage of the well-trained scientists and engineers produced by the country's university system.
The additional development capacities in Suzhou will serve Qimonda's target to further expand and diversify its product portfolio. It will be installed in Qimoda's existing facility for the assembly and testing of memory ICs in the Suzhou Industrial Park, which is located 80km west of Shanghai.
The new development centre, which will start operations in October, will be an independent entity wholly owned by Qimonda whose total investment is expected to amount in $20m.
Qimonda hopes to employ 200 engineers at the Suzhou centre within five years. The centre will complement Qimonda's existing development centre in Xian while focusing on the full product development including product specification, circuit design and application test for computing and consumer memories.
Qimonda was set up in 2006 when Germany's Infineon spun off its memory chip operations into a a separate company.