sycamore.jpgSycamore Networks, the US optical networking manufacturer and one-time dotcom star, has joined the growing number of western hi-tech firms to open an R&D centre in China.

Based in Shanghai's Caohejing Hi-Tech Park, the R&D centre will develop products and technologies that enable network operators to build so-called “intelligent” networks optimised for high-bandwidth voice, video, and data applications.

The R&D facility already employs 30 networking engineers and the company expects to more than double its Shanghai-based R&D resources in the next 12 months.

Kevin Oye, vice president of systems and technology, said:

China has emerged as one of the world's most dynamic and significant markets for leading-edge communications applications and services. By locating a key development centre in China, we can tap the country's world renowned university education system for top talent that can help Sycamore continue to create innovative products for both the domestic and global markets.”

Sycamore was a high flyer back during the dotcom era but vanished from most radar screens soon afterwards when it became apparent that demand for its optical networking gear was vastly overhyped. Nevertheless, it is still in business and sales are growing. That's because optical networking is coming back in fashion as carriers are dusting down network upgrade plans postponed for several years.

Investors tempted to dip their toes back in this sector should first take a look at Sycamore's share price chart. Seven years after hitting a peak of over $200 and then crashing down to earth, Sycamore's stock is still worth less than $4. It makes China's current equity bubble look rather tame…

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