| Stoops to conquer: Intel CEO Craig R. Barrett (left) blows out the candles on his 63rd birthday in New Delhi on Thursday as IT minister Pramod Mahajan looks on (AFP)
New Delhi, Aug 29: Intel will invest $ 130 million in a new facility in India that is expected to generate additional employment for about 2,000 engineers and will soon launch the micro-processors design work in India.
Intel’s decision will for the first time bring the high-end hardware design work to the country. Currently, Intel’s operations in India includes engineering design and development, education, strategic investments and sales and marketing. The world’s leading microprocessor chip maker has already invested about $ 150 million in India and offers employment to 850 people.
“We have a checklist of about 100 items that is taken into account for making investments. India rates poorly in that compared to China,” said Craig Barrett, chief executive officer of Intel Corporation.
The new investment will be used in the areas of advanced design and development.
Barrett today stressed the need to improve the basic infrastructure like roads, railways, drinking water, availability of raw material if India has to attract foreign investment.
The Intel boss, who parried questions from the media at a press conference held here today, said, “India needs to improve its infrastructure. I have met many senior leaders today and have told them about Intel’s decisions for India.”
Asked if he subscribed to former Intel boss Andrew Grove’s views expressed in his book “Only the paranoid survive”, Barrett said, “If Andy said it, then we are paranoid. We are always paranoid about bringing out the right products at right time. In his book he has said, we are paranoid about competition and would like to perform better to maintain the position of the leader.”
Later in the day while delivering the keynote address, Barrett stressed that the internet was still a powerful tool and that the initial period of irrational exuberance in form of dotcoms was slowly giving way to the more rational investment decisions.
“We are going through a phase of the impact of irrational exuberance of internet. Internet is going to be a key in the future for the knowledge-based industry. The concept of knowledge economy is changing and the business-to-business (B2B) transactions will be determined by the benefits of internet,” said Barrett.
Barrett also said that inspite of the low penetration of personal computers and the internet proliferation in the country, India’s revenues from the services account for 53 per cent while China with better infrastructure has been able to generate only 33 per cent revenue for the services.
Speaking about the future power of a chip, Barrett said, the merging of computing and communications in a single chip will revolutionise the way people perform their business.
In a word of caution to India, Barrett said that India will have to continue to grow on its existing strengths and simultaneously improve upon sectors like, software hardware (design) research and development, since other countries of the world too are working on these areas and will soon catch up.
“We believe in India's future as a total IT nation and we are investing in it. There are gaps like lack of infrastructure development, hardware manufacturing, high taxes on IT products. This needs to be corrected if India is to become a IT superpower,” said Barrett.
Barrett today met Union communications minister Pramod Mahajan and proposed to undertake steps that will create a strong skilled work force in order to play a proactive role in the existing Indian knowledge economy.
Mahajan and Barrett agreed to undertake measures to tackle the issue of digital divide in the country by bringing about a new synergy between the policy initiatives of the government and the business strategy of Intel in India.
Intel and the Department of Information Technology today also signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance opportunities for industry, education, technology programmes and efforts in bridging the digital divide.
In the field of education, Intel will partner the communications ministry under the Vidya Vahini project, that aims to cover 150 schools in seven districts. Under this project Intel will train teachers based on its curriculum in regional languages and students learning will be enhanced through applications, using PC Microscopes that have been donated for the project.