November 4, 1999 11:05 AM PST
Intel will continue to invest in China
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Net firms walk a fine line in ChinaNovember 3, 1999
"We will invest appropriately in accordance to the law in China," Intel's CEO Craig Barrett said at news conference today in Beijing, Reuters reported. Barrett is on a tour through Asian nations, including China and South Korea.
Foreign markets, especially those where high technology is just beginning to percolate to consumers and businesses, form a significant component in an overall strategy for growth at Intel.
In many respects, Intel's foreign adventures exhibit a chicken-and-egg flair. The company invests in hardware makers and software developers in overseas. But it also invests in communications carriers, so that these new consumers will be able to connect to the Internet, and content companies specializing in local content, so that new users will have something to read when they get there.
Once the information culture exist, the theory goes, sales of computers and computer chips will skyrocket.
In August, for instance, Intel invested $50 million in a joint venture called Pacific Century CyberWorks that will provide a cable Internet service--served in part by satellite transmissions--to Hong Kong and surrounding areas. Eventually, the service will provide local content as well, executives have said. The company also held a developer's conference in Shanghai this past summer.
Similar strategies have been forged in India, Europe, and South America.
But it won't be smooth sailing. Chinese companies face a struggle to find a way to balance their business goals with China's strict rules against foreign business ventures.
China has set its sights on creating an information economy that rivals any in the United States in the new millennium, and it's now trying to create the infrastructure to support this aim.
Ownership of telecommunications and Net firms has been a key component in trade talks between the United States and China, which wants to win membership in the World Trade Organization.
Barrett's views came after a Chinese telecommunications official in San Francisco said that China still banned overseas Net investments. Barrett was in the Bejiing to dedicate the company's China Research Center.
"My impression is, this is a policy still under formulation and we will participate in the dialogue as the government decides exactly what it wants," Barrett said, according to Reuters.
Reuters and News.com's John Borland contributed to this report.