Intel to accelerate innovation expenditures

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Latin America division of US chip manufacturer Intel (NYSE: INTC) plans to shuffle more budget toward innovation efforts this year, the company's Latin America general director, Steve Long, told BNamericas without providing hard figures.

Intel has Latin American installations such as a factory in Costa Rica, and announced last year plans to invest US$177mn in a plant located in Guadalajara, Mexico.

"I think you'll see us do a lot more on the innovation front," Long said. "The Guadalajara lab investment was one that came through our research and development group. They are looking to get closer to other markets and to do similar things. We are investigating on that front."

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Software development will also garner a significant amount of attention, according to the executive.

"For Intel to be relevant across devices which are connected on an on-going basis, we have to make investments," Long said. "That means investments in Latin America as well, because content and software is not a global thing. It's local."

The integration of solutions from US software security firm McAfee (NYSE: MFE) - which was acquired by Intel last year in a deal that just received the green light from European regulators - will play a central role in company strategy.

"A smart phone, a tablet, a netbook, a PC - all of these things are going to be accessing content. Strategically for us, we are looking at, 'How do we differentiate all of our products in these different segments?' Some of them we are not the incumbent, such as smart phones... one of those aspects [differentiators] is security," Long said.

He added that "headcount in Latin America will go up this year."

"Latin America is definitely ahead of the curve from a sales and marketing point of view. Those investments are happening."

Intel's largest Latin American markets overall are Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Colombia, according to Long.

The company expects its Latin American sales to increase roughly 25% this year.

Globally, Intel posted US$11.7bn in net profits and US$43.6bn in revenues last year, representing jumps of 167% and 179%, respectively, over 2009.