|Intel Sees Strong China Growth |
By JOACHIM BAMRUD, Fri Oct 6, 2000 11:05 CET
Chinese Internet use through wireless phones should grow significantly, according to predictions by Intel and local firms. (Photo: Scanpix/Reuters)
China will be one of the fastest-growing markets for the wireless Internet, a senior Intel official predicts. US wireless Internet growth will be driven by PDAs, he says.
HELSINKI — Intel, which has set up one of three world Wireless Competence Centers in Beijing, expects to see strong growth both in wireless Internet and desktop PCs in China, said Ron Smith, vice president and general manager of the wireless communications and computing group of Intel Corp.
"We believe China is going to be one of the fastest-growing markets...Wireless data devices will be very popular," Smith told WAPLAND in an interview here.
Intrinsic Technology, a Shanghai-based company that produces the LinkTone Web and WAP portals, recently predicted that the number of wireless Internet users would grow from 300,000 this year to 3.7 million next year and a whopping 79.3 million in 2005.
Smith also sees strong growth in desktop PC sales, despite the fact that the price may be steep for the average Chinese.
Thus, unlike typical emerging markets like Brazil, Smith thinks Internet access growth will come from both wireless devices and desktop PCs in China.
Phone producers and independent market research firms have predicted that more people will access the Internet through wireless phones than desktop PCs by the year 2005.
Europe and Japan
The other two Intel competence centers are located in Tokyo and Stockholm.
"We consider northern Europe and Japan as hotbed areas of wireless," Smith said.
The US market, which has been lagging Europe and Japan in terms of wireless Internet use, will likely be driven by PDAs rather than wireless phones, the Intel executive predicted.
"It's a market where PDA devices may be the driver instead of cellphones," Smith said.
One major challenge in the US compared with Europe, for example, is the fact that there are three different standards used by phone operators (CDMA, TDMA and GSM) compared to one (GSM) in Europe.
After years of delivering chips to desktop and laptop PCs, Intel is now looking at wireless devices as a major source of revenue. It has just launched two solutions aimed at next-generation wireless Internet: The Personal Internet Client Architecture (PCA) and the Xscale microarchitecture design.
The Intel PCA will enable producers of wireless devices to offer better computing functions, including for third generation streaming media, according to Intel. The Xscale is a new chip architecture aimed at handling both ultra-low power and high performance in wireless Internet devices.
"People will want to run a local application [and] these [wireless] devices are with them all the time," Smith said. "They are probably not going to use the cellphone or PDA to do research or in-depth reading...They are out for stuff they want instantly, while waiting for the train, while waiting for the meeting."
Smith declined to say how much revenue Intel derives from the wireless solutions, but said his division's revenues for this year would be "billions, not millions" of dollars.
"If you look at our revenues today for year 2000, you have to talk billions, not millions," he said. "I think a lot of people will be surprised."