The Qualcomm Communication Technologies (Shanghai) Co., a semiconductor test facility in the Waigaoqiao (WGQ) free-trade zone in Shanghai, was put into operation Tuesday, signaling Qualcomm’s first foray into manufacturing of semiconductors.
Qualcomm’s snapdragon series of chips and mobile phone RF chip products would be tested in the new facility before shipping to customers around the world, according to a report in The Paper.
Qualcomm announced that the new company would work with Amkor Technology, one of the world’s leading providers of contract semiconductor assembly and test services. The new company is expected to become an integral part of Qualcomm’s manufacturing and semiconductor operation.
Frank Meng, chairman of Qualcomm China, said that integrated semiconductor industry is indicative of a country’s industrial competence and comprehensive national strength. The new facility demonstrates Qualcomm’s long-term commitment to continue to invest and help develop semiconductor expertise in China.
Now, Shanghai is speeding up its efforts to construct the scientific and technological innovation center of global influence. Qualcomm’s new company in the city would play a demonstrative role for the whole industry.
Wang Xinling, deputy director of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone Administration, said, “The Waigaoqiao free-trade zone aims to boost the integration of high-end manufacturing and service industry, while connecting markets at home and abroad.
Yu Yong, general manager of XIN Development Co. at Waigaoqiao, told The Paper that the free-trade zone has advantages in processing trade as it is able to allocate testing resources and capacities around the globe; meanwhile, production equipments and tools are exempted from taxation in the area. Waigaoqiao provides the most flexible international settlements under the current account.
Qualcomm had previously focused on chip design instead of manufacturing. With the production process becoming more advanced and complex, Qualcomm began to be involved in self testing and manufacturing to raise production quality and efficiency. The Waigaoqiao facility is a result of that effort.
The company was entangled in a year-long anti-trust investigation and fined $0.975 billion for some “insensible practices” like charging patent fee through pricing overall units. Qualcomm accepted the verdict and immediately paid the fine. Despite the setback, the Qualcomm speeded up its localization strategy after that.
It is reported that the company is joining hands with Chinese manufacturers in fields like 5G, artificial intelligence, mobile Internet, cloud computing, Internet of things, big data, robots and virtual reality.