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Will Intel setup R&D center in Korea? Unlikely

The South Korean government will ask U.S.-based chip giant Intel Corp. to consider finalizing a major investment project that might include the establishment of either a research center or a chip factory in Korea, informed sources said yesterday.

Intel Chief Executive Officer Craig Barrett visits Korea today and is set to hold a meeting with President Roh Moo-hyun, government officials said yesterday. Intel Korea said no formal press conference was scheduled, as Barrett´s visit to Korea is a part of his regular Asian tour and he does not have any new announcements to make.

But people more into the matter say Barrett is likely to discuss the possibility of investment into Korea and clarify his position at a meeting with the president, who is now coming under pressure due to the sluggish economy and a dearth of new foreign direct investment.

Korea´s FDI has been faltering markedly, which some people blame for labor unrest and a surge in labor costs. The public is now looking to the president to reverse the FDI downturn that started in 1999.

Local media reported yesterday that Intel might set up a research and development center in Seoul, with the IT complex in Sangam-dong being the candidate site. But the Ministry of Information and Communication´s spokesman Koh Kwang-sup denied saying that nothing had been decided yet.

He stated, however, that Intel is unlikely to set up a research center in the Sangam IT complex that should be completed in 2007.

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