Taiwan's Acer to Build R&D Center in China

PC maker plans to boost production of smartphones and tablet computers.

Taiwan's leading personal computer maker, Acer, said it will spend $4 million to set up a global R&D center in western China to boost its production of smartphones and tablet computers.

Acer will develop hardware and related software and services in cooperation with China Mobile, the world's biggest mobile operator by subscribers, and with the city government of Chongqing, the location of the center, the company said.

The $4 million will form Acer's initial investment in the center, which also will carry out research into Chinese market conditions and consumer behavior patterns, it said.

In April, Acer replaced its chief executive and president, Gianfranco Lanci, citing differing views over the future of the firm, which is struggling to branch into the tablet market amid slowing demand for PCs.

Acer's new corporate president, Jim Wong, also heads the new R&D facility in Chongqing, the center of the company's China activities and home to its global notebook production.

The company has lowered its shipments forecasts three times in recent months and cut 300 jobs in Europe, the Middle East and Africa to reduce operating expenses by $30 million annually.

Acer started shipping tablets in March but is struggling against Apple's popular iPad. It previously aimed to roll out 5 million to 7 million tablets this year since has lowered the target to 2.5 million to 3 million.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011


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