CHANDLER, Ariz. ( ChipWire)-- Microchip Technology Inc. plans to expand its presence in China by opening three design centers there this year, in Shenzhen, Chengdu and the east coast city of Fuzhou.
Microchip executives said the new centers will employ an additional 13 engineers and sales representatives, doubling the company's Chinese staff. The microcontroller maker already has offices in Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shanghai.
"We have identified China to be the highest-growth area for Microchip in the next five years," Steve Sanghi, Microchip's president and CEO, said in a recent interview.
The company co-owns an assembly facility in Shanghai and is also planning to build a test facility in Bangkok that would double its capacity in Asia, Sanghi said.
Microchip is also planning to establish an Asian reference design center, possibly in Shenzhen, near Hong Kong, Sanghi said.
"We anticipate increased design activity across all product lines, especially in consumer, appliance and industrial control applications," said Joe Connelly, Microchip's regional sales manager for China.
Microchip is estimating it will reach annual net sales totaling $492 million this year. With its share of the microcontroller market approaching 15%, the company is shooting for the $1 billion annual sales revenue target "in a couple of years," Sanghi said.
Company executives predicted that Microchip's heavy investments in China, India, Thailand and the Philippines will help it attain its sales goal.
Along with its Asian investments, the company's strategy is to shift its products with additional features into other market segments. For instance, it is developing a "system-on-an-MCU" that would
incorporate transmit and receive functions on a device operating up to the 900-MHz frequencies in compliance with the Bluetooth wireless standard.
As the company challenges Motorola for leadership of the microcontroller market, Microchip executives also said they plan a foray into the analog interface market using designs based on the
PIC architecture. The company is investing its profits in the memory market to expand into the analog market, said Bryan Liddiard, director of marketing for analog, RF and memory products.