Japan’s chip giants boost presence in China

Five major Japanese semiconductor makers are planning to hire more chip design engineers in China to meet the needs of the fast-growing Chinese digital device and home appliance markets.

In particular, Toshiba Corp. is to increase the number of engineers 25-fold from 40 engineers to 1,000 at its Shanghai design house in future, according to spokesman Kenichi Sugiyama.

The company is looking for chip designers and software engineers who develop voice-recognition engines in the Chinese language for products in the Chinese market, Sugiyama said.

Mitsubishi Electric Corp. established a design house at its semiconductor manufacturing plant in China last year, and is planning to increase its number of chip designers and software developers from the current 40 employees to several hundred in the future, said a Mitsubishi Electric spokesman, who declined to give his name.

Chips designed in China are mainly for microcomputers for China’s domestic market, he said.

NEC Corp. will hire 30 more engineers this year at its software and chip design house in Beijing, which was established in 1999, said Shinichi Kaede, a NEC spokesman. Currently, there are 170 employees are working at the facility, he said.

Fujitsu Ltd. already has three bases for semiconductor development, design and sales, in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Shenzen, with a total of 80 engineers, said Chiaki Kuwahara, a Fujitsu spokeswoman. The company plans to add one more base in Beijing in the second half of this year, which will hire 20 engineers, she said.

“Each region has different needs regarding products,” Kuwahara said. “In China, for example, digital audio devices and microcomputers are in more demand than other products, so by having engineers in each area, we can immediately provide what the local market needs.”

Hitachi Ltd. is also considering expanding the chip design house at its manufacturing plant in Suzhou, said Masanao Sato, a Hitachi spokesman. As demand for products, especially microcomputers, in China’s domestic market is growing, the company feels that it will need more than the current 40 engineers, he said.

Toshiba, Mitsubishi Electric, NEC, Fujitsu and Hitachi all find that highly-skilled Chinese engineers know what their domestic markets need and can provide the technologies, which will eventually “strengthen our semiconductor resources,” said NEC’s Kaede.

Toshiba, in Tokyo, can be contacted at +81-3-3457-2105 or


Mitsubishi Electric Corp., in Tokyo, can be contacted at +81-3-3218-2111 or


NEC, in Tokyo, can be contacted at +81-3-3454-1111 or


Fujitsu, in Tokyo, can be contacted at +81-3-3216-3211 orhttp://www.fujitsu.co.jp/

Hitachi, in Tokyo, can be contacted at +81-3-3258-1111 or