HP Labs set to open in China
Hewlett-Packard is preparing to open a research laboratory in China later this year with a focus on computer security and services among other projects, according to an HP Labs executive.
The plant is expected to compliment six other HP Lab sites, including Palo Alto, Calif.; Cambridge, Mass.; Bristol, England; Haifa, Israel; Tokyo, Japan; and Bangalore, India.
"This plant along with the one in Bangalore will help us serve our next billion customers," HP Labs Associate Director Howard Taub revealed Wednesday during a meeting with CNET News.com reporters at HP's Palo Alto facility.
Specific details of the location, size of the building as well as the staffing levels are being reserved for a later date, Taub said.
HP Labs currently employs about 600 worldwide. HP supports facilities in areas such as Beijing, Shanghai, GuangDong, Shenzhen, and JiangSu. Each one has its specialty.
For example, the Palo Alto Lab has been doing work with microprocessors on a nanometer scale the company says could one day replace current transistor technology. HP's plant in Israel is home to several imaging and printing technologies and is home to data compression technology co-inventor Abraham Lempel. Researchers at HP Labs Bangalore are currently experimenting with a portable photo printer and a solar cell for power to travel to towns that have no electricity but may need photos for passports or other identification purposes, Taub said.
In the Asia Pacific region HP conducts research and development out of China, Singapore, India and Japan in the areas of networking products, software and mobile, general office, and wide-format printing categories.
While an executive team for HP Labs in China has yet to be publicly announced, a people search on HP's Web site found Wenbo Mao named as a principal engineer for HP Labs China. Mao recently sat as a technical contributor to the trusted systems lab at HP Labs in Bristol. He is also the author of a book on modern cryptography and focuses on computer security, formal methods, computational grids and trusted computing.
Similar to IBM, Intel, Cisco Systems and other technology-related companies, HP has notched out its presence in China during the past 10 years.
Recently, HP has announced plans to establish 1,000 retail outlets in 100 major cities in China to better compete with local favorite Lenovo and Dell.
In 2004, HP announced a $23 million development project in Beijing to build its Linux business in China.
The addition of a seventh HP Labs facility addresses a fundamental shift in the Lab's function, Taub said. While the first 30 years helped bring forward innovations such as the HP 35--the company first pocket scientific calculator--and thermal inkjet technology, the lab has aligned itself closer with HP's business units in the past few years.
"This was most evident in the transition from (former HP CEO) Lou Platt to (former HP CEO) Carly Fiorina," Taub said. "HP Labs was funded by the business units and they always wanted to know what we were working on. From the outside, it was hard for them to understand the structure and they would ask us why we needed several color scientists on certain projects. When Carly took over, she changed that back and now we come up with ideas and work on mini business plans to help carry the company forward."