Electronics Production | November 21, 2007
Poland emerges as the European R&D hub
Despite the low labor costs, unsaturated markets, and steady economic recovery that have made the Asia Pacific region attractive for semiconductors manufacturers, Poland has emerged as the research and development (R&D) centre of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE).
In setting up R&D in Poland, companies seek to lower costs, increase efficiency, improve quality, and diversify from their basic activities. Growth and development in this industry affects other end-user industries such as consumer electronics and computers. Due to its strong linkage with the economy and other industries, trends in this industry are conscientiously tracked. Over the years, the production base of electronic components and semiconductors sectors have shifted from the developing countries of North America and Europe to the emerging markets of Asia Pacific and Latin America to capitalize on low labor costs and other conducive market conditions. However, Poland has the highest population of such centers among the Eastern European countries. Several multinational corporations (MNCs) have chosen Poland as a location for their R&D centers. There are 40 R&D centers belonging to foreign investors in Poland, employing over 4,500 people. “The automation and electronics industry is one of the leading manufacturing sectors in all industrialized and newly industrializing countries of the world,” notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Meera Krishnaswamy. “Due to its pervasive applicability, the industry is strongly linked to macroeconomic conditions and also considered a leading indicator of the health of an economy.” “For many companies, Poland is the obvious choice due to the availability of highly qualified labor force, presence of universities, support of authorities, the largest market in central Europe, and possibly the lowest labor costs on the continent,” explains Krishnaswamy. “The biggest R&D centers are located in Warsaw, Cracow, and Wroclaw.” Most top MNCs in the industry have sales, marketing, and support centers in Poland. However, the presence of production facilities is minimal. The number one companies in the automation and semiconductor industries, namely ABB and Intel, have chosen Poland as their R&D hub. These centers have become successful and the companies are continuing to expand their presence in the country.
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