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Moto To Expand R&D, Cellphone Thrust In India

Motorola Inc. plans to add 1,000 more employees to its R&D efforts in India and vowed to become a more aggressive player in the cellular-phone market in that nation.
BANGALORE, India — Motorola Inc. said it plans to add 1,000 more employees to its R&D efforts in India and vowed to become a more aggressive player in the cellphone market.

The company will also boost manufacturing in India once volumes pick up, said Edward Zander, chairman and chief executive of Motorola. If or when volumes pick up, the company may consider building an assembly plant in India, Zander added.

Zander also said Motorola must pay more attention to the Indian market. The U.S. company has not been aggressive in selling its wireless phones here, causing it to lag behind market leader Nokia Corp.

Motorola needs to expand its sales efforts in India — much like it did in China, Zander said.

Pushing handset costs below the $40 price point would fuel the emerging markets in India, Russia, Africa and other regions. Motorola is working with wireless operators in India to deploy sub-$40 mobile phones here.

“India is a priority area for Motorola both from the point of view of business potential and to tap into the talent base here for research,” Zander added.

With a staff of 2,900 in India, Motorola claims to have the largest number of R&D staffers among telecommunications companies here. By the end of 2006, the company will add another 1,000 workers to its lab and R&D centers in India, Zander said.