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Design a strength but not a focus, Barrett says

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Key opportunities in R&D and value-add engineering are being lost due to Australia’s lack of economic focus on these strengths, Intel chief executive Craig Barrett has said.

Less than 1% of Australia’s gross domestic product (GDP) – the equivalent of less than $3.5 billion – is spent annually on research and development.

This compares unfavourably with both the United States and Japan, both of whom spend upwards of 2%, and even Intel itself, which spends $4 billion each year on R&D, according to Barrett.

“Intel outspends your country on R&D each year, yet our revenues aren’t nearly as high as Australian GDP figures,” Barrett said.

“Given its strengths in developing new hardware and software designs and platforms, this is something Australia really needs to focus more attention and resources on.”

Barrett listed a number of key opportunities for the Australian market, including wireless, broadband adoption, e-business and R&D investment.

These opportunities are backed by Australia’s proximity to Asia, its IT skills base and educational capabilities, and its proactive economic structure with regards to free trade and foreign investment policies, Barrett said.

“These are all strong opportunities for Australia to focus on and move forward to becoming a more effective economic growth machine,” Barrett said.

“Technology is going to continue to move forward at an exciting pace and Australia has a role to play in that.”

“The issue for Australia is that you need to increase your economic competitiveness to take advantage of these opportunities,” Barrett added.

Barrett also said that while the market is currently experiencing a period of turbulence, this is a normal part of the economic and technological cycle.

“After a period of turbulence in which over-investment and over-enthusiasm catches up with the market, there is a long and successful build-out period for that technology,” Barrett continued.

“What we’ve seen is not different to any other major introduction of new technology in that this period of turbulence will be followed by a longer period of sustained growth.”

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