BenQ to close handset R&D center in Beijing

BenQ to close handset R&D center in Beijing

BenQ will close a mobile phone research and development center in Beijing as it continues to slim operations. The company opted earlier this year to stop investing in a German subsidiary due to rising losses.

The Taiwanese company will shift work from the Beijing centre to R&D labs in Suzhou, China, and Taiwan, BenQ said. Closing the Beijing facility would help it reduce costs and work more efficiently.

About 400 workers in Beijing will be affected by the closure, but some of them are expected to relocate to Suzhou.

The closure shows BenQ is still trying to recover from its push to become a global handset player via BenQ Mobile GmbH & Co. OHG, the mobile phone operation it took over from Siemens last year.

The operation was such a burden to Siemens that it paid BenQ $US327.1 million to take it over. It proved too difficult for BenQ to turn around, despite strong intellectual property and a solid brand name in Europe.

The decision to step away from the business cost BenQ dearly, and the company still faces financial troubles from the move. BenQ lost $US375.1 million in the third quarter of this year, mainly due to inventory and impairment charges related to BenQ Mobile. It was BenQ's fourth straight quarterly loss.

In all, the Taiwanese company reckons it lost nore than $US1 billion in its mobile phone operations over the past year.

Analysts roundly blamed stiff competition in the mobile handset business for BenQ's troubles. Nokia and Motorola have been taking market share away from most of their rivals in the handset business this year.

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