‘We Have to Make it Relevant’ Print E-mail
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Written by Mike Buetow   
Saturday, 31 May 2008 19:00
Caveat Lector ImageHaley Fu is just like you and me. That is, if you and me had a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering, ran projects on design for environment, lifecycle assessment and RoHS in Motorola’s Advanced Research Lab, and were in process management at Schneider Electric and new product development at UTStarcom Telecom. Oh, and spoke and wrote fluent Chinese and English.

Last fall, Dr. Fu was recruited by her former boss at Motorola (and now iNEMI vice president of operations) Bob Pfahl to join iNEMI as its first manager of operations-Asia. She quickly was tapped to head the Solder Paste Deposition project (inemi.org/cms/projects/ba/Solder_Paste_Deposition.html), the first iNEMI program to be led in China. She spoke with Circuits Assembly’s Mike Buetow in Shanghai in April.

CA: The Solder Paste Deposition project is the first iNEMI program to be led in China. How did that come about and what is the status?

HF: iNEMI was looking for a project that could be led here because many major iNEMI members have R&D operations in Asia. The iNEMI Technical Committee approved the project in January, and we have more than 15 firms interested. We are currently establishing criteria for goals and participation and recruiting participants.

CA: Why should a Chinese firm join iNEMI?

HF: US firms already play a leadership role in industry. They understand how it works. Major China-based companies like Huawei have the potential to become global firms. They understand iNEMI is a platform for global leadership and an opportunity to understand how to play an international role. For many domestic engineers, this will be the first time they will work in a global environment.

CA: Besides Huawei, what other domestic firms do you hope will be involved, and how does that come about?

HF: Several companies are emerging as leaders in the electronics industry. These include companies like Lenovo, Haier, ZTE Telecom and others. Conversations start with middle management because they think strategically and because they may know iNEMI. Then we have to introduce iNEMI to their higher management. It takes some time to explain the intent and processes of iNEMI. We are quite different from local associations, and so is our work on roadmaps and planning. While the China-based EMS providers and OEMs may do product/technology roadmaps for their own companies, they are not doing industry roadmapping.

CA: Why is that?

HF: The government does the roadmap for a region, for example, setting up Pb-free in Guangdong Province. It’s usually driven by government or academia. [We have] a plan to get local government and academia involved.

CA: How is iNEMI structured in China, and what are its goals beyond encouraging international participation?

HF: We are set up as a representative office. iNEMI doesn’t get involved in policy making, but we can provide local support to that discussion. We expect we can also get information [on domestic policy] to give to our members. In addition, we hope to encourage and facilitate coordination between industry and university research programs. University-based research in China is very traditional. Some of our members are already working with university programs in China, and we hope we can help focus these collaborations and define research programs that address industry priorities.

CA: What are the hurdles?

HF: The most challenging thing is iNEMI itself. There are a lot of ways to promote it. But it’s very important for iNEMI to have projects relevant to companies in this region to attract new members and be sure they are actively involved in projects. It’s different in Mainland China — there are not a lot of global players. We need to recruit from China, Taiwan, Korea, etc; there are many good firms in this region. We are trying to open one door so we can open another door. It’s incumbent on iNEMI to make itself of value. Many firms grow so quickly, they often think they can do or solve anything, but then they recognize it is only through working with their competitors and supply chain that they can efficiently address noncompetitive technical challenges.

 

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