<p>Before using RightNow Web, the airline received between 50 and 75 e-mail messages a day; 18 people in different departments, including those in human resources, used to answer the messages. Since then, Frontier has been receiving an average of 70 e-mail messages per week, and Miller says that the airline's average response time to e-mail is slightly under 40 minutes. Because Frontier's e-mail volume has dropped since the implementation of RightNow Web, the airline now employs one agent to answer e-mail on weekdays from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm Mountain time.</p>

Lenovo was also high on their list. Chinese engineers I met in Beijing genuinely admire both Huawei and Lenovo as companies with technological prowess. Curiously, they don’t seem to think much of ZTE, China’s other telecom equipment giant. Some say that ZTE’s product quality isn’t up Huawei's while others simply don’t think much of ZTE.

We continue to believe we are in a reasonably short term inventory correction and expect our revenues to rebound slowly in the second quarter with revenue growth accelerating in the second half of 2001 and into 2002,” Pond said. We believe this outlook is in line with more recent industry forecasts for 2001.”

Brazil is often called the China of Latin America” due to its low labor costs. And because of that, increasing numbers of CEMs are calling Brazil home, including Pemstar Inc., the latest contractor to set up shop there.

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While most of Pemstar's competitors have established themselves in Brazil through greenfield facilities, ac-quisitions, or purchases of OEM locations, Pemstar has entered the country through a two-year-old corporate

park in Hortolandia. Called IBM Tech Town, the park is owned by longtime Pemstar customer IBM Corp. Pemstar's company there, Pemstar Brasil Ltda., will begin shipping products to customers later this quarter.

It's a great place,” said Allen J. Berning, president and chief executive of Pemstar in Rochester, Minn. We're pleased to move into an existing facility [in the corporate park].”

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Brazil has become a hot spot for CEMs looking to tap into Latin America's fast-developing wireless-communications market. Pemstar joins APW, Benchmark, Celestica, C-MAC, Flextronics, Jabil, SCI, and Solectron, CEMs that have flocked to emerging high-tech cities such as Campinas, Contagem, Guarulhos, Hortolandia, and Sao Paulo.

The CEMs are responding to the call of telecom OEMs. Last month, Toronto-based Celestica Inc. signed a deal with Finland's Nokia Corp. to make GSM basestations in Brazil for the Latin American market. In July of last year, Celestica purchased a plant in Guarulhos from Japanese computer maker NEC Corp. to manufacture communications infrastructure equipment.

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In November, APW Ltd., a Waukesha, Wis., CEM, purchased the enclosure manufacturing assets of Industria Metalurgia Bagarolli Ltd. in Campinas.

A large market exists for technology products in Brazil, providing an excellent opportunity for EMS providers,” said Jerry Labowitz, an analyst at Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. in New York.

Meanwhile, Taiwan will try to ensure its dominance in the higher-profit-margin IA market. Strong demand for SHDs drove most of the growth in the island's IA industry. Production tripled for personal digital assistants (PDAs), smart phones and related products, reaching 1.5 million units in 2000. By 2003, Taiwan is expected to produce 15 percent of the devices on the market.

Most Taiwanese companies are producing IAs or their components on an OEM basis but are being encouraged to develop brand names to increase profits. Acer, one of the top players in the IA industry here, is pursuing both strategies. The company has been aggressive in its development of IAs, especially PDAs with Chinese-language operating systems that will be released in Taiwan and China in March. Last year Acer began marketing its set-top Net TV in the United States through a partnership with US West.

In the display business, the marriage of diverse engineering disciplines is nothing new. At its heart, display development is a complex synthesis of electronics design, materials science, optics expertise, system design and fab process engineering. And because displays have direct contact with users' eyes, display design also requires intimate knowledge of the customers' needs and what trade-offs are tolerable in various applications.

Few individuals understand those intricacies of display design more than Chris Curtin, senior director of strategic partnering at Candescent Technologies (San Jose, Calif). Curtin has been involved with emissive-display devices for his entire career. During his 26 years at Tektronix, he had a hand in CRT design, CRT manufacturing and management of the display business unit. For the past 11 years, Curtin has been involved in the development of field-emission displays (FEDs), originally with Coloray Display (Fremont, Calif.), and for the past eight years with Candescent Technologies (San Jose, Calif.).

With his background, Curtin has a unique perspective of where display engineering is headed. It's a realm that will still require a mix of specialists and generalists.


Plus, semiconductors comprised just a quarter of Cherry's sales, and many of our shareholders didn't like [Cherry's expanded participation in] the automotive industry-it's gotten pretty brutal.

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