Chengdu has long been established as a national base for the electronics and IT industries. The first telecom R&D centre was set up by an Indian company called Primetel in 1996 and since then the city has developed as the global centre for the telecom R&D industry. Chengdu’s growth accelerated alongside the growth of the telecom services sector in India and China, which together account for over 70 percent of the world telecommunications market. Several key national electronics R&D institutes are located in Chengdu. Chengdu Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone has attracted a variety of multinationals, at least 30 Fortune 500 companies and 12,000 domestic companies, including Intel, IBM, Cisco, Nokia, Motorola, SAP, Siemens, Canon, HP, Xerox, Microsoft, Tieto, NIIT and Wipro, as well as domestic powerhouses such as Lenovo. Dell plans to open its second major China operations center in 2011 in Chengdu as its center in Xiamen expands in 2010.
Intel Capital acquired a strategic stake in Primetel, Chengdu’s first foreign technology company in 2001. Intel’s Chengdu factory, set up in 2005 is its second in China, after its Shanghai factory, and the first such large-scale foreign investment in the electronics industry in interior mainland China. Intel, the world’s largest chipmaker, has invested US$525 million in two assembly and testing facilities in Chengdu. Following the footsteps of Intel, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), the world’s third largest foundry, set up an assembly and testing plant in Chengdu. Intel’s rival AMD is likewise set to open an R&D center in this city.
In November 2006, IBM signed an agreement with the Chengdu High-Tech Zone to establish a Global Delivery Center, its fourth in China after Dalian, Shanghai and Shenzhen, within the Chengdu Tianfu Software Park. Scheduled to be operational by February 2007, this new center will provide multilingual application development and maintenance services to clients globally in English, Japanese and Chinese, and to the IBM Global Procurement Center, recently located to the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.On March 23, 2008, IBM announced at the “West China Excellent Enterprises CEO Forum” that the southwest working team of IBM Global Business Services is now formally stationed in Chengdu. On May 28, 2008, Zhou Weikun, president of IBM China disclosed that IBM Chengdu would increase its staff number from the present 600 to nearly 1,000 by the end of the year.
Over the past few years, Chengdu’s economy has flourished rapidly. Chengdu has been quick to become a major base for communication infrastructure, with one of China’s nine top level postal centers and one of six national telecom exchanges.
In 2009, Chengdu hosted the World Cyber Games Grand Finals (11–15 November). It was the first time China hosted the world’s largest computer and video game tournament.