Microchip giant Intel announced Tuesday afternoon that it will open a “one-of-a-kind” product testing laboratory in Costa Rica and hire another 350 Ticos a day after President Luis Guillermo Solís met with Intel CEO Brian Krzanich in Silicon Valley, California, on Monday.
The presidency confirmed the news Tuesday in a joint statement with the Foreign Trade Ministry and CINDE, the private agency tasked with promoting investment in Costa Rica.
The new so-called “mega lab,” part of the company’s research and development arm, will carry out quality control testing on Intel products in development before they move on to manufacturing.
The quality testing team will join Intel’s remaining Costa Rica operation, including 700 employees in the engineering and design center and 800 employees who work for the company’s service center.
“I want to reaffirm the message that Costa Rica is a country open for business, where the talent of Costa Ricans and our competitiveness gives us an excellent letter of introduction for multinational corporations that generate high quality jobs for our people. This news confirms to the world that Costa Rica is and will continue to be one of the principal players in the big leagues of attracting hi-tech businesses,” Solís said in a statement Tuesday.
Intel and the Costa Rican government also announced discussions to develop a laboratory for small and medium-sized businesses inside Intel facilities as a way to spark entrepreneurship and share knowledge.
The timing of Intel’s announcement was a score for Solís. Intel’s decision in April to close its manufacturing facility in Costa Rica followed shortly by Bank of America’s announcement that it would shutter its customer service center was a one-two punch against the incoming Citizen Action Party (PAC) administration. Many critics saw the timing as tacit disapproval from foreign investors about the PAC government and future investment prospects in the small country that has made a name for itself as a Latin American leader in hi-tech manufacturing.
Intel’s microchips manufactured in Costa Rica made up 20 percent of national exports in 2013.
Before his first trip to the United States as president of Costa Rica, Solís hinted at a possible deal with Intel to expand its trimmed operations here during a press conference on June 3, but he stopped short of confirming any deal with the global manufacturer.
The announcement builds on news Monday that the cloud computing company VMware would expand its staff in Costa Rica to 450 in 2015.