While the events of Tahrir square may have made some global players to hesitate before investing in Egypt, Intel Corporation is leading the pack with its recent acquisition of SysDSoft, a privately-held software company based in Cairo. SysDSoft works predominantly in software development and for 4G LTE mobile technology, and had employed over 100 engineers who have now been hired by Intel. The terms of the deal- conducted through Intel’s standalone business entity Intel Mobile Solutions- have not been disclosed.
After a slew of recent investments in the UAE, Lebanon, and Jordan, Intel’s acquisition marks a return to Egypt, following its investment in Orascom Telecom WiMAX Limited in 2006, and commitment to investment across the region. “The acquisition of engineering and design talent from an Egypt-based company in the field of cutting-edge wireless and communication technology is the first of its kind for Intel in the Middle East,” said Arvind Sodhani, president of Intel Capital, in a press release by Intel Corporation. “The acquisition shows Intel’s continued long-term strategic commitment to the region and its appreciation of its young, growing talent pool.”
A commitment to investment in the region’s youth could not come at a more strategic time in the wake of a revolution that has been branded as the genesis of “Egypt 2.0.” Yet a statement by president of Intel Mobile Communications, Dr. Hermann Eul, revealed that Intel’s primary motivation for the investment it its goal to invest in WiMax technology globally. “Intel is making the necessary investments to further enhance its existing world-class wireless product portfolio and to offer the most reliable platforms to our customers that will work seamlessly across a range of global networks.”
While Intel’s acquisition of SysDSoft marks a resurgence of investor confidence in Egypt, it also illustrates the degree to which companies that sell to global markets have a competitive advantage when it comes to investment in the MENA region. It is clear by many accounts that local markets in Egypt still have a ways to go before they will invite a similar amount of investment interest. However, with Intel leading the way, the spirit of local empowerment and innovation brought about at Tahrir Square seems poised to accelerate.