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Cisco mulls opening new semiconductor development center in Israel

  • October 20, 2021

Cisco Systems is expanding its semiconductor development in Israel, and is examining the possibility of building a new center in the southern Israeli city of Be’er Sheva.

The company has attempted to recruit engineers in the semiconductor field in recent weeks for management and engineering positions at the new center – which will join Cisco’s existing chip development center in Caesarea.

Cisco’s plans are still in the preliminary stages, and the new center may eventually open in a different Israeli city.

Cisco is a multinational corporation that manufactures and sells networking hardware and software, telecom equipment and services. The company’s Israeli presence has been through a series of ups and downs, including several waves of layoffs and cutbacks as the company changed its business strategy. Cisco currently employs 750 people in Israel in six locations: Netanya, Caesarea and four locations in Tel Aviv, which are based on the purchase of several local startups – CloudLock, Sedona Systems, Portshift and Epsagon.

Eyal Dagan heads Cisco’s hardware development center in Caesarea. The center has become increasingly important to the company, both in Israel and worldwide. The operation was founded through the purchase of Leaba Semiconductor in 2016 for about $320 million. Today, some 200 of the 750 employees in the country work in the semiconductor field. Jobs in hardware development at the Caesarea center account for 19 of the 32 open positions listed on the company’s hiring page.

The center works on the development of the company’s Silicon One chips for routers and switches, used in speeding up data center networking. The first of these chips was launched in 2019, and marked a major change for Cisco: For the first time it sold a chip separately, and not only as part of its own equipment. This new model puts it in direct competition with companies such as Broadcom.

As part of its goal to recruit the best engineers and technologists in Israel for its development labs, Cisco said: “We are examining the establishment of additional development and innovation sites close to the leading academic centers in Israel, in addition to the six existing Cisco sites in Israel today.”

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