With more than 1,200 employees in Israel, Marvell Technologies is the
second-largest chipmaker in Israel, second only to Intel. Its co-founder,
Chinese-born Weili Dai, 51, sat down with The Jerusalem Post
in Tel Aviv on
Tuesday to talk about hi-tech, the future of the industry and President Shimon
Peres, who invited her to join him for his 90th-birthday celebrations this
week.Welcome to Israel.
Are you looking forward to the
I’m extremely excited and honored because I was invited
to attend President Peres’s 90th birthday, who is dear to my heart. My husband
and I met him a few times. He’s celebrating 90, but he’s so savvy in terms of
technology and such a brilliant man, it seems like he’s turning 29.Tell
me about Marvell and its operations in Israel.
The first time I came here
was in 2001, when we acquired Galileo, then in 2003 for RADLAND, then six years
ago for the Intel division in Petah Tikva. We have over 1,200 people in Israel,
making us the second-largest semiconductor maker in Israel, next to Intel. I
believe in the talent and the intelligence of the Jewish people, so the
acquisition helped me understand that. It’s like the snowball effect. You get to
know the country, understand an operation that’s mature and successful, and then
the team helps us to expand. We have networking, infrastructure and mobile
here.To someone who doesn’t understand much about chips, can you explain
the difference between Marvell, Intel, Qualcomm and the others?
I like to
compare the tech world to a pizza. We’re the pizza dough. The tomato sauce is
the operating system – the Google, Microsoft, Blackberry – and the toppings are
the applications. It’s selfassembled.
Server is the deep dish.
comparison with the others, first of all, from the technology offering side, we
have a lot more breadth in the coverage.
If you think about storage, for
example, we’re number one. In the new era of digital lifestyle and cloud
computing, storage is a critical. Intel and Qualcomm are not playing in that
Marvell is a diverse semiconductor company. We’re playing mobile
and are one of the key leaders in LTE. We’re very strong in networking, and
there’s a lot of talent and technology coming from Israel in that area. Even
though we’re one of the youngest – just 18 years old – we’ve built a very solid
foundation, and it’s allowed us to expand and scale very diverse
markets.What sort of technology is Marvell cooking up? What’s next on
the cutting edge?
This is extremely important. The technological field for
semiconductors today is no longer about stand-alone chips supporting stand-alone
products. We need to do three major things: First, develop the technology; we’re
fortunate to have the one-stop shop, a very rich tech portfolio for made-to-fit
Second is the software; that’s so key.
And the third
piece is to continuously develop technological advancement in terms of
These are the basic ingredients that can build a
solid pipe, and the processing capability performers will. All those pieces must
work in one ecosystem. It’s no longer, “Oh, I made a chip for X
The next big thing will be “smart furnishing” – any surface can
be a live screen. It can be anything you want – the mirror, a wall. People can
just install smart wallpaper, and that’s your live screen. This is how you’re
going to decorate your home, office, public places, everywhere. Our partnership
with Google on Google TV is a perfect example.
It’s not just a console,
it’s not just a TV, it’s your big smart-viewing surface of everything. This year
is going to be big for this type of concept. Suddenly your big-screen technology
can be scaled globally and affordable to every single home. The beauty is that
android, a global platform, will moving forward and take a big step for the big
screen to the home.
There’s a debate in Israel about taxing corporations
for the fiscal good and giving international companies incentives to invest
Where is the balance?
I want to congratulate Israel for its success
in hi-tech and its contributions.
The reason I say this is that since
2001, when we first bought Galileo and started our center, Israel has become
like Silicon Valley. If you look at Silicon Valley, in a 50-mile radius it has
an all-in-one environment – you’ve got great research centers like the Lawrence
lab, the Xerox Park, IBM lab, HP lab. Then you have top schools like Berkeley
and Stanford and others, and you have a very high concentration of hi-tech
companies, from the semiconductors to the software players and the little
start-ups, and also the talent, which is very important.
If you look at
Israel, it’s very similar – local talents, great schools – so it’s important to
attract international companies from around the world. Whatever policy each
country sets needs to be suitable for what makes sense globally and what’s
important locally. Here we see more talent and will continue to
You’re a rare female executive.
What advice do you have
for women trying to get ahead in a male-dominated industry?
It is my belief that
women today, even though they’re mothers, wives and in my case leading a global
company, already have the track record and have proven to the world that they’re
capable to lead any industry. When you think about women, I call them givers,
They have their own talent, and we feel it’s our duty to take
care of people, but in a positive sense. It’s a sense of pride. I don’t look at
it as a task. If I take care of my husband and children more, I feel really
happy. They’re the glue.
They’re multi-taskers. That’s also great for the
workplace.But having said that, it’s the teamwork that makes the world
successful.Women have their own natural talent.
So do men. If we
combine them together, the world is a lot more powerful and the family is much
happier. It really has to do with the upbringing. How successful each individual
is goes back to the parents grooming them as kids, teaching them. Everything is
about a good foundation and hard word – there’s no shortcut. There are two words
I breathe everyday: fair and care. It always has to be a win-win, whether in
business or family.