[News] Semiconductor Revival in Southeast Asia and Singapore’s Factory Dilemma

2023-10-26 Semiconductors editor

Vanguard International Semiconductor (VIS) has unveiled plans to establish a state-of-the-art 12-inch semiconductor plant in Singapore, reigniting discussions about expanding to Singapore within the semiconductor industry. As per Economic Daily News, while Taiwan and South Korea continue to lead in semiconductor manufacturing in Asia, an increasing number of semiconductor companies have strategically chosen Singapore as their Southeast Asian hub in recent years.

This strategic positioning enables them to reach markets in Vietnam, Thailand, India, and beyond, which is particularly valuable in the context of heightened geopolitical tensions. Singapore’s strategic geographical advantage highlights its remarkable flexibility as a stronghold, uniquely positioned to adapt to meet various demands.

Nonetheless, Singapore grapples with certain challenges, including higher production costs and an aging workforce. Statistics reveal that semiconductors contributed approximately 7% to Singapore’s domestic gross production last year. S&P Global Analytics also notes that the contribution of Singapore’s semiconductor industry to the Asian region is relatively modest. Moreover, the nation faces a significant long-term challenge, one that many economies share: an aging population. Singapore ranks among the fastest-aging populations worldwide.

Turning the attention to key players in Singapore’s semiconductor landscape, companies like TSMC, UMC, ASE, and Micron have established a strong presence. Notably, TSMC collaborated with NXP (formerly Philips Semiconductor) and the Singapore Economic Development Board Investment Corporation (EDBI) back in 2000 to establish SSMC, an 8-inch fab located in the Wafer Fab Park in Singapore.

In a parallel endeavor, UMC invested in Singapore in 2003 and is currently in the midst of an ambitious expansion, including their Fab12i P3 fab, situated in the Pasir Ris Wafer Fab Park in Singapore. The physical infrastructure is expected to be completed by mid-2024, with mass production of 22nm and 28nm chips set to commence in early 2025.

(Image: Wafer Fab Parks)