Singapore plays catch-up with Taiwan as chip investments soar (Nikkei Asia)

Singapore has unveiled billions of dollars of semiconductor-related investments over the past year – but it still has far to go if it wants to match Taiwan and other chipmaking powerhouses in Asia.

Although it is known in Asia as a prominent financial and technology hub, Singapore’s peers in the region dwarf it in chipmaking. The city-state is attempting to shore up its electronics sector, having set a target to grow its manufacturing industry by 50% by 2030, with the semiconductor segment featuring strongly in the effort. Foreign investment will play a key role in reaching the target.

U.S. semiconductor maker GlobalFoundries announced in June that it would invest over $4 billion in Singapore to expand its wafer plan as it attempts to tackle a global microchip shortage.

“Hiring could increase, with the company listing talent-acquisition specialist roles to hire for its offices and facilities in the U.S., Germany, Singapore, and India,” noted Ajay Thalluri, an analyst at data and analytics company GlobalData.

GlobalFoundries’ announcement came after German chipmaker Infineon Technologies picked Singapore as its base for developing artificial intelligence applications, with an investment commitment of 27 million Singapore dollars ($20.2 million) announced in December.

Singapore has ambitions to grow across the value chain in the semiconductor industry, from chip design, to wafer fabrication, to assembly and testing — as well as in supporting areas like research and development and regional distribution.

“Singapore may benefit from more investments by foundry players for sure, but … [the] major players in the foundry market are Taiwan, Korea and China,” a spokesperson for semiconductor research outfit TrendForce told Nikkei Asia, noting that the trio accounted for nearly all the world’s market share.

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The Business Times

11 August 2021

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