Nasdaq-listed Applied Materials has announced that it will construct a $600 million facility in Singapore to further expand its manufacturing footprint locally.
This is part of an eight-year plan to expand its operations in Singapore, and was announced at a groundbreaking ceremony on Dec 22.
The Singapore facility is expected to open its doors by 2024, and is the company’s largest factory outside of the US.
The company says that this facility will strengthen its ability to meet growing customer demand in the years to come.
The new facility will feature more than 200,000 sq ft of equipment manufacturing cleanroom space and will be approximately 700,000 sq ft in size.
Applied Materials has said that the facility will more than double its manufacturing footprint in Singapore, and while it did not disclose production volume, it intends to continue making investments throughout its key locations globally to support the growth of the semiconductor industry.
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Speaking at the ceremony, Beh Swan Gin, chairman of Singapore’s Economic Development Board describes this plan as “a vote of confidence in Singapore”, adding that this will also help drive growth for Singapore's precision engineering sector.
The precision engineering sector accounts for almost $50 billion in output and $15 billion in add-on value in Singapore.
Beh expects that the megatrends of electrification, 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), and artificial intelligence (AI) to continue transforming how people work and play, and these will drive the creation of more devices, solutions and use cases that will require semiconductors.
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As such, he is very bullish about the long-term prospects of the industry.
He does acknowledge that in the short term, however, the industry is facing headwinds due to inflation, supply chain disruptions, and uncertainties about the global economy and geopolitics.
But by working in close partnership with industry leaders like Applied Materials, Beh is “confident that Singapore’s semiconductor and semiconductor equipment industries will be able to ride out the short-term challenges”
“We are keenly aware that we must actively invest ahead of time in talent and workforce in skills development so that our workforce will be ready when external conditions eventually permit for the growth of the sector,” he adds.
One such program is an initiative with the Singapore Institute of Technology where the company's employees gain access to tailored learning modules in areas including AI and machine learning, smart manufacturing, robotics and automation, data science, and more.
In addition to this, Applied Materials also will invest to bolster its research and development (R&D) capabilities in Singapore, with a focus on accelerating the commercialisation of new technologies and services that improve chip power, performance, area, cost and time-to-market.
To achieve this, it has a research collaboration with the Institute of Microelectronics (IME), a research institute of Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), focused on hybrid bonding and other emerging, 3D chip integration technologies.