SINGAPORE (Nov 17): Most Malaysians and Singaporeans may not have heard of Penang-born Tan Hock Eng, 65, CEO of Singapore-based, San Jose-run, communications chip firm Broadcom.
Tan was a long-time Singapore permanent resident and ran a venture capital firm here between 1988 and 1992 before he relocated to the US.
See also: Broadcom's Tan got his way on deals; then he targeted Qualcomm
He briefly ran mid-sized, Kuala Lumpur-based, construction materials firm Hume Industries in the mid-1980s, and is now CEO of one of the largest, fastest-growing and — because of its acquisitive ways — increasingly the most-feared technology companies in the world.
Measured by market capitalisation, Broadcom is the largest Singapore company, though it is listed on Nasdaq.
Apart from contract manufacturer Flex, the former Flextronics, Broadcom is one of two Nasdaq-listed tech giants that have long maintained their legal headquarters in Singapore.
This is partly for historic and for tax reasons, even though they have always been run from their Silicon Valley operational headquarters.
Now, Tan is moving Broadcom’s domicile from Singapore to the US, and mounting a US$105.3 billion ($142.7 million) takeover of rival chip firm Qualcomm to create a company that could dwarf even Intel.
See: Broadcom is moving its headquarters back to US from Singapore, says Trump
Tan’s audacious bid for Qualcomm comes at a time when the global semiconductor sector is in the midst of a stellar run on Wall Street as chips are increasingly being used in cars, home appliances and factory automation aside from their traditional applications in PCs, smartphones and data centres.
Can Tan pull off the largest tech deal in history? How will it change the global semiconductor industry? Find out more from issue 806 of The Edge Singapore (week of Nov 20), available now.