SINGAPORE: More than 400 new jobs are set to be created with the opening of semiconductor manufacturer STMicroelectronics’ new wafer fabrication facility in Singapore.
The opening of the new facility, which will more than double the firm’s 8-inch fab manufacturing capacity in Singapore, comes amid a slowdown in the global semiconductor industry.
Despite the pressures, the future of the global semiconductor industry remains bright and global demand in the long term remains strong, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, speaking at the facility's inauguration on Tuesday (Sep 17).
“The current slowdown is largely due to global economic uncertainties and weaker demand from some end markets, especially consumer electronics," said Mr Heng.
“That said, the global semiconductor industry has enjoyed strong growth in the preceding few years, with fresh demand driven by new applications in the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and mobility services.”
Mr Heng gave the example of how autonomous vehicles use seven to 10 times more semiconductors than conventional vehicles, adding that the global automotive industry is expected to increase from US$37.4 billion in 2017 to more than US$58.5 billion in 2023.
This is an area of growth that STMicroelectronics is looking to take advantage of by developing more specialty products through its new facility and further investments.
The firm has already invested more than US$5 billion dollars in Singapore over the last 20 years, Mr Heng said.
“STMicroelectronics’ investments here affirm our approach to the economy - one that is both pro-business and pro-worker, and based in a strong commitment to forge win-win partnerships with our stakeholders,” the deputy prime minister added.
It is through these partnerships between companies, workers and the Government that new opportunities for Singapore will continue to be created, he said.
“In Singapore, our people have always been at the heart of all our efforts to transform and grow our economy. We want to create good jobs for them, and support them to develop the skills and competences to access these jobs," said Mr Heng.
He also commended the firm’s efforts in building up the local talent pool through partnerships with institutes of higher learning. These partnerships see graduates join the company after job training and programmes under the work-learn technical diplomas.
About 4,900 people are currently employed by the firm in Singapore.
The semiconductor industry employs about 35,000 people in Singapore, accounting for more than 7 per cent of the country's gross domestic product.
It is one of the largest industries within the manufacturing sector.