Mr Chua Choon Meng, CEO of Semicaps,
Distinguished Guests and Staff of Semicaps,
1. I am delighted to join you this evening to celebrate Semicaps’ 25th anniversary. Since its establishment, Semicaps has grown to become a significant failure analysis equipment manufacturer in the semiconductor industry with global reach. I would like to congratulate Semicaps’ founders and staff, who have worked hard to bring your company to where it is today.
Home-grown, high-tech SMEs help strengthen the competitiveness of Singapore’s economy
2. The success of home-grown companies like Semicaps are key to sustainable economic growth. Such companies help anchor technological capabilities in Singapore and contribute to the shift towards higher VA activities, enabling us to capture new growth opportunities and build new areas of competitive advantage.
3. We need to grow our base of such SMEs. Our pool of technology-based companies is still relatively small, comprising just 7.4 per cent of all enterprises. Semicaps serves as an inspiration not just to other high-tech SMEs, but also to aspiring entrepreneurs and technology start-ups.
Semicaps serves as a role model for aspiring entrepreneurs and technology start-ups
4. Semicaps’ early years as a spin-off from NUS were hard. The founders, including the late Jacob Phang, worked tirelessly to build up Semicaps’ reputation as the leading failure analysis equipment manufacturer for the semiconductor industry. They conducted numerous company visits to showcase Semicaps’ products and promoted the company’s technology extensively at conferences and exhibitions. As a result of these efforts, Semicaps has achieved a sustained period of profitability over the last decade. Today, Semicaps counts half of the top 20 global semiconductor manufacturers, including Intel, Qualcomm, Micron, UMC and Global Foundries, among its clients.
5. I am glad that Semicaps is not resting on its laurels, and that you have continued to move up the technology ladder in response to changing industry needs. From the original Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) accessory that enabled the digital image capture of integrated circuits for manual fault analysis, Semicaps has developed its own equipment to automate the localisation of defects in semiconductor devices. In addition, Semicaps has collaborated with public research institutions to develop and commercialise new products and services. For example, your longstanding partnership with the NUS Centre for Integrated Circuit Failure Analysis and Reliability (CICFAR) has resulted in the development of two key Semicaps products, the Scanning Optical Microscope system and the Laser Timing Probe.
The Government remains committed to supporting the growth of our home-grown, high-tech SMEs.
6. The government is committed to supporting the growth of high-tech SMEs like Semicaps. Our agencies collaborate closely in supporting technology companies in various stages of their growth. Entrepreneurs seeking to commercialise new and potentially market-changing technologies can tap on SPRING’s grants to fund their R&D efforts. SPRING also offers equity co-financing for locally based entrepreneurs with innovative products or services to scale up their businesses.
7. As start-ups mature into SMEs, they can seek SPRING’s help to support technology innovation, brand and business strategy development projects. Over 1000 companies were supported by SPRING last year through its Capability Development Grant. SPRING also offers opportunities for SMEs to collaborate with large companies to upgrade capabilities and co-develop solutions. To address gaps in in-house R&D talent, SMEs can tap on A*STAR’s pool of researchers to undertake innovation projects. 480 researchers have been seconded to 280 companies to undertake in-house R&D and innovation since the launch of this programme in 2003.
8. Given the global nature of manufacturing and Singapore’s small domestic market, our high-tech SMEs need to internationalise relatively early in their development. Semicaps had similarly expanded overseas early in your growth to tap into larger markets and engage global clients. For SMEs that are embarking on this next phase of business development, IE Singapore provides support to understand the overseas markets before taking the first steps to venture abroad. Last year, IE Singapore assisted over 24,000 SMEs in their internationalisation plans.
9. Once again, I would like to congratulate all of you on Semicaps’ very impressive journey. Your unflagging effort to build Semicaps from a university spin-off into a leading failure analysis equipment manufacturer is an inspiration to all budding entrepreneurs. The government is committed to helping our high-tech SMEs to grow and become globally competitive, by providing integrated support that spans all stages of their development. We hope to see more home-grown high-tech companies flourish and succeed in their business endeavours, just like what you are doing.
10. Thank you and have a pleasant evening.