SPEECH BY DR KOH POH KOON, SENIOR MINISTER OF STATE FOR TRADE AND INDUSTRY AT INFINEON TECHNOLOGIES ASIA PACIFIC PTE LTD’S OKTOBERTECH ASIA EVENT ON 19 OCT 2018, 9.15AM, AT INFINEON TECHNOLOGIES ASIA PACIFIC PTE LTD, 8 KALLANG SECTOR
German Ambassador to Singapore, His Excellency Dr Ulrich A. Sante,
Chief Marketing Officer and Member of the Management Board, Infineon Technologies AG, Dr Helmut Gassel,
President and Managing Director, Infineon Technologies Asia Pacific, Mr Chua Chee Seong,
Ladies and gentlemen,
1. It is my pleasure to join you this morning at the inaugural Infineon Oktobertech Asia. I would like to congratulate the management and staff of Infineon on attaining yet another important milestone in Infineon’s development in Singapore.
Infineon is a key player in Singapore’s electronics industry
2. Infineon first established its manufacturing plant for systems assembly in Singapore 48 years ago. Since then, Infineon has expanded its manufacturing operations significantly and steadily moved up the value chain in research and development (R&D) operations. This includes siting its largest Design centre in Singapore which takes the lead in designing 80% of Infineon’s microcontrollers, and houses multiple centres of competence to develop new capabilities such as business analytics and test development.
3. Today, Infineon is one of the largest semiconductor companies in Singapore, employing more than 1,200 staff. It is our honour that Infineon now calls Singapore its Asia Pacific Regional Headquarters and its final test manufacturing site.
4. With the launch of the Co-Innovation Space today, Infineon will be able to bring together its partners, big and small, established ones and also startups to co-develop new products and solutions that target new growth markets, filling up the niche market and also to meet new demands of consumers. Companies, especially startups, can work with Infineon engineers to refine and develop the products and system solutions to better address market needs.
ASEAN as a key growth market for Infineon
5. Infineon’s decision to locate the Co-Innovation Space in Singapore is timely. With the rise of the middle class, ASEAN is on track to becoming the fourth largest single market in the world by 2030. As the Asia Pacific Regional Headquarters and the regional manufacturing control tower, Infineon Singapore is well-positioned to capitalize on opportunities in the region from Singapore.
Singapore Government will continue to work with industry partners to grow the Electronics Sector
6. At the industry level, Infineon is a key player of Singapore’s Electronics sector and we remain committed to working with companies like yourself to grow this important sector. Specifically, we seek to partner the industry in three ways.
Capturing New Growth Opportunities
7. Firstly, with the rise of Industry 4.0, developments in autonomous vehicles, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and smart factories represent tremendous growth opportunities for the Electronics sector. Companies will need to build new capabilities to capture opportunities in these growth areas. With a good pool of talent, enterprises and research institutes, Singapore is an ideal place for companies to locate their development and innovation activities and drive new businesses in these markets.
8. Infineon’s Co-Innovation Space is one such example. Already, four local start-ups have agreed to collaborate with Infineon to co-innovate new products and solutions. This is very encouraging and we look forward to more of such collaborations. As the ambassador said, this is a reflection of not just companies and an ecosystem coming together, but also a reflection of the strengthening Singapore-German ties. Additionally, ITAP Asia-Pacific 2018, the Asia-Pacific edition of the Hannover Messe event in Germany which took place this week also signifies not just Government to Government collaboration, but working together tangibly at the industry level, company level and the inpidual level between institutions, researchers and company inpiduals.
Adopting Advanced Manufacturing Technologies to Increase Productivity
9. Secondly, we will partner companies in developing and deploying advanced manufacturing technologies in their business. Advanced manufacturing trends, such as the increased use of sensors, enhanced connectivity across equipment, and the use of AI can help companies achieve greater level of efficiency, precision and control. However, companies must be willing and able to continually adopt and integrate these advanced manufacturing technologies to transform their manufacturing operations.
10. I am pleased to note that Infineon has one of the most advanced test manufacturing operations in Singapore. Through its Smart Enterprise Programme, Infineon has been working to develop new manufacturing technologies to further automate the factory floor, link up regional manufacturing operations in real-time, and centralise data for better analysis and insight generation. Through this project, Infineon has gained new digital capabilities that allow greater visibility and control of its global supply chain. It has also improved the reliability of production through new activities such as preventive maintenance. On top of this, I am also encouraged to learn that these new developments are championed by the Singapore team, and were first adopted at the Singapore site.
Developing talent and skills
11. Finally, we are committed to helping companies develop the appropriate training initiatives for their workers to re-skill and upskill. Clearly for Industry 4.0 to succeed, we need Worker 4.0. Ultimately, it is not technology that drives change but it must be people who anchor change. This will allow workers to take on better jobs, as companies continue to evolve and transform themselves to capitalise on new technological trends.
12. To this end, Infineon has been proactive in upgrading the skills of the local workforce and in building a pipeline of talent. We saw earlier in the exhibition hall also that Infineon has been a key partner in helping to develop the skills framework for workers in the Electronics sector. It is not just about the Government thinking about the skills needed but the industries coming on board to think about the skill sets needed for the future, and how we can go about transforming and creating training programmes to enable this to take place. As Infineon continues to adopt robotics and automate its operations, it has taken deliberate efforts to work with the labour movement to retrain and prepare its workers, especially mature workers, to ensure that they continue to be equipped with the right skills to remain relevant at work. Infineon and United Workers of Electronic and Electrical Industrial (UWEEI) share a harmonious and fruitful relationship spanning thirty years. As deputy labour chief, I am happy to see how government, an important stakeholder like Infineon, and unions can work together to actualize, implement and catalyse the entire transformation process. Infineon has a collaboration with UWEEI on digital literacy courses for its mature workers and the engagement of union members to be its Smart Factory change ambassadors. The best way to dispel fear in our workers is to have workers become Change Ambassadors themselves. Infineon has also extended support for skills upgrading and re-skilling by contributing to the NTUC Education and Training Fund. I am heartened by these efforts, which serve as role models for more companies to emulate. I hope that Infineon will also be the Change Ambassador at the company level to welcome more companies to come on board this journey with us.
13. In closing, I would like to thank Infineon for your continued confidence in Singapore. We look forward to strengthening our partnership with you, and we wish the team every success in your future endeavours. Thank you!