Speech by Minister S Iswaran at the Groundbreaking Ceremony for GlobalFoundries New Singapore Fab

Speech by Minister S Iswaran at the Groundbreaking Ceremony for GlobalFoundries New Singapore Fab

His Excellency Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak,

Co-Chair of the Abu Dhabi Singapore Joint Forum,

and Group CEO Mubadala Investment Company,


Mr Ahmed Yahia Al Idrissi,

Chairman GlobalFoundries,


Dr Thomas Caulfield,

CEO GlobalFoundries,


Distinguished Guests,


Ladies and Gentlemen,




1. Good afternoon. I am pleased to join you today at the groundbreaking of GlobalFoundries’ newest wafer fabrication facility in its Woodlands Campus.  Let me first offer my warmest congratulations to the management and staff of GlobalFoundries on this significant milestone.


2. Since its acquisition of Chartered Semiconductors in 2010, GlobalFoundries has committed 12 billion Singapore dollars in fixed asset investments in Singapore.  Today, GlobalFoundries is the largest foundry in Singapore, with five wafer fabs and close to 4,800 employees.  It is at the heart of a vibrant electronics industry in Singapore, which contributes about 7% of Singapore’s GDP and hires more than 33,000 workers.  Many companies, like GlobalFoundries, have their largest manufacturing plants here, and many of the consumer gadgets that we use daily have parts made in Singapore. In fact, I was told that the radio frequency chips that GlobalFoundries makes in Singapore are used in almost every smartphone made today!


3. GlobalFoundries’ investment of over 5 billion Singapore dollars will significantly increase its foundry capacity.  The semiconductor industry has been in the spotlight in the last year because of the surge in demand for chips.  Foundries worldwide are fully booked for the rest of the year, and the order books for next year are quickly filling up too. This demand is expected to remain strong as growth drivers such as the adoption of electric vehicles, 5G technology, cloud applications and the Internet of Things gain momentum. COVID-19 has accelerated these trends, so this is a timely expansion which will position GlobalFoundries well to capture a larger share of the market.


4. The new Singapore wafer fab is the kind of investment that Singapore aims to attract and anchor: highly sophisticated manufacturing, on the frontiers of technology, and helping to position us at critical nodes of global supply chains.  It will add another 1,000 jobs directly, and many more indirectly through the supporting ecosystem of suppliers, contractors and service providers.  Many of these are skilled jobs which meet the aspirations of Singaporeans.  Beyond jobs, these investments also enhance the vibrancy of our economy and help us stay relevant to the world.  I am also happy to hear that many SMEs will benefit from this investment, because GlobalFoundries plans to qualify more local suppliers to improve its supply chain resilience.


5. This investment will also bring us closer to achieving our ambition for the manufacturing sector.  In January this year, MTI announced our goal to grow the sector by 50% by 2030.  The semiconductor industry features strongly in these plans.  We are committed to the long-term growth of the industry here across the value chain – from chip design to wafer fabrication, assembly, and testing – and to anchoring supporting activities such as research & development, and regional distribution too.


6. GlobalFoundries’ continued growth in Singapore also builds on the strong bilateral relationship between Singapore and Abu Dhabi.  Notwithstanding the COVID-19 pandemic, the UAE has remained as Singapore’s top trading and investment partner in the Middle East; and GlobalFoundries’ latest investment in Singapore adds to our strong economic ties.


7. Since its inauguration in 2008, the Abu Dhabi-Singapore Joint Forum (ADSJF) has served as an important incubator for ideas, many of which have given rise to concrete economic collaboration between Singapore and the UAE.  Following the recent ADSJF held in March this year, several innovation challenges were launched, and conversations sparked, on collaboration in the Future Economy. This includes a Joint Innovation Call on Smart Cities and an Open Innovation Challenge on 5G-Enabled Urban Mobility. Discussions on the exchange of digital trade documents in trade financing and aspects of the green economy, such as low-carbon hydrogen, have also taken off.


8. I am confident that today’s groundbreaking will give further impetus to our bilateral relationship, and I look forward to an even stronger partnership with the UAE in the years to come.




9. In closing, I would like to thank H.E. Khaldoon for your personal support for our bilateral ties, and GlobalFoundries for your continued confidence in Singapore.  I look forward to the official opening of the new wafer fab soon.  Thank you.

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