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Speech by MOS Low Yen Ling at Singapore Semiconductor Industry Association Semiconductor Business Connect 2023

Speech by MOS Low Yen Ling at Singapore Semiconductor Industry Association Semiconductor Business Connect 2023

Mr Brian Tan, Vice Chairman of the Singapore Semiconductor Industry Association,

Mr Ang Wee Seng, Singapore Semiconductor Industry Association Executive Director,

Ladies and gentlemen,

 

Introduction

 

1.    Good morning. It is my pleasure to be here with you at the Semiconductor Business Connect 2023.

2.    2023 marks a milestone of 55 years for Singapore's semiconductor industry. Our journey with the semiconductor sector began in the 1960s when Fairchild, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments and National Semiconductors set up assembly and test plants here. In five and a half decades, Singapore has grown in importance in the global semiconductor supply chain. We now, as a small little red dot and nation, account for about 5% of the global wafer capacity. Our companies, over the past 55 years have also successfully moved up the value chain in their operations with the adoption of state-of-the-art and best-in-class manufacturing technologies.

3.    Notably, our electronics sector, of which the semiconductor sector forms a major component, has consistently been the largest contributor to growth for our manufacturing sector. In 2022, the electronics sector generated S$65 billion in Value Add, accounting for more than 40% of the total value-added of our manufacturing sector. With more than 61,000 workers employed in this sector, we expect to create more than 2,700 jobs in the next 3 to 5 years.

Refreshed Electronics Industry Transformation Roadmap: Cementing Singapore’s position as a key manufacturing and R&D hub

 

4.    Today, while the semiconductor sector is experiencing softening demand, we can come together and acknowledge that there is room for optimism, especially with exciting developments in Artificial Intelligence, electrification and 5G communications. The global semiconductor industry is likely to continue growing in the medium-to-longer term and is on track to cross the trillion-dollar sales mark by the end of this decade.

5.    Against this encouraging backdrop, Singapore is well-placed to capture new growth opportunities. The government will certainly continue to partner with industry players to build capabilities and drive growth in the sector and press on with the strategies mapped out in the refreshed Electronics Industry Transformation Map, or ITM, that was launched in October last year.

 

R&D and Sustainability

 

6.    The theme of today’s event is, “Strengthening the Ecosystem with Emerging Technologies”. This is very much in line with our ITM, which aims to support industry growth through R&D.

7.    The electronics sector and the semiconductor industry, in particular, will need continuous and sustained investments in emerging technologies and R&D. Recognising this, the Government has set aside S$25 billion over 5 years under the Research, Innovation and Enterprise budget to bolster public-private research efforts to help companies invest in emerging technologies. We have also launched the Future of Microelectronics initiative, which identified five research pillars for our medium to long-term focus – heterogeneous integration, future communications, novel architecture for edge AI, wide bandgap semiconductors, and piezoelectric MEMs.

8.    Amongst the many R&D areas that companies are delving into, sustainability has certainly become a growing area of interest. Many consumers are increasingly demanding net-zero supply chains, and several key semiconductor MNCs have announced ambitious net-zero targets.

9.    I’d like to use today’s platform to encourage all our key industry players and local companies to pursue sustainability and innovate in the green space, which would certainly give you  an added competitive edge. I am happy to hear that SSIA has taken the first bold step to mobilise such efforts at the ecosystem level. I know that you’re convening a Sustainability Committee with representatives from the industry tasked to reduce the sector’s energy, water, and carbon footprint.

 

Strong industry networks essential for sustained growth

 

10. I want to applaud SSIA for their efforts because events such as today’s Semiconductor Business Connect play a vital role in boosting the industry network and connections. It offers an ideal platform for companies to explore partnerships, collaboration and innovations.

11. The SSIA will not only continue to play a key part in connecting our semiconductor companies to solution providers but also in maintaining strong overseas industry networks. We are already seeing promising outcomes from these efforts. For example:

a.    Companies such as Innowave Tech have been able to link up with and provide solutions for semiconductor companies.

b.    Through SSIA’s network, EnterpriseSG has introduced companies in emerging technologies like additive manufacturing and 3D printing, into the sector. It is game changing for the sector as the presence of these enterprises provides a good alternative to securing obsolete semiconductor equipment parts. Local companies which provide 3D printing services, such as Creatz3D and ELH Tech, have been able to meet the semiconductor industry’s needs in this area.

c.     SSIA has also recently worked with EnterpriseSG to lead a mission trip to Arizona to learn from industry experts from Intel, TSMC and Lucid Motors.

I encourage you to actively participate in such trips to broaden your overseas network and learn best practices. We also hope to see many more fruitful collaborations between companies in the wider semiconductor value chain.

 

Conclusion

 

12. The Government is strongly committed to growing our semiconductor industry. The manufacturing sector is a key sector for our economy and we will continue to work together with companies and industry associations such as the SSIA to facilitate knowledge exchange and strengthen our ecosystem. Just as the complex and intricate circuits in a semiconductor chip are interlinked to work well together, every enterprise and player in the semiconductor sector, big or small, plays a part in the growth and success of this highly-connected industry.

13. I hope that you will leverage today’s event to strengthen and expand your circuit of industry connections.  I wish you all the best and abundant opportunities to grow your business and form fruitful partnerships.

14. Thank you.

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