Speech by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at Opening of IM Flash Singapore's Nand Flash Wafer Fab, 21 April 2011 at IM Flash Singapore

21 April 2011

 

Mr Steve Appleton, Chairman and CEO of Micron Technology

Mr David Baglee, Vice President of Technology and Manufacturing Group, Intel Corporation

Distinguished guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

 

1.         Congratulate Intel and Micron on the grand opening of this NAND flash wafer fab

a.         Marks a new milestone for the semiconductor industry in Singapore

b.         At US$3 billion, this is one of the largest investments in Singapore, and will bring significant spinoffs to supporting industries

 

2.         New wafer fab is state of the art

a.         Singapore’s first 300 millimetre NAND facility

b.         Manufactures NAND flash memory chips using the 25 nanometre process technology

i.          Most advanced volume production process for semiconductor and memory chips today

c.         Such leading edge capabilities will strengthen our semiconductor industry

d.         This is important for two reasons – good growth and good jobs

 

3.         Good growth

a          Our semiconductor industry is the fastest growing segment of the electronics cluster, expanding 64% last year

b.         Electronics underpins our manufacturing sector, which is a key pillar of Singapore’s economy

c.         Over the last 10 years, Singapore’s semiconductor industry has consistently outpaced global industry growth

d.         This strong performance has contributed significantly to our economic growth and prosperity

 

4.         Good jobs

a.         IM Flash Singapore employs 1,200 workers

i.          Six in ten are Singaporeans and PRs, while four in ten are foreigners

ii.         Singaporeans and PRs take up 2/3 of the managerial and professional positions, whereas 2/3 of the technician and manufacturing jobs are done by the foreigners

 iii.       Without the foreign workers, we would not have attracted this US$3 billion investment, and Intel and Micron would have built its wafer fab elsewhere

iv.        But by allowing in a controlled number of foreign workers, far from disadvantaging Singaporean workers, we have created more good jobs for Singaporeans

v.         For every 1 foreign worker, we have created 1.5 local jobs in this project

b.         Semiconductor industry as a whole employs 40,000 workers

c.         More than 3,300 new jobs were added in 2010

d.         Many are skilled, high-paying jobs, with good opportunities for advancement, that Singaporeans can take up

e.         Hence semiconductors and advanced wafer fabrication are key areas we want to grow

 

5.         Global semiconductor industry is fiercely competitive

a.         Today, Singapore ranks second in the world in terms of wafer capacity, compared to other cities

b.         But the only way to sustain our advantage is to keep at the forefront of technology

c.         By bringing in advanced operations, like this NAND flash wafer fab, and also by investing in R&D

d.         For next generation memory chips, A*STAR’s Data Storage Institute (DSI) leads our R&D efforts

i.          It is looking into technologies to make memory chips with 10 times more storage density

ii.         This means holding 10 times as much data – songs, pictures and videos – in our smart phones and other devices

e.         DSI’s work will help maintain our status as the leading data storage and memory hub in Asia

 

6.         Semiconductor industry is also a risky, cyclical business

a.         I know this facility had faced some challenges along the way

b.         Construction was put on hold in 2008 due to the memory chip downturn and global financial crisis

c.         But due to the hard work and active cooperation between EDB and the two partners, project was restarted and is now completed

d.         Commend those who worked on project for pushing ahead despite the obstacles

e.         Thank Intel and Micron for their continued confidence in Singapore

 

7.         Singapore’s ability to ride the ups-and-downs is a key survival trait for a small country

a.         Can be sure we will face new crises in future

b.         We need to stay nimble, resilient and cohesive to ride the storms

c.         Also need far-sighted leadership who can anticipate problems, plot a safe path through the dangers and find new ways to maximise our opportunities

 

8.         We can expect to face more competition in the future

a.         Hence must keep ourselves a compelling business location

i.          Attractive business and regulatory regime

ii.         Harmonious labour relations

iii.        Stable government

iv.        Rational and consistent policies, over a long term

v.         Strong commitment to work through challenges with investors

b.         Singapore has done this over past decades

c.         We are determined to keep it up

d.         Work together to keep Singapore growing and prospering, and creating good jobs for our people

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