DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam at the opening of the Micron Fab 10 Expansion

SM Tharman Shanmugaratnam | 26 September 2016

Speech by DPM and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, at the opening of the Micron Fab 10 Expansion on 26 September 2016.


Mr. Mark Durcan, CEO, Micron Technology Inc.,
Mr Wayne Allan, VP Global Manufacturing, Micron Technology, Inc.,
Mr Lee Kok Choy, Country Manager, Micron Technology, Inc.,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,


It is a real pleasure for me to be here with all of you as we celebrate the opening of the Micron Fab 10 Expansion.

A significant milestone in the long-standing partnership between Micron and Singapore 

Micron’s history in Singapore has been one of transformation. You have evolved from DRAM1 manufacturing and Assembly & Test to include NAND and NOR2 manufacturing, as well as R&D and HQ activities3. Singapore is now Micron’s largest base outside the US.

Micron’s Fab 10 expansion will produce the company’s latest 3D NAND flash memory chips. This also makes Singapore Micron’s largest and most advanced NAND wafer fab location in the world.

The explosion of data creation and uses will grow opportunities for our Electronics industry

Micron’s expansion demonstrates the opportunities presented by the exponential growth in the creation and use of data. Data is being generated from a much wider range of sources, and is also being catalysed by technological advancements in areas such as the Internet of Things (IoT), and the way e-Commerce and the mobile technologies are transforming both business models and consumer behavior.

It presents a new wave of opportunities for the electronics industry - opportunities in the growing demand for cheaper and better data storage capabilities, for example. In particular, Flash memory, with its ability to offer faster performance in smaller form factors, will be critical to a whole range of consumer and enterprise applications.

Micron’s major expansion of its NAND flash manufacturing capacity rides on these growth opportunities. It is also a significant investment in Singapore’s manufacturing future.

Singapore will continue to invest in advanced manufacturing

Singapore is in fact making major investments in advanced manufacturing technologies to position our economy for the future. We are committing substantial resources to support research in Advanced Manufacturing & Engineering - including Robotics & Automation, Digital Manufacturing, Additive Manufacturing and Advanced Materials, which will support key industry sectors including Electronics. 

But the heart of this strategy is about our partnerships, with companies large and small. We will continue to partner leading players like Micron to keep advancing technology, skills and value-creation in Singapore.

Quite apart from advanced NAND wafer fab capabilities, Micron has launched its Big Data Analytics initiative to derive insights from the huge amounts of data in its manufacturing processes. Another example is Micron’s Remote Operations Centre, where engineers will be able to monitor and troubleshoot wafer fabrication processes without needing to step into the cleanroom.

Training and upskilling to ensure Singaporeans can take on new job opportunities

Our partnerships are also what creates new, high quality job opportunities.

Micron’s Fab 10 expansion will lead to the creation of 500 skilled, high value-added jobs, including fab process engineers and manufacturing equipment engineers who will be responsible for producing Micron's latest 3D NAND flash memory.

I must commend Micron for being actively involved in our national efforts to develop a local talent pipeline.

  • For example, it is participating in the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme, which will facilitate the skills deepening of fresh polytechnic graduates starting their careers with Micron.
  • It is also actively involved in our Professional Conversion Programme for the Wafer Fabrication Industry, which provides support for mid-career individuals who are keen to reskill and switch to this industry of the future.
  • In addition, Micron has also invested in enhancing the competitiveness of its workforce, having trained more than 2,100 workers under the Wafer Fabrication Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) framework.

I know from my last meeting in the US with Mark Durcan and his team, how seriously Micron takes its partnerships in education and training of people. You have deep and extensive relationships with Boise State University as well as the community colleges in Idaho, where the company was founded in the late 70s. We will I am sure see further development of Micron’s partnerships in education and training in Singapore.

These partnerships and investments in our people pay off over time. I recall learning about how Wayne Allan, who now leads Micron’s global wafer fab operations, started his life at Micron as a production operator before going on to get his university education later.

For Singapore, this is a truism. As a small, resource-constrained country, it is our human capital - and that’s each girl and boy, each man and woman, and the whole Singapore team put together –  that gives us a role in the world.  

It is what motivates our national SkillsFuture initiative - helping everyone develop and deepen their skills though life, and at some points learn entirely new bundles of skills. It’s what will create jobs, create new business opportunities, and keep differentiating Singapore in the world.


In closing, I congratulate Micron once again for this significant investment in its future, and thank you for your deepening partnership with Singapore as we create new paths into the future.

[1] DRAM refers to dynamic random access memory.

[2] NAND flash memory is a data storage medium used in high-performance data centres and consumer electronics such as smartphones and laptops. NOR flash memory is a data storage medium used in embedded applications for low capacity code and data storage.

[3]Singapore is Micron’s International Headquarters with ex-USA sales coverage, and with global responsibilities in manufacturing control, supply chain management, procurement, purchasing and distribution, as well as regional responsibilities in IT, HR, tax and legal services.