Singapore's semiconductor industry faces intensifying global competition

Published Tue, Jul 27, 2021 · 11:23 AM

THE semiconductor industry in Singapore faces increasing global competition, according to Minister of State for Trade and Industry Alvin Tan. He was speaking virtually at the Singapore Semiconductor Industry Association's Semiconductor Business Connect webinar on Tuesday.

He noted that while companies have favoured Singapore for its pool of skilled talent, ease of connectivity and a well-developed semiconductor ecosystem, challenges loom.

"However, we now find ourselves in a very different operating environment. Why? Because semiconductor chips are viewed as a strategic resource by many countries. The competition to attract and anchor such investments has therefore intensified," Mr Tan explained.

In addition to supply chain disruptions brought about by the pandemic, the semiconductor industry also faces challenges in manpower shortages due to travel restrictions, he added, noting that Singapore has so far risen to these challenges.

"Today, Singapore accounts for about 5 per cent of global wafer fabrication capacity and 19 per cent of the global semiconductor equipment market share," Mr Tan said.

But he stressed that it is important for companies to be equipped to improve capacity and capabilities. This will strengthen Singapore's semiconductor ecosystem and value proposition to investors.

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The city-state will thus have to continue concerted efforts to keep up, by innovating, connecting and collaborating.

Mr Tan highlighted the role of collaboration between the public and private sectors in pushing talent and capability development, and cross-industry cooperation in allowing businesses to grow.

"We will also build the ecosystem required to nurture new capabilities among companies in the semiconductor industry, as part of our broader drive to strengthen our manufacturing sector," he said, emphasising the government's commitment to its "Manufacturing 2030" vision of becoming a global business, innovation and talent hub for advanced manufacturing.

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