Singapore Semiconductor Industry Report
Singapore, with its driverless subway trains, computerized tollgates and wireless cafes, ranks as the second-most technology-savvy country in a report by the World Economic Forum, the World Bank and France's INSEAD business school. The annual report released for 2003 ranks 102 countries on such indicators as number of telephone lines, personal computers and Internet users to determine how prepared they are to benefit from technology. Singapore's 4 million people have the highest per capita rate of home Internet use, and it is one of only five countries where more than half the population has personal computers, the report said. Singapore also ranked first for overall infrastructure quality, per capita technology exports and subsidies for corporate research and development.
Singapore Electronic industry
Electronic industry has grown much over this period of ten years. Electronics industry revenue was S$60 billion for the year 2002, accounting for 42% of total manufacturing output of S$144 billion. This robust growth is driven partly by the semi-conductor cluster, which grew an impressive 73.3% in 2000. Consumer electronics now accounts for only 3% of the industry output, down from 21% ten years ago.
Semiconductor now accounts for 28% of the electronics industry output, contributing $17 billion of industry output in 2002. The semiconductor sector employs about 30 000 people here. Contributing factors to the semiconductor cluster’s strong growth are an increased market demand and the expansion in manufacturing operations by wafer fabs, assembly and testing companies.
The semiconductor industry is considered a strategic industry due to its significant spin-offs and strong linkages to other industries such as chemicals, wafer production and equipment manufacturing. Success story of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd., spawned imitators: Chartered Semiconductor in Singapore, Tower Semiconductor in Israel, and more recently Sub-Micron Technologies in Thailand. Today, Singapore has 30 IC design centres, 14 wafer fabs and 17 assembly and test facilities. The Republic hosts four wafer fabrication parks.
Industry 21 plan spearheaded by the Economic Development Board, targets the semiconductor equipment sector to support the growth of semiconductor cluster.
Singapore's government has the widest range of programs to support development of targeted industries such as semiconductors and communications. Programs include both foreign and domestic incentives for locally conducted R&D, with infrastructure and human resource development programs to support high-end manufacturing. The strategy is to create high-value-added activities, develop R&D capabilities, and train skilled workers.
Last year, companies in the local semiconductor industry invested a total of S$2.9 billion in fixed assets. A group of top players in the semiconductor equipment manufacturing industry are coming together to form Allegro, a first-of-its-kind specialist equipment manufacturing company in Singapore.
Chartered Semiconductor: main player
Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing is one of the world's top three silicon foundries providing contract manufacturing services, also known as foundry services to a wide range of customers including integrated device manufacturers since 1987. Chartered operates five fabrication facilities and has a sixth fab in the process of being developed as a 300mm facility, all of which are located in Singapore. Chartered's 3,500 employees are based at 11 locations around the world.
Asian Semiconductor industry
Within a period of two decades, firms in Korea and Taiwan, and to a lesser extent in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand have moved this region to a leading position in semiconductor industry. The large nationally-owned firms take the lead in Korea. Expanding SMEs in Taiwan and foreign-owned subsidiaries in Singapore played a major role in creating silicon countries.
The foundry business is growing and profiting again after a brief downturn. There were days when industry leader TSMC was earning 50% net profits, but in recent months, those margins have been pared down.
For the semiconductor industry, despite the steep decline, the medium and long-term prospects remain very good. The industry has grown by more than 10 times over the last 20 years, reaching US$220 billion last year. This represented a growth rate of about 15 per cent over a 20-year period despite cyclical ups and downs. This trend will continue.
Predictions for Global Semiconductor industry
According to Dataquest, the global semiconductor industry grew by more than 32%, from US$170 billion in 1999 to reach US$222 billion in year 2000. While sentiments this year are down, industry experts are confident that prospects for the semiconductor industry in the medium and long term remain very good. They expect double-digit growth to resume after two to three years.
The turnaround of the global semiconductor industry presents a good opportunity for equipment manufacturers to expand their activities in growing markets such as Asia. The concentration of IC assembly and test activities in this region as well as the growing number of wafer fabs here enable Singapore to be well placed as a world-class hub for semiconductor equipment development and assembly.
Gartner predicts China and South Korea would be the clear leaders generating growth in the region. Growth in Taiwan will be lower caused by a shift of electronic production to mainland China.
Predictions for Singapore
Research house Gartner estimates Singapore's semiconductor consumption including chips used locally and those exported - to be worth about US$3 billion (S$5.2 billion) in 2002. Growth in Singapore's semiconductor sector will start picking up.
Singapore should also benefit from the surge in sales of mobile phones, digital cameras, consumer electronics and computers - much of it in the Asia-Pacific and Japan. But Singapore is going to be hit even harder by the shift of low-end electronic production out of the city-state.
Problems in Singapore semiconductor industry
Chartered expects a net loss of US$40 million to $48 million (Dec 1, 2003). Compared to other industry, wafer fabrication industry is not doing well. There are not many success stories. And now, with the country in the midst of a painful recession and the electronics industry suffering severely from the global downturn, chipmakers (Singapore's key manufacturing industry) may not be profitable in the near term or the long.
In the future, instead of building their own fabs, IDMs will increasingly look to manufacture their chips at pure-play foundries. For cost reasons, they will not want to be tied to any specific foundry, so they will start to contract with library developers to create their own proprietary libraries that are portable among multiple foundries. So, customers of foundries and wafer fabs may want a more diversified source and may look for alternates to Singapore foundries.
Like disk drive and PCB industry, rising costs and competition from neighbouring countries such as Malaysia and Thailand leads to movement of wafer fabrication industry also.
The tax breaks for high-tech projects in Malaysia are competitive with neighboring Singapore. Singapore is a potential source of employees, estimating that Malaysians make up nearly 40% of Singapore's labor base. If that's true, and enough skilled labor is encouraged to return home, the exodus could threaten Singapore's ambitious plans to attract 25 wafer fabs or roughly $30 billion in investment.
China has initiated a program to replicate Taiwan's success in microelectronics on a much larger scale. China is successfully attracting investment through its 17 percent value-added tax (VAT) on imported semiconductors (as opposed to a 3 percent VAT on those made in China). The 14 percent surcharge on foreign chips entering China is enough to force those companies operating in China to seek indigenous sources of supplies. China has created a tax-free environment for semiconductor plants. It has created "very powerful financial incentives to draw in talent from abroad," and it has all the capital and technology needed to put into place a vibrant semiconductor industry.
Temasek Holdings, the investment arm of the Singapore government, may divest itself of Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Ltd. and its sister company, ST Assembly and Test Services, thereby abandoning the wafer production business [August 2002]. Temasek, which works with Singapore's Economic Development Board, is helping the government in its search for new technology growth markets and for a way to maintain Singapore's status as a telecommunications and routing hub. With over capacity plaguing the global semiconductor industry, Temasek is now looking for new opportunities in telecom and biotechnology.
Despite the industry's global woes and move towards diversification, the island state's faith that its economic future is etched in silicon remains unshaken. But to show a profit from its chip making commitment, won't be easy.
Singapore is south-east Asia's hi-tech city-state known for its excellent network of public transport, access to all parts of the island is usually within minutes to a maximum of three-quarters of an hour.
The country comprises the main island linked by a causeway to the southern tip of Malaysia and around 50 smaller islands. The major industries are: electronics, chemicals, financial services, oil drilling equipment, petroleum refining, rubber processing and rubber products, processed food and beverages, ship repair, entrepot trade, biotechnology.
Light manufacturing industries are usually built in close proximity to townships with a wide variety of low cost good quality Asian and international food outlets.
Prestigious science-based parks are developed to host and concentrate high technology companies. Numerous government research institutes are situated throughout the island to support research projects initiated by industry. A 94% literacy rate and English speaking bilingual workforce endure that business can be conducted with ease.
64% of the non-oil domestic exports to the world is a singularly important element of the Singapore economy. To a large extent, the industry mitigated the effects on Singapore of the 1997 Asian financial crisis. As a result, the Singapore government has reaffirmed its continued support for the manufacturing sector through its "Industry 21" initiative. The initiative's strong emphasis on the development of technology, support for innovation and capability-building, is aimed at securing Singapore's place as a vibrant, robust knowledge-based global hub. Through high quality technical skills and management, manufacturing in Singapore has gained international recognition; support infrastructure is excellent. But, recent trends in globalization, technological convergence and regional economic developments have led to a rethink of the fundamental strategies required to achieve long term competitive advantage.
Singapore's manufacturing sector grew by 7.7 percent year-on-year in November 2003 with most major clusters posting higher output, as per government release. Electronics industry revenue was S$60 billion for the year 2002, accounting for 42% of total manufacturing output of S$144 billion. The electronics cluster grew by 11.2 percent with higher output in all major segments except the info-communications and consumer electronics segment
Throughout the last decade, the electronics industry has maintained a compound annual growth rate of 9%. Singapore's electronics manufacturing started in the late 60s following the establishment of a manufacturing site at Jurong. Low-skill labour-intensive industries were encouraged to invest here to create jobs. By the 90s, these industries were being phased out and being replaced by multinationals supported by a mature industry and local home-grown companies. These now form the core of the high technology industries requiring skill and talent.
Three industry clusters stand out among the electronics manufacturers in Singapore - disk drives, printed circuit board assembly manufacturers and wafer fabrication.
There are many smaller niche industries such as the computer and computer peripherals manufacturers.
Semiconductor industry accounted for $17 billion in output in 2002, which translates to about 12% of total manufacturing output. Over the years, Singapore has grown with the semiconductor industry. There are 12 wafer fabs operating in Singapore with industry leaders such as Chartered and STMicroelectronics. Fabless design companies are an important and growing part of the global semiconductor industry.
Singapore's semiconductor industry started more than 30 years ago when SGS (now known as STMicroelectronics), Texas Instruments and Fairchild set up transistor assembly plants. Other leading industry players followed earnestly, and in just over a decade, the semiconductor industry entered a new phase when STMicroelectronics set up the first wafer fabrication plant and IC design centre in Singapore. Today, Singapore is home to more than 40 multinational and indigenous semiconductor companies spanning the full semiconductor value chain of activities. The semiconductor sector employs about 30 000 people here and accounts for up to 28 per cent of the country's total electronics output.
The Singapore government played a major role in developing IT infrastructure in Singapore. Two decades of coherent IT policy, application and development, has positioned the island state ahead of many of the world's larger countries. Recent developments include the implementation of nation-wide broadband services. The government offers attractive financial incentives to both adopters and innovators of IT technology, and is actively encouraging the development of a knowledge-based economy. The crucial importance of e-commerce has led to rapid growth in web-based business.
The local IT scene is largely dominated by Microsoft. Approximately 90% of companies employing more than 100 workers utilize computer networks, with government departments and the IT industry leading the way. The Singapore government launched Infocomm21 - Singapore's strategic plan for the new economy. By 2004, internet e-business in Singapore is expected to mushroom to S$8.1bn (International Data Corp). The government already offers more than 300 services online.
When Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) opened its doors in 1987, it was uncertain if an independent pure-play foundry compete with the resources of classic integrated device manufacturers (IDMs). After all, IDMs had been offering foundry business for years by selling excess capacity as customer-owned tooling. Now many fabless chip vendors that increasingly depend on foundries to provide them with leading-edge chips without the huge expense and headaches of running their own advanced fabs.
Foundries can slightly lower their wafer prices in a slowdown to maintain manufacturing flows for customers. Keeping supply and demand in check always is a challenge and capacity planning is affected by IDMs’ changing outsourcing plans.
They are ready to take on more of the manufacturing from large integrated electronics groups like Motorola, which have announced plans to outsource as much as 50% of their chip production.
The major trend going on now is that IDMs are using foundries. Before, the foundries' major customer base was fabless companies. That's still the largest component, but Motorola and Toshiba have stated strategies to use foundries instead of spending capital themselves."
Success story of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd., spawned imitators Chartered Semiconductor in Singapore, Tower Semiconductor in Israel, and more recently Sub-Micron Technologies in Thailand to set up pure play foundries.
The foundry business is changing rapidly. Fabless semiconductor companies will be a much smaller part of the business as the major semiconductor companies, such as National Semiconductor realize that they can get perhaps 20 percent of their production from outside foundries. There are companies that won't have the cash to put in all the capacity that they need. And the system companies like Hewlett-Packard will become good customers for foundries.
Up to now, foundry companies have followed behind the IDMs in the technology race. Foundries are moving to "manufacturing service" including logistics support, participation in production planning, scheduling and forecasts. Chartered, TSMC and UMC are well positioned for that.
Each of the big foundries has key technology partnerships related to industry trends such as system on a chip, but the alliances differ significantly. Invariably, links to EDA tool vendors and other technology and equity partners are vital.
Chartered wants to provide system-level technology as a differentiator from its competition, but the building blocks would come from sources outside the company. A few years ago, the company was making primarily low-margin memories, but the company now has a new set of customers in more lucrative areas like telecommunications and data communications.
All of the foundries see system on a chip as key to their future. Twelve years ago, TSMC couldn't find any IP providers to build a system-on-a-chip library for his company. Today, more and more are offering to tailor such key building blocks as RISC processors and DSPs to TSMC's production technology. In the past, a system house which might have gone to an ASIC designer to make a chip now can go directly to a foundry.
UMC has fab partners like graphics chip house S3 and FPGA maker Xilinx starting production at the 0.18 micron level. Foundries prepare for a growing wave of business from the semiconductor giants
Semiconductor analysts around the world are predicting that more of the chip foundries' business will come from the big integrated device manufacturers such as Motorola and National Semiconductor, both of which have announced plans to outsource as much as 50% of their chip production during the next few years.
Two biggest challenges are hiring experienced engineers and the state of the semiconductor market.
The Asia Pacific semiconductor industry is on the rebound and can look forward to annual sales growth of more than 15 percent in the next four years, technology research house Gartner (Oct. 2003). The semiconductor revenue in the region would be worth 116.6 billion US dollars in 2007, more than double the 2002 figure of 57.6 billion dollars. It projected 18.5 percent growth this year with sales of 68.2 billion dollars.
Gartner said China and South Korea would be the clear leaders generating growth in the region. The Gartner report said semiconductor revenue in China-Hong Kong would be worth 28.4 billion dollars in 2003, rising to 36.8 billion in 2004 and 54 billion in 2007. The overall Korean semiconductor market is estimated to reach 12.4 billion dollars in 2003.
Growth in Taiwan is projected to be 11.4 percent annually until 2007, with the lower growth rate caused by a shift of electronic production to mainland China.
IC Insights, a semiconductor market researcher, trimmed its forecast for 2003 worldwide microchip sales growth because of the falling price of chips. Expected worldwide sales of chips of US$136.4 billion this year, up 13 per cent from the year before; it had previously targeted 15 per cent growth. Chip makers nearly doubled their investment in chip-making equipment in 2000, a miscalculation that has cost the industry amid the current slump.
Singapore is going to be hit even harder by the shift of low-end electronic production out of the city-state, with five-year annual growth projected to average only four percent with 3.7 billion dollars in revenue in 2007. Neighbouring Malaysia is projected to generate 10.1 billion dollars worth of semiconductor sales in 2007, with an annual growth rate of 11.4 percent.
In the semiconductor industry, perhaps nowhere are the stakes higher than in manufacturing. With new fabrication facilities now costing upwards of $3 billion, many companies are looking for cost-effective alternatives to building and maintaining their own fabs. And since the designs coming out of these companies require new levels of expertise, partnering with specialists makes even more sense. To be effective, however, the relationship must be seamless, as if it is one company sharing a common goal.
To help achieve this type of seamless relationship, Chartered has pioneered a novel concept in the foundry industry. Their partnership approach allows them to work with customers early on in the product definition stage, often sharing resources, knowledge and even physical assets, to jointly develop solutions, thus giving partners the flexibility to adapt quickly to new market opportunities.
The NanoAccess Alliance is an extensive ecosystem of 90nm third-party library, EDA and IP companies that currently includes: ARM; Artisan Components, Inc.; Cadence Design Systems, Inc.; ChipIdea Microlectronics; IBM; Mentor Graphics Corporation; MoSys, Inc.; QualCore Logic; Synopsys, Inc.; and Virage Logic Corporation. Outsourced design and manufacturing-related services are also part of Chartered's NanoAccess Alliance. Design companies include Flextronics and QThink; and manufacturing service providers are Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd.; ST Assembly Test Services Ltd. (STATS); Toppan Printing Co., Ltd and its subsidiaries; and Unitive Semiconductor Taiwan Corp. (UST).
"Success in the Nano Age is not just about process. Providing a holistic approach and open design solutions with third-party technology and service providers are key parts of our foundry service offering and the charter for the NanoAccess Alliance". The NanoAccess Alliance brings together proven SoC technologies and services for all their needs, and in a way that eliminates the costly trial-and-error of designing with new technologies and avoids the pitfalls of IP-constrained, inflexible manufacturing approaches."
The NanoAccess Alliance companies all share a key goal of better design for manufacturability through their joint efforts. Details on specific products supported and delivery timelines are outlined in separate announcements issued today with several NanoAccess Alliance companies.
A competitive foundry also needs a very broad-based infrastructure. "That's IP, embedded memory, all kinds of things. It's also become too expensive to develop a new technology. It's impossible to make a profit with a small run rate. So the technology investment is very high," Small foundries simply cannot survive under these conditions.
Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing is one of the world's top three silicon foundries providing contract manufacturing services, also known as foundry services to a wide range of customers including integrated device manufacturers since 1987. Chartered operates five fabrication facilities and has a sixth fab in the process of being developed as a 300mm facility, all of which are located in Singapore.
More of the foundry business for Singapore's Chartered Semiconductor comes integrated device manufacturers such as Motorola. Chartered so far has access to leading-edge Motorola fabrication technology and serve as a seamless extension to Motorola's own facilities. Other large companies like National Semiconductor subcontract around 30% of their production.
Chartered's 3,500 employees are based at 11 locations around the world.
Cadence Design Systems, Inc. and Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing collaborate to provide a streamlined path from design to volume production for Chartered NanoAccess 90-nanometer manufacturing technologies using Cadence's leading solutions for nanometer design.
The push toward 90nm has uncovered significant design challenges. Cadence is working closely with Chartered to address customers' nanometer design needs with industry-leading physical verification, parasitic extraction and signal integrity solutions for achieving design closure. This will reduce customers' design risk, enabling a faster ramp from design to volume production.
Adventa Control Technologies, Inc. announced in August 2002 a third phase, follow-on contract for implementing run-to-run or Advanced Process Control using processWORKS software.
In Phase I, they completed a rapid deployment of AutoShell product for equipment integration. In Phase II, they installed TIMS, Fault Detection product, on more than 500 tools in about six months. In recent years, the semiconductor industry has embraced run-to-run process control to reduce manufacturing cost, reduce process and product variability, and dramatically improve fab productivity.
CSMC Technologies Corporation (CSMC-Tech), a leading Chinese 150 millimeter integrated circuit foundry services company, entered into an arrangement in August 2003 with Chartered Semiconductor, on equipment purchase, technology licensing, operational assistance, and customer referral. In return, Chartered will receive cash payment and an equity stake in CSMC-Tech. The collaboration between Chartered and CSMC-Tech will result in extending the productive life and availability of proven 150mm technologies for serving the China market and global customers. Chartered will transfer 0.6-micron technologies, including analog, EEPROM, high voltage and BiCMOS; 0.5-micron analog technology; and 0.35-micron logic technology to CSMC-Tech.
The licensed technologies and purchased equipment assets from Chartered's Fab 1 will be installed in CSMC-Tech's 150mm Fab 1 facility, located at Wuxi, China. Using the 150mm equipment sets purchased from Chartered's Fab 1, CSMC-Tech plans to increase its total 150mm capacity from the current 20,000 wafers per month to more than 45,000 wafers per month by mid 2005.
Since 1997, Chartered has been serving customers in China and the business model of CSMC-Tech is ideally suited for the PRC market.
Chartered Semiconductor, IBM and Infineon Technologies AG announced a joint development agreement in August 2003 to accelerate the move to 65 nanometer semiconductor manufacturing process technology. This closely aligns Infineon's low-power silicon expertise with IBM's leading process technology and Chartered's efforts to drive a common foundry process platform that scales from 90nm through next-generation 65nm technology and provides a path to 45nm.
The work will be conducted in IBM's East Fishkill 300mm development lab. Nearly 200 engineers from the three companies will work together to define industry-leading process technologies for next-generation semiconductors.
Chartered, IBM, and Infineon plan to jointly develop a common advanced foundry process at 65nm, as well as variants tuned for high performance and low power. The companies are also exploring extensions to 45nm technology. To assist foundry customers in designing with these technologies, the companies have also agreed to work together with third-party providers to provide a robust ecosystem of optimized design tools.
Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing unveiled its 90-nm process, dubbed NanoAcess on September 18, 2003. The process platform is a joint development effort between Chartered and IBM, which also has designs on the foundry business. Design manual and SPICE models are now available for early adopters for prototyping. Dai Nippon Printing has been qualified to deliver masks for the node.
Transistor options include Nominal, High Performance (HP) and Low Power (LP) devices The complex physics and integration benefits of 90nm geometries require a systems approach to silicon development and manufacturing. Chartered's 90nm strategy is to provide a complete design-to-manufacturing platform and dual-sourcing flexibility based on its joint development and reciprocal manufacturing agreement with IBM. Compatibility is built in at the process, design and mask levels, and in Chartered's Fab 7 with a "copy smart" equipment set to further enhance yield optimizations for Chartered's NanoAccess 90nm technologies. In addition, Chartered is taking measures to accommodate small batch processing for companies with lower volume supply needs.
Chartered's NanoAccess Alliance enlists support for a complete 90nm design environment based on common design standards. This contrasts the use of proprietary formats with the ASIC-like manufacturing platforms promoted by other pure-play chip foundries.
The SPICE simulation models currently available to Chartered 90nm customers and IP partners were developed using a methodology that isolates and partitions numerous process variables. This streamlines both initial development cycles on 200mm wafers and migration to 300mm.
Chartered's NanoAccess 90nm technologies feature up to nine layers of copper metal for signal routing, multiple threshold voltage transistor options, full low-k offering for performance critical applications, and FTEOS for balanced cost and performance implementations. An optional Triple Gate Oxide capability provides additional avenues for further optimizing power and performance.
Chartered's NanoAccess silicon deliverables include a 90nm design manual with performance and reliability design rules, electrical parameters, and silicon characterization guidelines. It supports Chartered's standard suite of mixed-signal and embedded memory modules, as well as multiple transistor configurations for flexibility in designing SoCs with peak performance, low leakage devices needed for mobile/handheld applications.
Chartered Semiconductor and Chinese communications equipment maker ZTE Corp. will collaborate to produce switching and router ICs [December 2003].
MoSys, Inc. leading provider of high density system-on-chip (SoC) embedded memory solutions, and Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing announced an agreement on November 2003 to qualify and offer MoSys' innovative quad density 1T-SRAM-Q technology on Chartered's 0.13-micron process. This agreement extends the existing collaboration between the companies to offer additional optimized high-density memory solutions on multiple technology generations and products.
MoSys and Chartered have already successfully qualified MoSys' 1T-SRAM high-density memory solution on Chartered's 0.18-micron and 0.13-micron process technologies, and are in the process of qualifying the 1T-SRAM technology on Chartered's NanoAccess 90nm SoC manufacturing technologies. MoSys is a member of Chartered's NanoAccess Alliance aimed at accelerating development and reducing the risk of nanometer-scale integrated circuits (ICs) and SoC devices for fabless and fab-lite chip companies.
1T-SRAM-Q enables cost-effective integration of large amounts of embedded memory on SoC designs without any change to the other logic IP blocks or libraries. 1T-SRAM-Q incorporates MoSys' proprietary Transparent Error CorrectionTM (TECTM ) technology delivering the additional benefits of improved yield and reliability with elimination of laser repair and soft error concerns.
Chartered Semiconductor will license 0.18-micron silicon germanium (SiGe) BiCMOS process technology from a European research institute. Chartered has joined the Industrial Affiliation Program organized by the Interuniversities Microelectronics Center (IMEC) for access to the technology.
The partnership complements Chartered's mixed-signal and RF CMOS technology and allow designers to integrate RF front-end and baseband chips for wireless communications or to provide high-speed data rates for wireline applications. The approach of Chartered is to use an existing CMOS baseline process as the starting point and to integrate the SiGe bipolar module to deliver value-added high performance
IMEC claims to be Europe's largest independent research center in the field of microelectronics. IMEC's activities concentrate on the design technology for integrated information and communication systems, silicon process technology, silicon technology as well as device integration.
Chartered Silicon Partners Pte Ltd., is a joint-venture company of Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing, Hewlett-Packard Company and Singapore Economic Development Board. It was started in 1987 in Woodlands Industrial Park, adjacent to existing Chartered facilities.
Established on 1st July 1996, Hitachi Nippon Steel Semiconductor Singapore Pte. Ltd. is an amalgamation of Hitachi group, Nippon Steel Group and the Economic Development Board with an initial investment of S$1.33 billion. Its vision is to be one of the top semiconductor companies in the world. Its facility includes a clean room maintained at Class 1 environment and its fab is certified to ISO9001 and ISO14001 standards. It employs about 1000 employees from different nationalities and cultural backgrounds.
Systems on Silicon Manufacturing Co. Pte Ltd (SSMC) is a joint-venture of Philips Semiconductors, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, and the Economic Development Board of Singapore. Philips Semiconductor is one of the top three semiconductor companies in Europe. TSMC is the world's largest foundry. SSMC is in the advanced semiconductor foundry business with an investment of over $2 billion. The company is working on improving processes like etch, thin film, diffusion and photolithography.
SSMC strengthens the Singapore wafer fab cluster and brings advanced wafer fabrication process technologies and capabilities to Singapore. SSMC has created around 1,000 new jobs, two thirds of them for professionals and technicians.
SSMC's 200mm Singapore facility is ramping up to full capacity of 30,000 wafers/month. SSMC is planning a 300mm fab adjacent to it. The fab will incorporate experience from STMicroelectronics' 300mm Crolles (France) R&D pilot line.
The fab makes circuits like Philips' Nexperia system on chip ICs. A prototyping architecture allows software to be mapped onto hardware before an IC's specification is finalized. Final designs are implemented with a range of feature sizes and are being produced both at SSMC Singapore and at Philips' Netherlands fab.
SSMC will invest US$220-250 million to expand wafer output at its Singapore plant to 33,000 200-milimetre equivalent wafers per month by the end of 2004 from the current 24,000 [January 13, 2004 Business Times]. The company may raise output by a further 21 pct to 40,000 wafers per month by the end of 2005, depending on the demand.
Most of the investment will be used to buy additional equipment and the rest to upgrade building facilities.
Opentech Networking provided large scale project management models and systems, helping with technology transfer.
Lam Research Corporation supplied $33 million worth of systems for multi-chamber dielectric, poly and metal etch. SSMC will buy multiple three and four chamber advanced dual frequency dielectric etch, three-chamber TCP® 9400PTX poly etch and four-chamber TCP 9600PTX metal etch systems. SSMC will use these new equipment to transfer technology from Philips MOS4 and TSMC Fab 5 for high volume production.
Asyst Technologies Inc supplied Singapore's initial fab-wide SMIF automation. The order includes Asyst's SMIF-LPT™ load-ports and mini environments, and SMART-Tags™ lot ID systems and wafer sorters.
TECH Semiconductor Singapore Pte. Ltd. is a multi-million-dollar wafer fabrication plant at the Woodlands Wafer Fab Park. Founded in 1991, TECH's current partners are Micron Technology, Singapore Economic Development Board, Canon and Hewlett-Packard.
WACKER SILTRONIC is part of Wacker-Chemie GmbH Munich and a major producer of electronic grade silicon for the semiconductor industry. It has production facilities in Singapore.
The days when Singapore specialized in offering commodity IC packaging are long gone. Its forte now is advanced packaging and process R&D. Since the early 1990s, the government has focused its efforts on attracting wafer fabs as a means of increasing the value added per worker. Needless to say, more fabs are good news for the IC packaging foundries on the island, with most customers preferring to outsource both front-end and backend work to suppliers in the same vicinity to achieve reduced cycle times.
One of Singapore's biggest strengths in the assembly and test field is its depth of engineering talent, built up over more than two decades of being in the IC packaging business.
ST was one of the pioneers in setting up an R&D Centre in Singapore dedicated to providing digital signal processing capabilities and, more recently, in developing skills in third generation technologies in collaboration with the Institute for Infocommunications Research, the first of its kind in Singapore
ST has continued to expand its operations in Singapore. Today, its activities span the full value chain of this industry from R&D, IC design, wafer fabrication, assembly and test to sales and marketing and supply chain management.
ST is today one of the largest employers in Singapore with 5,000 employees, including 150 R&D and IC design engineers. The Singapore office has filed more than 100 patents to date.
Lucent Technologies Microelectronics Pte. Ltd. and Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Ltd. formed in 1998 a US $1-billion-plus joint venture to manufacture integrated circuits. Called Silicon Manufacturing Partners Pte. Ltd., It manufactures a variety of integrated circuits.
The Ellipsiz Group is a leading engineering and advanced packaging solutions provider to the semiconductor industry in Asia. The engineering solutions provided by Ellipsiz are:
Ellipsiz also offers advanced packaging services such as wafer bumping, and an internet-enabled supply chain management solution for the semiconductor industry.
One of its core businesses of CR Logic is the semiconductor operation, which involves design, fabrication, packaging, testing, foundry service and sale of consumer IC's. Its major products, derived from 4-inch to 6-inch semiconductor wafers, include discrete devices, bipolar ICs and MOS ICs, which are mainly used in consumer electronic products and telecommunication devices. The current annual capacity is about 1.3 million wafers.
Adventa Control Technologies, Inc. is a leading supplier of equipment control, advanced process control, equipment integration, and MES solutions for wafer fab management. With headquarters in Plano, TX, the Company has engineering support offices in Tokyo and Munich.
Agilent Technologies, Inc. is a diversified technology company, resulting from Hewlett-Packard Company's plan to strategically realign itself into two fully independent companies. With 42,000 employees serving customers in more than 120 countries, Agilent Technologies, as a subsidiary of HP, is a global leader in designing and manufacturing test, measurement and monitoring instruments, systems and solutions, and semiconductor and optical components. The company serves markets that include communications, electronics, life sciences and healthcare.
Allegro Manufacturing Pte Ltd has secured investments to form a semiconductor front-end equipment "foundry" in Singapore. These include EDB Investments Pte Ltd of Singapore, Hermes-Epitek Corporation of Taiwan, Lam Research Corporation of California, USA, Tokyo Electron Ltd of Japan. Allegro will immediately begin the outsourcing and manufacturing services for equipment manufacturers. Given that Asia Pacific is the biggest and fastest growing region for this huge semiconductor front-end equipment market, Allegro's sales is estimated to hit US$30 million in 2003.
ASM International, a global leader in semiconductor equipment manufacturing started manufacturing in Singapore in 1990. Now it employs over 700 people and has grown into a leading manufacturer of semiconductor assembly equipment and lead-frames in this region. It achieved a revenue of more than S$200 million in 1999. ASM Technology Singapore is now an important part of ASM International, contributing half of its semiconductor assembly business and over 25% of its total turnover.
Asyst Technologies, Inc. is a leading provider of integrated automation systems for the semiconductor manufacturing industry, which enable semiconductor manufacturers to increase their manufacturing productivity and protect their investment in silicon wafers during the manufacture of integrated circuits. Encompassing isolation systems, work-in-process materials management, substrate-handling robotics, automated transport and loading systems, and connectivity automation software, Asyst’s modular, interoperable solutions allow chipmakers and original equipment manufacturers, to select and employ the value-assured, hands-off manufacturing capabilities that best suit their needs.
Founded in 1997, CSMC-Tech offers integrated circuit manufacturing, foundry management and operating services for China and the international markets. Pioneering the open foundry business model in the PRC, CSMC-Tech provides fabrication capacity for a growing number of design houses that need IC fabrication capacity and integrated device manufacturers that outsource their production. CSMC-Tech's employs over 700 staff.
Eclipse Technology provide sales and service support on semiconductor and SMT manufacturing equipment. Products represented include: Test Systems; Laser Marking Systems; and SMT Equipment:
With headquarters in Singapore, Flextronics is the leading Electronics Manufacturing Services provider focused on delivering supply chain services to technology companies. Flextronics provides design, engineering, manufacturing, and logistics operations in 29 countries on five continents. IT expertise, network services, and logistics has established the Company as the leading EMS provider with revenues of $13.4 billion in its fiscal year ended March 31, 2003. With a network of global manufacturing facilities, Flextronics delivers low cost, high volume manufacturing solutions for PCBs, mechanicals, semiconductors, and optical components.
Getech Automation was set up in 1992 to focus on meeting the needs of the PCBA and semi-conductor industries. Their standard machines include fully automatic PCBA in-line routers and standalone routers, odd form component pick and place machines, Flex-circuit depanelizing machines. They have a fully automatic ultra-violet (UV) curing system, automatic oven loader and robotic wafer loader.
SCP Global Technologies, Inc. has been an industry leader in surface preparation equipment for over 25 years. SCP Global Technologies provides innovative surface preparation technology to the semiconductor industry. EDB Investments and US company Semx Corporation Inc, set up Singapore's first wafer reclaim company, International Semiconductor Products Pte Ltd, in 1996.
Screensp is known for Media Technology / Prepress, Semiconductors, PCB Manufacturing equipments and services in Singapore and the region.
US-based broadband semiconductor manufacturer Broadcom Corp. has opened its Asian headquarters and regional design center in Singapore in 1999. The company will design silicon chips for use in broadband cable and Internet communications equipment like cable modems, high-speed office networks, direct broadcast satellite and digital subscriber line (xDSL) equipment.
Cadence is the largest supplier of electronic design technologies, methodology services, and design services. Cadence solutions are used to accelerate and manage the design of semiconductors, computer systems, networking and telecommunications equipment, consumer electronics, and a variety of other electronics-based products. With approximately 5,000 employees and 2002 revenues of approximately US$1.3 billion, Cadence has sales offices, design centers, and research facilities around the world.
Photomasks are a critical enabling technology used in the production of semiconductor chips. With chip designs becoming more complex, higher performing and cost-effective through constant chip miniaturisation, photomasks are increasingly important. Dupont has located a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility for photomasks in Singapore.
MOSIS, founded in 1981 and originally funded by DARPA, has moved into commercial, research and consumer markets. It helps prototyping process. Once prototyping is complete and the design is ready for dedicated fabrication, the customer goes directly to the foundry. The parts, already fabricated and tested in the prototyping stage, are now ready for full production. This streamlined development saves resources and time, accelerating the product's time to market.
Paragon IC Solutions is one of the fastest growing EDA providers in the Analog and RF IC Industry. Paragon provides today's most advanced suite of CAD tools to support Analog/Mixed Signal/RF IC Design, in addition to providing Foundry Design Kits and unparalleled support for tool use and other design activities. Paragon's integrated product line includes: Front-end Schematic Editor (SE), Physical Design Tool (PDT), Verification (VERI), Parasitic Extraction (PE) and Signal Integrity Analysis.
Using Paragon's design products improves circuit performance, reduces development and acquisition costs, increases designer productivity, and helps reduce the number of silicon iterations for custom IC design. The Paragon tools have been proven worldwide on both UNIX and Linux platforms.
Toppan Printing Co., Ltd. has developed a radio frequency identification (RFID) system. Toppan Printing expects to start product sales in April 2004 [15, Oct 2003 press release].
Toppan Electronics Co., (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. is a subsidiary wholly owned by Toppan Printing. The company has developed an original RFID chip, Tesstar (trademark pending), and peripheral devices, including tags and reader/writers, through the collaboration with two Singapore research institutes Institute of Microelectronics and Institute for Infocomm Research.
The newly developed Tesstar features read/write memory and anti-collision functions, in addition to using the frequency range of 2.45 GHz, enabling several variations to meet users' needs. Tesstar also features full CMOS specification for superior productivity. In addition, TES provides peripheral systems, such as reader/writers, connectable to existing systems at the same time.
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is the second largest supplier of Microsoft Windows-compatible processors (AMD Athlon & Duron) and also the supplier for network/communication chip for the personal and network computation and the communications markets. AMD Singapore possesses manufacturing, design and engineering capabilities, employing around 1,300 people.
Fujitsu companies in Singapore comprises of: Fujitsu Asia Pte Ltd, Fujitsu Microelectronics Asia Pte Ltd, Fujitsu PC Asia Pacific Pte Ltd, Fujitsu Components Asia Pte Ltd, Fujitsu General Asia Pte Ltd, Fujitsu Quantum Devices Singapore Pte Ltd, Fujitsu Devices Singapore Pte Ltd, Fujitsu Ten (Singapore) Pte Ltd and PFU Technology Singapore Pte Ltd.
Fujitsu Microelectronics Asia Pte Ltd was established to provide support, sales and marketing of microelectronics products to the entire Asia Pacific region in 1986. Since then Fujitsu Microelectronics Asia has fast become one of Asia's major players in the Microelectronics and Flat Panel Display (TFT-LCD) industries, by focusing on the specific needs of this demanding market.
IBM Microelectronics develops, manufactures and markets state-of-the-art semiconductor and interconnect technologies, products and services. IBM Microelectronics activities are focused in three major areas: custom application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) chips, PowerPC-based standard chip products, and high-tech foundry services. Its superior integrated solutions can be found in many of the world's best-known electronic brands.
IBM is a recognized innovator in the chip industry, being first with advances like more power-efficient copper wiring in place of aluminum, faster silicon-on-insulator (SOI) and silicon germanium transistors, and improved low-k dielectric insulation between chip wires. These and other innovations have contributed to IBM's standing as the number one U.S. patent holder for 10 consecutive years.
Infineon Technologies AG, Munich, Germany, offers semiconductor and system solutions for the automotive and industrial sectors, for applications in the wired communications markets, secure mobile solutions as well as memory products. With a global presence, Infineon operates in the Asia-Pacific region from Singapore. In the fiscal year 2002, the company achieved sales of Euro 5.21 billion with about 30,400 employees worldwide.
Lucent Technologies Asia/Pacific is wholly owned by Lucent Technologies of the USA. Agere Systems, formerly known as the Microelectronics Group of Lucent Technologies is also having its presence in Singapore
Marvell is a technology leader in the development of broadband mixed-signal and digital signal processing technology solutions. Marvell is comprised of Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (MTGL) and its subsidiaries Marvell Semiconductor Inc. (MSI), Marvell Asia Pte Ltd. (MAPL) and Marvell Japan K.K. (MJKK). MAPL is headquartered in Singapore and is responsible for Marvell's production and distribution operations.
The Matsushita Group of companies, operating under the brand names of National and Panasonic in Asia, is incorporated in Singapore in 1978 as a local company of global giant,. Matsushita Semiconductor Singapore Pte Ltd brings a total commitment to the manufacturing and development of Panasonic semiconductors for consumer and industrial applications.
Matsushita-Denshi is known for its Audio & Visual Equipment & Supplies, LED/LCD, Television, Parts & Supplies, Fluorescent Lamps, Parts & Accessories.
Micron is one of the world's leading providers of advanced semiconductor solutions. Micron’s DRAM and Flash components are used in today’s most advanced computing, networking, and communications products, including computers, workstations, servers, cell phones, wireless devices, digital cameras, and gaming systems. Micron also provides CMOS image sensor solutions to the handset camera, digital still camera, and PC video camera markets.
Monolithic System Technology, Inc., ("MoSys") founded in September 1991 develops, licenses and markets innovative memory technology for semiconductors. MoSys provides its patented 1T-SRAM® technology as licensable intellectual property (IP) to designers who want to efficiently embed large memories in their System-on-Chip (SoC) designs.
MoSys' patented 1T-SRAM technology offers a combination of high density, low power consumption, high speed and low cost unmatched by other memory technologies. The single transistor bit cell used in 1T-SRAM technology results in the technology achieving much higher density than traditional four or six transistor SRAMs, while the innovative 1T-SRAM architecture allows the use of standard logic manufacturing processes without requiring any process changes. 1T-SRAM technology also offers the familiar, refresh-free interface and high performance for random address access cycles associated with traditional SRAMs. In addition, this technology can reduce operating power consumption by a factor of four compared with traditional SRAM technology, making it an ideal technology for embedding large memories in SoC designs. MoSys has more than 40 patented memory designs and has shipped more than 35 million chips.
National Semiconductor, established in 1968 is a pioneer in the semiconductor industry in the area of semiconductor assembly and testing in Singapore. It has a world class manufacturing facility with highly automated production lines and computer integrated manufacturing systems.
NEC Semiconductors Singapore Pte Ltd is a subsidiary of NEC Electronics Corporation in Japan. Their major products are namely Microcomputer, Memory Modules and DRAM which are marketed to both local and overseas customers. In 2003, they have Commenced manufacture of 512M BIT DRAM production
Texas Instruments Singapore established in 1968, was the first semiconductor company to take advantage of the Singapore government's industrialization program. Its business activities in Singapore are focused on semiconductors and products produced are used in a variety of electronic equipment including personal computers, disk drives, telecommunications equipment and consumer products.
For electronic product today, the heart of its systems is a printed circuit board. The board itself consists of a network of copper wires that are custom made for each particular application. Components, such as microchips, capacitors, resistors and inductors, are later soldered onto to the board before the PCB is fully functional and ready to be used in the desired application.
Additive Circuits is a multi-layer PCB manufacturer. Established in 1986 Additive Circuits started as a double-sided PCB manufacturer. Now the company has upgraded into a multi-layers PCB manufacturer serving the Asian Pacific region.
Caltron Components (S) Pte. Ltd. specializes in electronics, electro-mechanical components, sub-systems and printed circuit boards.
Central-Midori is known for Flexible Printed Circuits (Screen Printed), Membrane Switches, and Graphic Overlays / Nameplates.
Gul Technologies(S) Ltd manufactures printed circuit boards and advance interconnect substrates. Gultech provides PCB solution for many customers in varied industries. These include the automotive, medical, telecomunications, IT and instrumentation industries. Gultech provides boards that remain safe and reliable under testing environmental and stress condition. Gultech has the necessary quality management systems to produce PCBs for the medical field.
Linear Technology Corporation designs, manufactures and markets a broad line of high-performance standard linear integrated circuits using silicon gate CMOS, BiCMOS and Complementary Bipolar wafer fabrication process technologies. It has manufacturing and test facilities in Singapore.
MTS Technology supplies testing components for semi-conductor industries including contact probes, handler contacts, magnetizers, and diamond dies.
Qmax manufactures PCB tester, in-circuit functional tester, production tester and other circuit board testing equipment. Proving total test solutions based on the needs of the industry trends at the right time has made Qmax one of the world's leading PCB test companies. Having carved a niche position in the industry, Qmax is actively involved in its pursuit of designing and developing test equipment for semi-con industry and board functional testers.
Their first product from Proteq, SuperCat, an emulator based Automatic Test Equipment for testing IBM PCs won the Singapore Economic Development Board's grant under product development. The next design the BoardWizard, a general purpose In-Circuit Functional Tester was a grand commercial success.
Qmax Test Equipments Pvt. Ltd., Chennai in India was formed as a 100 % EOU in 1993 with focus on R&D, Product Development and Manufacturing Facilities.
STATS is a leading semiconductor test and assembly service provider to fabless companies, integrated device manufacturers and wafer foundries. With its principal operations in Singapore and global operations in the US, UK, Japan, China and Taiwan, STATS offers full back-end turnkey solutions to customers worldwide. STATS' expertise is in testing mixed-signal semiconductors, which are extensively used in fast growing communications applications such as data networking, broadband and mobile communications. STATS also offers advanced assembly services and has developed a wide array of traditional and advanced leadframe and laminate based products, including various ball grid array packages.
Established in 1995 as a test house, STATS now generates a significant part of its revenue from packaging.
State-of-the-art sub-micron wafer fabrication facilities typically require very stringent infrastructural requirements, such as low ambient vibration, ultra-clean air, and a stable supply of electricity and water. The Republic hosts four wafer fab parks spread over 260 hectares. The parks are in:
The clustering of wafer fabrication facilities into "wafer fabrication parks" allows the wafer fabrication plants to benefit from the advantages of special and dedicated infrastructural support and services.
Competitive total landed cost is an important consideration for the industry. Besides transparent government systems, good physical and business infrastructure, and access to trained manpower, the availability and proximity of good supporting industries are key in facilitating the success of the semiconductor industry. Over the years, Singapore has built up a large base of over 160 local and multinational companies offering equipment, parts, components, materials, gases, chemicals and technical services for semiconductor manufacturing operations.
Dataquest projected that the worldwide semiconductor sector would grow at a CAGR of 13.6% over 1999-2004 to reach US$ 320 billion. With the capabilities and infrastructure that Singapore has built up, Singapore will also ride the growth wave in tandem with or even surpass the worldwide trend. More new plants are expected to sprout and existing ones ramped up. The semiconductor industry will continue to be a key pillar in Singapore's electronics industry.
Temasek Holdings, the investment arm of the Singapore government, is trying to divest itself of Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Ltd. and its sister company, ST Assembly and Test Services, thereby slowly moving out of the wafer production business [August 2002].
Temasek, which works with Singapore's Economic Development Board, is helping the government in its search for new technology growth markets and for a way to maintain Singapore's status as a telecommunications and routing hub. With over capacity plaguing the global semiconductor industry, Temasek is now looking for new opportunities in telecom and biotechnology.
However, electronics "is still considered a cash cow, employing a sizable work force" in Singapore. Chartered's six wafer fabs employ about 3500 workers, and rely on a cluster of businesses including power, chemical and equipment suppliers to support the chip operations.
Despite the industry's global woes and move towards diversification, the island state's faith that its economic future is etched in silicon remains unshaken. And now, with the country in the midst of a painful recession and the electronics industry suffering severely from the global downturn, chipmakers may not be profitable in the near term or the long. In spite of this, Government agencies are making it easier for companies to build chip plants.
Singapore has more than 40 multinational and indigenous semiconductor companies spanning the entire semiconductor value chain. Electronics continues to be an important part of the Singapore economy representing 42% of the total manufacturing output of S$144 billion in 2002. Singapore’s Economic and Development Board (EDB) has outlined a blueprint Industry 21 (I21) 10-year plan to create a knowledge-based economy which will continue to attract foreign companies as it builds up local talent and technologies.
One concrete example of this commitment is EDB’s plan to develop the fourth wafer fab park in Singapore. EDB is now working closely with other government agencies, in particular JTC Corporation, to develop a fourth wafer fab park.
Singapore's government, perhaps the world's most aggressive public-sector investor in chip production, has invested in several wafer fabs, including an initial 90% stake in Chartered Semiconductor. The EDB has also invested in a joint venture with Philips and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.
The government also announced that it planned to build a new facility for the production of high-grade purified water, an important ingredient in the chip making process. The government also said it would be developing more programs to train people in the skills required by the semiconductor industry.
Its local champion, Chartered Semiconductor, was profitable last year but lost money for several years before that and will likely be back in the red this year. And the business climate is tougher than ever now.
Singapore has about 30 IC design houses employing some 800 professionals. EDB is keen to increase the IC design activity in Singapore as it is an integral part of Singapore’s semiconductor industry.
To enhance the support for the semiconductor industry, the Government also has various programmes to prepare manpower and infrastructure to cater to the industry’s needs. One example is the Specialist Manpower Programme managed by the EDB, in collaboration with institutes of higher learning and other research institutes. These manpower training programmes will produce 2,200 specialists in the semiconductor cluster over the next 3 years.
Other initiatives include the Postgraduate Manpower Programme and Research and Training Programme, to train postgraduate manpower and provide on-the-job training in areas such as wafer fabrication.
Getting the country to show a profit from its chipmaking commitment, though, won't be easy.
New initiatives such as ICommunity between government and the private sector will further strengthen infrastructure to support the semiconductor industry. ICommunity gives IC design innovators and entrepreneurs more than a chance to compete in this growth industry, through collaboration with strategic partners.
ICommunity is a knowledge and business community where anyone and everyone within or related to the IC Design industry from the private and public sectors and institutions of higher learning, will be able to interact, collaborate and explore business opportunities. It will also seek to engage the involvement of other interested parties from the semiconductor industry, venture capital companies, international trading houses and training institutions.
These parties will come together through activities such as IC Design industry forums, seminars and workshops to exchange ideas, network and even form alliances and partnerships. Over the next 2 years, ICommunity aims to reach out to some 150 companies, including start-up enterprises.
Given the significant level of private sector participation, ICommunity is well placed to provide a comprehensive support environment covering the whole value cluster of IC design, applications development, market knowledge, software support, new enterprise formation and VC or seed funding.
Established in 1993, SEMI Singapore Pte. Ltd. supports over 40 SEMI corporate members and over 250 SEMI member subsidiary offices with all of SEMI’s worldwide services, including exhibitions, technical programs, standards, market statistics and government relations.
Held since 1993, SEMICON exposition in Singapore has grown an average of 25% a year in booth numbers, primarily focused on Test, Assembly and Packaging. SEMICON Singapore 2004 is expected to have 1000 booths, connection to the semiconductor industry in Southeast Asia. Along with the exposition, SEMICON Singapore features an array of programs that focus on key technical and business topics within the industry. Presentations and discussions on key ‘hot topics’, solutions to industry issues, marketing ideas and trends are all integrated in this event.
To address the 11 current and announced fabs in Singapore, plus three announced in Malaysia, SEMI Singapore is currently evaluating ways to incorporate more offerings from the front-end (wafer processing) segment into the show. SEMI will continue to sponsor technical programs and courses to provide a platform of international communication on technology trends and practices.
SEMI Singapore enjoys a good working relationship with the national governments and associations of our region. SEMICON has already been designated an Approved International Fair (AIF) by the Singapore Trade and Development Board. The Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) also supports SEMI’s activities.
In the Philippines, SEMI maintains mutual cooperation with the Semiconductor Electronics Industries in the Philippines Inc. (SEIPI), representing semiconductor and electronics manufacturers in that country. In Malaysia, SEMI has kept in close contact with local semiconductor fab activity.
Chip foundries recognize that in the system-on-a-chip world, they need good EDA tool and IP support. But before that transition is made, all of the companies will need to link their fabrication technology more closely to EDA vendors' tools and IP providers' support. System chips are quite commonly done at the 0.35 micron level, and system-level integration could become even more prevalent in next-generation geometries of a quarter micron and below. EDA vendors are developing libraries for the other foundries' fabrication technology as well.
Signaling the beginning of a shift to very dense IC geometries, alliances are being formed to deliver design libraries for advanced semiconductor technologies at pure-play IC foundries. While widespread adoption of 90-nanometer processes is not anticipated until 2004, design work using these processes is now in progress by some early adopters, and those chips have start to appear.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, for example, has new classes of libraries for three generations of process technology - 0.15micron, 0.13micron, and 90-nanometer - and is widening the development, distribution, and support channel for these libraries to multiple third-party library developers and EDA partners. TSMC has new licensing deals with library vendors Artisan Components and Virage Logic, as well as EDA vendors Cadence, Synopsys, and Magma.
IBM announced an alliance with Chartered Semiconductor of Singapore to give customers an additional source of manufacturing capacity for its advanced processes, and this too will involve a broadening of library support.
Formerly, an ASIC vendor provided tools, libraries, product engineering, and foundry services to the customer. But customers objected to the fact that once they were locked into an ASIC vendor's technology, it was difficult to switch foundries and achieve the cost benefits that can accrue as a product matures. Foundries, library vendors, and EDA vendors operate as part of a design supply chain or "ecosystem".
In the future, instead of building their own fabs, IDMs will increasingly look to manufacture their chips at pure-play foundries. For cost reasons, they will not want to be tied to any specific foundry, so they will start to contract with library developers to create their own proprietary libraries that are portable among multiple foundries.
So it always comes back to EDA tools and expertise. Without leadership capabilities for designing these high-complexity chips, the value of leading-edge fabs and process technologies is limited.
A new generation of chips produced with nano-packaging in the wafer fabrication stage, will be ready for installation onto systems boards. It is a radical departure from the current practice in which the foundry sends the wafers to other plants, sometimes to other parts of the world, for back-end packaging. With existing production technologies, wafers as big as 300mm in diameter can be continuously processed to the point where they are ready to be diced into individual packaged ICs, tested, and mounted on systems boards.
Known as nano-wafer-level packaging (nano-WLP), this groundbreaking research project is an international collaboration among the National University of Singapore, the Institute of Microelectronics, Singapore, and the Georgia Institute of Technology, United States. The multidisciplinary team is made up of 50 researchers and postgraduate students from the three collaborating institutions.
A follow-up programme is expected to bring these connections to true nanoscale via nanotubes, nanowires and single-crystal nanowire connections. The challenge can be seen in terms of the size of the interconnections, which can be reduced from the current 300µm to 30µm in the first phase, 6-8µm in the second phase, and 50-100nm in the follow-up research.
Nano-WLP pushes technology to new levels with the number of connections and the bandwidth it provides to the end-product system. It has come a long way from the first chunky-chip packaging of the 1960s. Knowledge of material processes and properties at the nanoscale will inevitably bring about unprecedented advances in electrical, mechanical, environmental and thermal characteristics. These, in turn, will result in IC and systems packaging that make optimal utilisation of the chip's intrinsic computational speed.
Nanoscale research is timely in view of the semiconductor industry's race towards chips with features less than 100 nanometres in at least two dimensions at the back-end wiring level. Next comes demonstration of the viability of this new wafer-level manufacturing concept that can potentially reduce the number of process operations per chip by more than three orders of magnitude when compared to the current sequential wire-bonding process for attaching packaging ICs.
Time and cost savings in manufacturing are just two examples of the many possible benefits arising from this programme. Successful proof of concept will lead to a new generation of ever smaller products with unlimited connections between the devices and the rest of the system, offering higher performance and newfound applications.
From a manufacturing perspective, the research will lead to the development of the smallest IC package to date, ushering in a new generation of truly chip-size packages, both using nanoscale interconnection and packaging technologies. Because both are done at the wafer level in the wafer foundry in one set of parallel steps, costs for packaging, electrical testing, and burn-in-reliability testing will be significantly reduced. The short nano-interconnection will also greatly enhance electrical performance. In addition, the potential exists for greater savings by eliminating the need for underfilling around solder joints, a widespread practice today.
After production, the WLP must be evaluated. Individual IC-level test and burn-in are expensive processes. One objective of the project is thus to develop less costly new paradigms that will provide faster turnaround. The team has to contend with such issues as the selection of appropriate materials, the integration of different components in the test system (for example, test processors and test fixtures), as well as fabrication methods for that test system.
Finally, an integrated wafer-level test-bed prototype to demonstrate the reliability of the 100µm-pitch wafer-level-packaged system will have to be built. Provision must also be made to develop a 100µm board in which to assemble the nano-WLP to assess its functionalities fully.
The Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech) has been spearheading research contributing to the development of advanced manufacturing technologies for diverse industries. Formerly known as Gintic Institute of Manufacturing Technology, it has completed more than 600 research projects for 400 companies in the semiconductor, electronics, precision engineering, aerospace, logistics, marine and other sectors.
In working with SIMTech, semiconductor industry partners can capitalise on the state-of-the-art equipment and R&D facilities. Furthermore, SIMTech conducts failure analysis courses and also provides customised training programmes for specific metrology tools.
SIMTech helps semiconductor industry in the following ways:
SIMTech also created capabilities in semiconductor equipment development through in-house research on ultra-precision x-y stage, high speed vision inspection, wavelets-based defects classification and various interferometric measurement capabilities. The features measured can range from micrometres to nanometres. Successful prototypes and applications were developed for a number of multinational wafer fabrication plants.
High speed vision inspection of wafer level features
Implementing a high speed inspection system developed by SIMTech has helped a major multinational wafer device manufacturer win repeat orders. The system is based on a generic platform that can handle inspection work for various families of products without hardware reconfiguration. It is an alternative method to detect process deviation with immediate feedback.
3D profile verification: Comprising three modules, the software is made up of the real-time inspection module, teaching module and the monitoring and diagnostic module, with an option for camera calibration.
Decoupled X-Y positioning system for high precision applications
SIMTech developed a prototype positioning system that overcomes significant drawbacks of conventional ones. It is being employed in high-performance wafer bump inspection in a US multinational corporation. The system is also useful for PCB and flat panel display inspection, and micro-arraying for the biomedical industry. Its other potential applications include metrology, machining operations and high-resolution imaging.
SIMTech’s technology capabilities for the semiconductor industry span across the value chain from front-end to back-end.
As for process flow optimisation and wafer and packaged components, SIMTech has developed in-house planning and scheduling modules which offer online and near real-time features.
Next generation industrial controller for semiconductor equipment
Better control, faster response and higher safety in clean room environments of the semiconductor industry are among the benefits that will be delivered by a next generation industrial controller known as SmartBox.
Developed by SIMTech and Tata Consultancy Services, Asia’s largest global software and services consulting organisation, this flexible, web-based industrial controller works seamlessly on vendor-independent hardware. Its attractiveness lies in the open architecture adopted in its development. SmartBox is well suited to run complex, mission-critical embedded applications in existing or new process equipment. It enables applications to be developed, controlled and diagnosed remotely over the Internet, using a personal digital assistant and other web-based devices.
The government-run Institute of Microelectronics is in charge of promoting R&D and training workers to make it easier for companies to produce chips in Singapore. The IME is working with researchers from the National University of Singapore as well as U.S. universities to develop more advanced technologies for chipmaking.
After five months of research and development efforts, the first three fully integrated wafers of optical devices finally rolled out in March 2002. The wafers were delivered to industrial partner, Photonics Concepts, for optical packaging and testing.
Unique design solutions developed by this local start-up will enable the integration of many optical devices on a single wafer. These solutions will drive down costs while significantly improving on performance.
The World's leading IC foundries are based in Asia. The latest serious entry to the field is the Worldwide Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp (WSMC), the third of Taiwan's pure-play foundries. They have hit a few bumps during the downturn in the semiconductor business, but now they are coming back.
Within a period of two decades, firms in Korea and Taiwan, and to a lesser extent in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand have moved this region to a leading position in semiconductor industry. The large nationally-owned firms take the lead in Korea. Expanding SMEs in Taiwan and foreign-owned subsidiaries in Singapore played a major role in creating silicon countries.
State support has also worked well in building IC industries in other parts of Asia. In Asia, public-sector has worked well in creating domestic chip industries.
Taiwan's TSMC and UMC were both government-funded startups that have grown into the world's top foundries. Power outages due to recent Taiwan earthquake temporarily curtailed production of key semiconductors. Customers of foundries and wafer fabs may want a more diversified source and more offshore expansion by Taiwanese companies are expected. Further, Taiwan’s industry has outgrown its infrastructure.
Building on the nation's large IC assembly & test base, the Malay government has jumped on the fab investment bandwagon. Though past Malay efforts have fizzled out, two foundry projects, bankrolled by the state and buoyed by the rapid growth of the foundry business, are still on track to start operations next year.
The first venture, the First Silicon foundry, has figuratively risen from the ashes of the ill-fated InterConnect fab project, in Malaysia's Sarawak State. First Silicon's technology partner in the $1 billion project, Japan's Sharp Corp, will transfer its 0.25 micron process technology, followed by 0.18 micron. Total capacity will be 30,000 eight-inch wafers per month. Funding comes from the Sarawak state and Malaysian-government guaranteed loans from a group of German banks.
According to First Silicon, the agreement with Sharp says a significant portion of the foundry's production will be absorbed by the Japanese manufacturer. First Silicon is being built in the Sama Jaya Free Industrial Zone. M+W Zander built First Silicon on InterConnect's abandoned site.
Malaysia's other foundry project, Wafer Technology Sdn Bhd, has California-based LSI Logic as a technology partner. Located in northern Malaysia's Kulim High-Tech Industrial Park, the project's cost is $1.2 billion, provided by the federal government of Malaysia.
Malaysia has seen a series of wafer fab projects dissolve for various reasons. Taiwan's Hualon Group, InterConnect Technology, VLSI Technology and Atmel were all involved in failed Malaysian fab projects at one time or another.
Wafer Tech will pay $120 million to license LSI's 0.25 and 0.18 micron process technology. Eventually, the production from the US will be transferred to Malaysia, since Wafer Tech is copying LSI's tool set and process technology. LSI has taken an undisclosed stake in Wafer Tech for guaranteed capacity.
The tax breaks for high-tech projects are competitive with neighboring Singapore. For strategic projects, pioneer status may be granted, allowing, 100% corporate tax exemption for 10 years. In addition, the Sarawak state offers land rates 30%-40% cheaper than elsewhere in Malaysia, and utilities are the cheapest in the country. There is plenty of land and water, no danger of earthquakes and a local quality of life that is uncongested, clean and safe.
Malaysia has labor, but they don't have the skilled labor to run a commercial wafer fab yet. The aim of the foundry project is to attract thousands of overseas Malaysian engineers back home. Singapore is a potential source of employees, as Malaysians make up nearly 40% of Singapore's labor base today.
There are now as many as 19 fabs either under construction, operational or planned in China. China has initiated a program to replicate Taiwan's success in microelectronics "on a much larger scale, drawing heavily on Taiwanese and other foreign capital, management and technology," [China's Tenth Five-Year Plan for Information Technology]
China is successfully attracting investment through its 17 percent value-added tax (VAT) on imported semiconductors (as opposed to a 3 percent VAT on those made in China). The 14 percent surcharge on foreign chips entering China is enough to completely skew the balance and force those companies operating in China to seek indigenous sources of supplies.
China has created a tax-free environment for semiconductor plants. It has created very powerful financial incentives to draw in talent from abroad and it has all the capital and technology needed to put into place a vibrant semiconductor industry.
Shanghai's chip output accounts for at least 60 per cent of the country's total. Booming integrated circuits (IC) industry around the city, especially in the Zhangjiang High-tech Park, has helped the city "temporarily" claim the throne of the China's semi-conductor industry.
The park currently boasts more than 60 enterprises centred on IC business including manufacturing, research and development (R&D), sealing, packing and testing. Most of them are overseas-funded companies or joint ventures, according to park officials.
The city's largest chip developer - Semi-conductor Manufacturing International Corporation (Shanghai) - has invested US$1.47 billion since last year to build three production lines in the park and will produce around 37,000 chips per month by the end of this year.
The Grace Semi-conductor Manufacturing Corporation, another chip giant, is also building its chip manufacturing base in the park using investment totalling US$1.63 billion. It is expected to start production at the end of this year.
Zhangjiang High-Tech Park is also targeting becoming an advanced micro-electronics research centre within 10 years. The park has taken action to attract more overseas technicians to join the IC industry there, according to the government sources.
SMIC is China's most advanced foundry that provides IC wafer fabrication at 0.35-micron, 0.25-micron, 0.18-micron technologies as well as 0.13-micron copper backend services. Established in April 2000, SMIC is a Cayman Islands company with three 8-inch fabs in volume production in Shanghai and three 12-inch fabs under construction in Beijing.
In May 2003, SMIC's Fab 1 was named "Top Fab of the Year 2003" by Semiconductor International magazine. In addition to IC manufacturing, SMIC provides customers with a full range of services that includes design services, mask manufacturing and testing. As a result of its dedication towards providing high quality services and protecting the environment, the foundry's three fabs in Shanghai have obtained ISO9001 and ISO14001 certifications.
Paragon IC Solutions announced the signing of an exclusive distribution agreement with MOSIS to provide comprehensive sales and technical support for MOSIS services in Singapore and Malaysia [May 7, 2003].
The MOSIS services will be represented and distributed by Paragon IC Solutions Singapore operations, a subsidiary of Paragon IC Solutions. MOSIS is a low-cost prototyping and small-volume production service for VLSI circuit development. Since 1981, MOSIS has fabricated more than 50,000 circuit designs for commercial firms, government agencies, and research and educational institutions around the world.
The decision by UMC and TSMC to put fabs in Singapore now is also largely due to the attractive assistance package they received from the Singapore government.
Siliconware Precision Industries Co., Ltd. and Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc. are turning to Singapore for expansion, following the lead of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) and United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC).
Siliconware, a UMC partner, may make its move to Singapore by acquiring factories there or setting up its own plants.
U.K. epitaxial wafer supplier IQE plans to locate its Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore. IQE bills itself as the world's largest outsource manufacturer of epitaxial wafers. It offers a range of materials based on metal-organic vapor-phase epitaxy and molecular-beam epitaxy crystal growth platforms.
Agilent Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Hewlett-Packard Company, opened the Singapore Microelectronics Modeling Center, a world-class high-frequency electronic modeling facility in December 1999. The center, opened by Agilent's electronic design automation (EDA) product generation group, is one of the first EDA vendor facilities dedicated to providing accurate electronic device models for speeding wireless product development.
Agilent has selected Singapore as the location for this modeling center because it sees potential for tremendous growth in design automation business in Asia and believes Singapore is going to become an important gateway to advanced technology development throughout all of Asia.
Singapore Microelectronics Modeling Center will focus on developing technologies for fast and extremely accurate EDA device model generation. They are also working to create the next generation high-frequency device/integrated circuit (IC) libraries for the wireless design industry, semi-conductor foundries and component manufacturers. The center will also develop statistical device models for the accurate prediction and optimization of manufacturing yields.
ST Assembly Test Services Ltd. has been selected by Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), a leading foundry in China, to provide high-end test solutions for its growing mixed signal business (Sept. 3, 2003).
Under the agreement, STATS will offer wafer probe services and a range of sophisticated test platforms including Teradyne Catalyst, Teradyne J750 and Agilent 93K to support SMIC's mixed signal test capacity. STATS will also provide SMIC with test engineering support from its manufacturing facility in Pudong, Shanghai.
STATS' manufacturing plant in Shanghai will be ready by the end of October 2003. Conveniently located in Zhangjiang High Tech Park in Pudong, the plant will offer wafer probe and final test for mixed signal and high-end digital devices to the indigenous Chinese foundries and design houses.
Renesas, who ranks number one in Japan and among the top three semiconductor companies in the world is set up its home in Singapore (2 October 2003). This milestone also marks the beginning of a new relationship between Singapore and two long-term partners - Hitachi and Mitsubishi Electric.
The decision by UMC and Infineon, two leading global semiconductor companies, to make this huge investments in Singapore during an economic downturn shows their belief in the long-term growth prospects of the semiconductor industry.
With a fixed asset investment of about S$6 billion, this is the single largest manufacturing project in Singapore’s history. When fully implemented in a few years’ time, the facility will employ close to 1,800 people. Skilled workers will account for more than 60 per cent, of which more than 90 per cent will be professionals and technicians.
Asyst is the first semiconductor equipment company to make strong commitment to region by transitioning entire North American Production to Singapore in partnership with Solectron [March 17, 2003 ].
Asyst Technologies, Inc. and Solectron Corporation unveiled a new, state-of-the-art clean room that represents the largest commitment ever to the production of semiconductor manufacturing equipment in Singapore. With 2002 sales in excess of (USD) $200 million, Asyst is expected to generate more than (USD) $100 million worth of production in the facility’s first year of operation. Shinei International, a Singapore-based subsidiary of Solectron, established the 16,000-square-foot, class-10,000 and class-1,000 clean-room facility on an existing site at 31 Joo Koon Circle, Jurong Town, Singapore.
Motorola's intention to spin off its semiconductor division into a separate business entity on top of the resignation of its top executive has caused jitters in the company's Singapore's IC design center (October 10, 2003). The center supports the design of integrated circuits and embedded systems for wireless communications ranging from smart phones to PDAs. Among its achievements was the development of the Dragonball MX1 applications processor that is embedded with Bluetooth technology.
Despite such assurances and even though Motorola has been around Singapore for the past 30 years and has close to 2100 people on its payroll here, some express concern that the scaling down of Motorola's semiconductor operations may inhibit future growth efforts as well.
Singapore Semiconductor industry now accounts for 28% of the electronics industry output, contributing $17 billion of manufacturing output in 2002. The semiconductor sector employs about 30 000 people here. The semiconductor industry is considered a strategic industry due to its significant spin-offs and strong linkages to other industries such as chemicals, wafer production and equipment manufacturing.
Singapore's government has the widest range of programs to support development of targeted industries such as semiconductors, communications, displays, and data storage businesses. Programs include both foreign and domestic incentives for locally conducted R&D, with infrastructure and human resource development programs to support high-end manufacturing. The strategy is to create high-value-added activities, develop R&D capabilities, and train skilled workers.
Despite the industry's global woes and move towards diversification, the island state's faith that its economic future is etched in silicon remains unshaken.
Chartered expects a net loss of US$40 million to $48 million in 2003. Compared to other industry, wafer fabrication industry is not doing well. Like disk drive and PCB industry, rising costs and competition from neighbouring countries such as Malaysia and Thailand leads to movement of wafer fabrication industry also. But to show a profit from its chip industry, won't be easy.
AMD: Advanced Micro Devices
APC: Advanced Process Control
CSMC-Tech: CSMC Technologies Corporation, China
EDB: Singapore's Economic and Development Board
EMS: Electronics Manufacturing Services
I2R: Institute for Infocomm Research
IC: Integrated Circuit
IDMs: Integrated Device Manufacturers
IME: Institute of Microelectronics
IMEC: Interuniversities Microelectronics Center
IP: intellectual property
MEMS: micro-electromechanical systems
OEMs: Original Equipment Manufacturers
PCB: Printed circuit board
SEIPI: Semiconductor Electronics Industries in the Philippines Inc.
SiGe: Silicon Germanium
SIMTech: Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology
SMIC: Semi-conductor Manufacturing International Corporation
SSMC: Systems on Silicon Manufacturing Co
STATS: ST Assembly Test Services Ltd, Singapore
TSMC: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.
UMC: United Microelectronics Corp.
UST: Unitive Semiconductor Taiwan Corp
WLP: Wafer-level packaging
WSMC: Worldwide Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp
WSMC: Worldwide Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp