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Singapore aims for cutting-edge technology development

Posted: 09 Jul 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Singapore electronics industry  wafer fab  microelectronics  R&D 

Traditionally electronics has been driven by computing, communications and consumer electronics. Moving forward those will still be major drivers, but I think a lot of companies are seeing that there are new verticals which are emerging. For instance in health care, energy efficiency (some people call it green electronics) and security. At the EDB we have announced that we will be developing some of these new verticals. For green electronics, that will encompass LEDs and electronics around an LED system, a lot of which is linked to analogue design capabilities.

We also see more companies setting up R&D centres in Singapore to focus on things like energy efficiency, like LED driver design. In terms of energy efficiency, just last year Infineon announced they are setting up in Singapore their first application innovation centre in Asia. That specifically will be developing products, both chips and system level solutions, to address the specific needs of the Asian markets. The examples that the Infineon spokesperson gave were things like electric bicycles. It's not so much about taking things that were developed in the West and adapting that, but actually developing products in Asia for Asia. Some of these can be tweaked and sold back to the West. GE has a good example, the portable ultrasound device that was developed for the Chinese market but which has been adapted now for the West. (The GE example is not a Singapore example).

More and more medical device companies are also setting up in Singapore.

Does Singapore see itself as competing with China for investment by technology companies?
Especially within the semiconductor space, competition is global. We don't see any particular country as being our only major competitor. We see China from two angles. In terms of a competitor, yes, to some extent, but that is also how we see a lot of other countries. But we see opportunities in China also. Not just Singapore-based companies doing manufacturing in China, but increasingly Chinese companies are also setting up in Singapore. In the electronics space, you may think it doesn't make sense for a Chinese company to set up manufacturing in Singapore; maybe they might set up R&D in Singapore to tap into the talent pool. But a Chinese company based in Southern China called AAC Acoustics has set up an R&D centre in China and they have also announced that they will set up manufacturing in Singapore. A lot of Chinese companies are starting to think internationally. Many of these companies have been selling to global markets for a long time. A lot of these companies use Singapore as a starting point from which they can grow globally. AAC is one of them.

- Dylan McGrath
EE Times

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