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Singapore, facing competition, courts new foreign investors

Posted: 27 Jan 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Jonathan Hopfner? Electronics manufacturing? foreign investment? Electronics Development Board? EDB?

Electronics manufacturing continues to drive Singapore's economy despite increased competition for foreign investment from lower-cost destinations such as China and Malaysia, according to recent figures from its Electronics Development Board (EDB).

The agency said in its "Manufacturing 2005 Year in Review" report released Tuesday (Jan. 24) that Singapore attracted about $5.2 billion worth of new fixed-asset investment commitments in the manufacturing sector last year, a $123-million increase over 2004. Manufacturing currently accounts for just under one-third of Singapore's total GDP.

The electronics sector accounted for over half of these new commitments, and will contribute 8,400 of the 16,700 jobs the investments are expected to create, making it "the mainstay of [Singapore's] manufacturing industry," EDB said.

EDB said new semiconductor investments spanned large and small companies as well as wafer fabs and assembly and testing, fueled partially by rising demand for digital content and converged devices.

The agency cited a series of high-profile wins in the sector in 2005, including Micron's decision to expand an existing facility by 40 percent, Schott Electronics' opening of a $50-million wafer-level packaging plant and STMicroelectronics's plan to invest $1.2 billion here over the next two years.

EDB added that it has a "healthy pipeline" of future manufacturing projects to draw on, many in advanced technologies such as industrial biotechnology and alternative energy, which will make the sector "more diversified."

The government is targeting about $5 billion in new manufacturing investments this year and hopes to double total manufacturing output to $185 billion annually by 2018.

- Jonathan Hopfner
EE Times

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