News dalla rete ITA

24 Maggio 2024



KUCHING, Malaysia -- The resource-rich state of Sarawak is aiming for a bigger role in Malaysia's semiconductor industry as a chip design hub by building on past accomplishments through new partnerships with U.K.-based companies, SMD Semiconductor CEO Shariman Jamil told Nikkei Asia. SMD Semiconductor, officially known as Sarawak Microelectronics Design and wholly owned by the state, is located on the island of Borneo. It was established last year to promote and identify key industry players in designing analog and mixed-signal integrated circuits. Malaysia is gaining prominence in the global chip industry as key players make investments. Infineon of Germany put $7 billion into its facility in Kulim, on the Malay Peninsula, and Intel of the U.S. plans to invest $7 billion to make Malaysia its main production base in Asia. Malaysia's history as a chip-manufacturing base dates back half a century, and Sarawak has contributed. "When it comes to semiconductors, I always mentioned that Sarawak has the right background experience and history in semiconductor[s]," Shariman said in an interview. "In the '90s, we were one of the first foundries in Southeast Asia to set up silicon foundries, before Global Foundries and TSMC in Taiwan." Now the state -- perhaps better known globally for its oil, gas and timber riches, and which is currently pivoting to renewables such as hydrogen -- is partnering with British companies to better compete with chip centers in other parts of the country. Earlier this year, SMD Semiconductor signed agreements to foster strategic partnerships with two U.K.-based companies, Riverbeck and Big Innovation Centre, Riverbeck, a specialized chip design company, will collaborate with SMD to develop advanced radio frequency integrated circuit technology for satellite applications. The initiative aims to cater to the global aerospace market, with potential partnerships including Turkish Aerospace Malaysia and British Aerospace. Simultaneously, SMD Semiconductor's partnership with Big Innovation Centre -- a London-based think tank specializing in artificial intelligence, blockchain, digital finance, Web3 and the Metaverse -- focuses on developing a more sustainable approach to semiconductor manufacturing in Sarawak. "The U.K. is paying very serious attention to the semiconductor industry now," Shariman said. "We expect that the outcome would be environmentally responsible practices [to] reduce environmental impact through the semiconductor life cycles." Shariman acknowledged that direct competition with semiconductor centers within the country such as Penang, also in peninsular Malaysia, as well as other parts of Southeast Asia, could be challenging. Sarawak will seek an edge by focusing on chip design services. "The IC (integrated chip) design semiconductor is a high entry barrier business because it requires a big funding and highly skilled talent to drive the business. Otherwise, it will not be sustainable," Shariman said, adding that a key strategy is a partnership with Belgium's Melexis to do design services. A factory is under construction.  (ICE KUALA LUMPUR)

Fonte notizia: 24 maggio 2024, Kuala Lumpur