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Micron breaks ground on new flash memory fabrication plant in Singapore

Singapore

SEMICONDUCTOR giant Micron Technology on Wednesday broke ground in the north of Singapore to add new cleanroom space to meet future manufacturing requirements for its 3D NAND flash memory products.

Micron did not disclose the size of the investment here except to say that the new facility will be a "multi-billion dollar investment". It will be equipped over the next five years or more, and add 1,000 new jobs here.

As part of its agreement with the Economic Development Board, Micron will also broaden its research and development (R&D) capabilities in Singapore. The 1,000 new roles that Micron is adding will comprise mainly engineers and technicians related to R&D and manufacturing.

Singapore's Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran, who attended the groundbreaking ceremony, said: "Since 1998, Micron has been a key player in our electronics sector. I am delighted that Micron has decided to take another step to further expand and anchor its activities in Singapore."

Sanjay Mehrotra, president and chief executive of Micron Technology, told the gathering: "Over the past 20 years, Micron has invested more than US$15 billion in Singapore. The 3D NAND flash we create here is at the leading edge of all flash today - and it is a highly complex semiconductor to build. Our flash has 64 layers of data cells and is manufactured through many, many precision process steps.

"The cleanroom we are launching today... will allow us to continue to advance our technology to even more intricate designs."

Construction of the new facility is expected to be completed in mid-2019, with initial wafer output expected in the fourth quarter of 2019.

The facility gives Micron space to continue technology transitions for its existing 3D NAND wafer capacity. No new wafer capacity is planned at this time, Micron said.

Asked if he was concerned about the possibility of a trade war between the US and China, Mr Mehrotra told The Business Times: "Micron's products are very desirable and a key enabler of all the solutions and services that our customers provide to their end consumers. We have large customers in China, who absolutely very much rely on Micron's products to drive their innovation and their future technology and product roadmaps. So for us it's important that the supply chain for our end customers does not get disrupted as a result of this. Of course, we are continuing to watch how this all evolves. But our products are very much in demand by customers all across the globe."

Micron's two wafer fabrication sites in North Coast Drive and Woodlands form its largest manufacturing footprint outside of the US, and already account for a significant majority of Micron's NAND fab capacity.

Micron employs more than 34,000 people in 17 countries. In Singapore, its current headcount is 7,500.