Govt Partners Atmel, VLSI to Build 0.25mm Fabs

The Malaysian government has signed separate deals with Silicon Valley-based semiconductor manufacturers Atmel Corp and VLSI Technology Inc to set up wafer fabrication plants in the country.

Both plants are to be located at the Kulim Hi-Tech Park, in the northern state of Kedah, and scheduled to be operational earliest by third quarter of 1999.

The plants will be the first advanced wafer fabs in the country producing 200mm wafers using 0.25┬Ám technology.

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PC Makers Adopt Build-to-Order to Stay Competitive

By Julian Matthews

Manufacturers are touting the build-to-order model and localization as a means to stay competitive in the cut-throat PC assembly business in Asia.

Dell Computer Corp, Gateway 2000 Inc and Packard Bell-NEC Inc, are leading the way in Malaysia by using flexible configuration and local sourcing of parts to slash inventory and reduce exposure to price dips.

The three companies have benefited since opening manufacturing plants in Penang and Malacca in the last two years.

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”We’re Back to Challenge Intel,” AMD

By Julian Matthews

Advanced Micro Devices Inc (AMD) of the US has embarked on a huge ramp up of its K6 MMX-enhanced microprocessors in a bid to regain lost ground to long-time rival Intel Corp, also of the US.

“We are now back in contention to challenge Intel’s monopoly and are targeting to capture between 20-30% of the microprocessor market this year,” said Gerald Lynch, AMD’s vice president of sales and marketing for the Asia-Pacific and Japan.

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Multinationals Urged to Raise Projects for Multimedia Corridor

By Julian Matthews

Malaysia is calling for leading information technology (IT) companies worldwide to propose pilot projects for four flagship applications identified for its Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) project, dubbed the “Silicon Valley of the East.”

The four applications are electronic government, telemedicine, smart schools and multipurpose smartcards.

“We are telling companies to bid as a consortium as we believe there is not one single company that can provide all the solutions required,” said Multimedia Development Corporation (MDC) executive chairman Othman Yeop Abdullah at a briefing recently.
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Telekom Launches Company Buys in S Africa, Thailand

By Julian Matthews

The country’s largest telecommunications carrier, Telekom Malaysia Bhd, is expanding its reach with a series of investments in foreign ventures.

Telekom Malaysia’s biggest and most prominent foreign venture this year was an agreement to buy a stake in Telkom South Africa Ltd.

The deal was sealed in Cape Town in May with US-based partner SBC Communications Inc, for a joint 30% stake in the South African telecommunication firm worth US$1.261 billion.

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Voice-over-Net Product Shown at CeBIT’97

By Julian Matthews

Local networking company Computer Protocol (M) Sdn Bhd has designed an Internet telephony product that greatly reduces long-distance telephone charges for intra-company communications.

Unveiled at CeBIT ‘97 in Hanover, Germany, in March, the new product called CpIP Voice, enables voice and facsimile communication over existing Internet Protocol (IP) networks.

Computer Protocol managing director M C Yong claims CpIP Voice is the first and only voice-over-Internet product of its kind in the world that complies to the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) H.323 and G.723.1 standards.

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HK Multinationals Unlikely to Switch to Penang

By Julian Matthews

The July 1, 1997 deadline does not seem to have the business community in Malaysia rattled in any way. Manufacturers, government officials and industry analysts are of the consensus that it will still be “business as usual” in Hong Kong.

They say that Hong Kong’s role as a center for sales, marketing and distribution of electronic components and as a springboard into the burgeoning Chinese market will remain despite its return to China.

“We do not anticipate any lacking in ease of business. Hong Kong will maintain its role as an operational and service center, and may even expand this role over time,” said James Chuen, business development director for Solectron Technology Sdn Bhd.

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IT Multinationals Flock to Multimedia Super Corridor

By Julian Matthews

Leading global information technology companies are vying to take part in Malaysia’s ambitious Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) project, a hi-tech zone built specifically to produce and test cutting-edge multimedia applications.

Among these are Sun Microsystems Inc and Microsoft Corp of the US, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) Corp of Japan, Northern Telecom Ltd of Canada and SAP AG of Germany.

The companies are keen to help develop several of the flagship applications identified by the government for the 15km x 50km zone.

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Xircom Expands Penang Factory Amid Sales Hike

By Julian Matthews

Mobile connectivity solutions provider Xircom Inc of the US is expecting record sales of its PC communication card products this year, with the strong showing of its first quarter sales for 1997.

Dirk Gates, Xircom chairman, president and CEO, said net sales of company’s PC card products grew to US$56.3 million for the first quarter of fiscal 1997, up 15% from the previous quarter, and a 67% rise over the first quarter of fiscal 1996.

Xircom earlier reported a turnover of US$193 million for its 1996 fiscal year ending September 30, up 53% from the previous year. Gates predicted a growth rate of about 85% for Xircom in 1997.

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Iomega Shifts All US Manufacturing to Penang

By Julian Matthews

Leading US removable disk drive maker Iomega Corp announced plans to shift production of its entire family of products from the US to Malaysia by the middle of 1997.

The shift to the US$30 million manufacturing facility in Penang will result in a cut of between 500 and 700 employees at the company’s headquarters in Roy, Utah.

Iomega (M) Sdn Bhd managing director K H Teh said the Penang facility will be in volume production of the company’s entire line of Jaz, Ditto and Zip drives and disks by the end of 1997.
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