Malaysian Wafer Fabs Get US Ex-Im Bank Loan Boost

By Julian Matthews

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) has approved loans worth $760 million to support two fledgling Malaysian wafer fabrication projects.

A spokesperson for the bank said its board of directors approved on Wednesday a $673.8 million long-term direct loan to wafer fabrication plant Silterra Malaysia Sdn Bhd.

This is the second loan extended to a Malaysian wafer fab start-up in three weeks. On May 4, the board had approved a $86.5 million guaranteed syndicated loan to 1st Silicon (M) Sdn Bhd, another wafer fab being constructed in Malaysia’s eastern state of Sarawak.

The loans lend credibility to Malaysia’s long-held ambitions to get into wafer fabrication services or the “front-end” of the semiconductor industry.
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Celestica Joins Leading CEMs,Increases Presence

Celestica Inc, the third largest contract electronic manufacturer (CEM) is investing in its first plant in Malaysia at the Kulim Hi-Tech Park in the northern state of Kedah.

Its entry marks a milestone for Malaysia which has secured the top six CEMs in the world as listed by industry trackers, Technology Forecasters Inc, namely SCI Systems Inc, Solectron Corp, Flextronics International Ltd, Jabil Circuit Inc and NatSteel Electronics Ltd.

Celestica spokesperson Pam Goddard said the company is investing US$26 million for the first phase of the plant which includes the purchase of a 4,645m2 plant. “We are very excited about the potential in Malaysia and firmly committed to growing here to meet our customer’s needs,” she said.

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Packard Bell NEC and NEC to merge sales outside Japan

By Julian Matthews

PENANG–Packard Bell NEC Asia Pacific and NEC will consolidate its desktop PC, notebook and server businesses, outside Japan, under a single entity by the year 2000.

“Managing and operating from the same organization gives certain advantages. Now, we are able to serve corporate customers worldwide under one umbrella. All products and services will be unified,” said Wim Giezenaar, vice president and managing director of Packard Bell NEC Asia Pacific in a statement.

Packard Bell NEC and NEC sales offices in the region operated independently of each other previously.

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Packard Bell NEC will not shut down Asia Pacific plant

by Julian Matthews

PENANG–Packard Bell NEC will not shut down its Asia Pacific plant in Penang nor layoff any of its staff there or in sales offices in Middle East, Australia or New Zealand.

Company spokesperson Grace Lau confirmed this in a response to CNET Asia following the announcement of drastic restructuring of its US unit with 80 percent staff cuts and withdrawal of the Packard Bell brand from retail shelves.

“There are no cuts in Asia Pacific that we are aware of at this moment,” said Lau, who said the company in fact just advertised for new engineers last month.

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US Thin-Film Supplier Shifts Production Plants

One of the world’s largest independent supplier of thin-film media for computer hard disk drives, Komag Inc, is shifting its large-scale production in the US to Malaysia in the last quarter of this year.

The move is in line with efforts to bring down costs and stimulate new applications in the troubled data storage industry.

“This shift of production volume into Malaysia will result in lower unit production costs and generate substantial cash savings in future,” said Komag’s Malaysian-born president and chief executive Tan Thian Hoo.

Under the accelerated phase down plan, Komag is expected to close down two plants in San Jose, and a third plant in Santa Clara acquired from Western Digital Corp in April.

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Celestica invests US$26m in new Malaysia plant

By Julian Matthews, CNET.com
Friday, October 08, 1999 10:49 PM

KUALA LUMPUR–Celestica, one of the largest contract electronic manufacturers in the world, is investing in its first plant in Malaysia as part of a major push in Asia.

The company is pumping in US$26 million for its initial phase to purchase a 50,000 sq ft plant on 7.5 acre plot of land at the Kulim Hi-Tech Park in the northern state of Kedah.

“We are very excited about the potential in Malaysia and firmly committed to growing Malaysia to meet our customers’ needs,” said corporate communications representative Pam Goddard.
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Sony Strengthens Local DVD Production

By Julian Matthews

Sony Corp of Japan plans to make Malaysia a major global manufacturing facility for digital video disk (DVD) players outside Japan.

Sony (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd managing director Hideo Kojima said the decision was made based on the availability of high technology skills and similar technical processes already in place in the manufacture of CD-ROM drives in the country.

The company has been assembling DVD players since October with imported parts from Japan at the factory located in Bangi, Selangor. The initial production is for the domestic market.

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Malaysia’s Chip Exports Decline for Second Year

By Julian Matthews

November 10, 1998 (KUALA LUMPUR) — Malaysia’s exports of semiconductors in the first seven months of 1998 declined by 4 percent, the Finance Ministry’s annual economic report said.

Exports of semiconductors declined to US$8.07 billion from about US$8.4 billion in the same period in 1997. This is the second year exports were down, signaling the heady days of double-digit export growth rates are over.

Exports contracted by 0.8 percent over the same period last year, a significant fall from rises of 24.9 percent in 1996, 25.6 percent in 1995 and 29 percent in 1994.

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Penang Mooted as Removable Disk Drive Center

by Julian Matthews

A disk drive industry pioneer has predicted that Penang will become the removable disk drive capital of the world by the year 2000.

Castlewood Systems Inc president and CEO Syed Iftikar said this at the launch of the first Malaysian-owned plant to build 2.16-Gbyte magneto-resistive (MR) removable drives in August.

“If Singapore is the hard disk drive capital of the world, then I look forward to making Penang the leading manufacturer of removable drives in the world by the next millennium,” said Syed, who was the founder of SyQuest Technology Inc, and a co-founder of Seagate Technology Inc, where he invented the first 5.25-inch hard drive.

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IDT Banks on Winchip to Drive Growth

By Julian Matthews

Integrated Device Technology (IDT), Inc of the US expects to expand chip sales in Asia in the next two years despite market softness and the prolonged economic crisis in the region.

Integrated Device Technology (M) Sdn Bhd managing director B T Tan said the high inventory causing the current industry-wide weakness will be over in six to nine months.

“Although we see an impact in demand, I believe the semiconductor industry still has a bright future in this region, and will bounce back by next year,” he said.

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