Penang strengthens its IC design and advanced packaging ecosystem with arrival of new semiconductor players

AN investment of more than US$100 million is expected to be made in Penang by three prominent international semiconductor companies.

The three companies – China Wafer Level CSP Co Ltd (WLCSP), Ningbo SJ Electronics Co Ltd (SJE) and Wuxi AMTE Inc (AMTE) are set to strengthen the integrated circuit (IC) design and advanced packaging sectors.

WLCSP revolutionises the semiconductor industry by developing innovative technologies and assisting its customers in implementing high-volume manufacturing of reliable, miniaturised, high-performance and cost-effective semiconductor packages. The company’s approach has allowed it to become one of the most widely proliferated packaging technologies in history.

Meanwhile, SJE has extensive experience in materials and equipment, as well as exceptional research and development capabilities. The company can also provide unique solutions in advanced packaging and core materials required for high-power and ultra-large chip packaging.

Lastly, AMTE is a leading provider of produced semiconductor manufacturing apparatus in China with its main products focusing on etching and film process equipment which is widely used in the front end of semiconductor IC design and system-on-chip (SOC) processing, especially in the fabrication of compound semiconductors and others.

AMTE also signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Chinese automaker BYD in 2022, which has since become the largest external shareholder of AMTE.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said these three companies are set to bolster Penang’s growing IC design and advanced packaging ecosystem.

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Chow said these three companies are set to bolster Penang’s growing IC design and advanced packaging ecosystem.


He said, parallel with the New Industrial Master Plan 2030 (NIMP 2030), Penang is currently leading the nation into the front-end realm of the chip value chain, with over five decades of leadership and industrial excellence in mid and back-end chip manufacturing.

“Penang is now looking forward to tapping into higher value activities such as wafer fabrication, IC design, advanced packaging, Internet of Things (IoT), and research and development (R&D).

“As we venture further into front-end activities, our focus intensifies on advanced packaging and IC design, emphasising their pivotal role in our strategic roadmap.

“We believe that these three new semiconductors companies are essential towards strengthening and evolving our outsourced semiconductor assembly and test services as well as IC design capacities and ecosystem in Penang,” Chow told a press conference at Ascott Gurney Penang in George Town today.

According to Chow, Blue Chip Venture Capital (BCVC) has played a pivotal role in attracting these strategic investments to Penang.

BCVC is a specialised fund that aims to enhance technology and value in the semiconductor industry.

“Their signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the KL20 Summit 2024, between these three semiconductor companies laid the groundwork for this introduction.

“Furthermore, BCVC’s efforts to attract international foreign direct investments (FDI) specifically targeting the semiconductor sector align seamlessly with the state’s strategy to draw higher-value-added activities.

“Penang takes great pride in being selected as the preferred location for these three corporations, a testament to the trust and confidence foreign investors have in the state,” said Chow.

He added that Penang has the capacities and capabilities to support the needs of industrial players in next-generation technologies and growth strategies.

Chow also expressed his optimism that these three semiconductor corporations would leverage various benefits from their operation in Penang, the Silicon Valley of the East.

Chow further mentioned that the establishment of these three semiconductor companies is anticipated to generate fresh and dynamic prospects for local suppliers, further catalysing their growth.

He said this strategic move would further develop a robust and efficient supply chain ecosystem in Penang.

“I commend these semiconductor companies for their proactive approach in enhancing the industry landscape and facilitating collaborative efforts within our community, all while making a positive contribution to the local economy.

“I extend my gratitude to BCVC for its synergistic efforts in engaging investors and facilitating a successful landing of these companies.

“The state government and other relevant state machinery, are committed to providing unwavering support to the investors, and I look forward to establishing a strong relationship with China Wafer Level CSP Co Ltd, Ningbo SJ Electronics Co Ltd and Wuxi AMTE Inc.

“We anticipate nurturing this strong partnership, collaborating to expedite Penang’s industrial progress, solidifying our position as the Silicon Valley of the East, and securing beneficial economic advancements for Malaysia,” he said.

Meanwhile, BCVC co-founder and chief executive officer Tim Chen stated that an additional 15 high-tech companies have expressed interest in exploring investment prospects in Penang.

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Chen stated that an additional 15 high-tech companies have expressed interest in exploring investment prospects in Penang.


He said further discussions with those companies were currently ongoing.

Chow added that the official announcement regarding the investment by WLCSP, SJE, and AMTE would be made by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida).

“This process will span several months as these three companies must meet various conditions and technical requirements before Mida can officially announce their inclusion in the national investment figures,” he said.

When questioned about the recent statement by former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng regarding the loss of a multi-million ringgit IC design park to Selangor despite the state’s financial capability to undertake the project, Chow replied that while Penang may not have an IC design park, the state continues to attract an increasing number of IC design companies.

When asked if he was ready to meet Lim to explain further about the matter, Chow said he was ready to meet Lim personally to discuss the matter privately.

Also present during the press conference were BCVC chief operating officer CK Tan, BCVC board member Datuk Seri Nelson Koay and BCVC admin and finance manager Tan Pey San.


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