Chipmaker GlobalFoundries to create 1,000 jobs in S'pore with new plant

Manufacturing facility in Woodlands set to open next year

GlobalFoundries is set to create about 1,000 jobs, including roles for technicians and engineers, with the semiconductor giant's new manufacturing plant here on track to be operational next year.

The company yesterday moved its first tool into the plant, which is located in its existing Woodlands campus. The new facility will include 250,000 sq ft of cleanroom space and new administrative offices.

A cleanroom is a controlled environment where pollutants such as dust, airborne microbes and aerosol particles are filtered to provide the cleanest area possible.

Most cleanrooms are used for manufacturing products such as electronics, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment. GlobalFoundries' milestone was achieved in partnership with the Singapore Economic Development Board and co-investments from customers.

The plant is being built amid a global chip shortage.

Once complete, the new facility will have the capacity to manufacture 450,000 wafers per year.

This will bring the total capacity of GlobalFoundries' facilities in Singapore to about 1.5 million wafers per year.

In June last year, GlobalFoundries said it would invest about US$4 billion (S$5.6 billion) to increase its production capacity to meet the increase in demand for semiconductor chips.

The company's chips are used in cars, smartphones, wireless connectivity equipment, Internet of Things devices, and other applications.

The global shortage of critical semiconductors is likely to last at least through next year and perhaps longer, United States Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on May 31.

Dr Thomas Caulfield, chief executive officer of GlobalFoundries, said the company dealt with material shortages by diversifying its sources both locally and internationally.

"If we see a potential shortage for one of our sources, we qualify another supplier for it," he said, adding that the company's turnaround time was around 90 days.

Dr Caulfield said that from a ground-breaking event hosted virtually in 2021 due to the global pandemic to the moving of the first tool into the new plant yesterday, "we are delivering on our commitments to expand our global manufacturing footprint to meet the growing need in the marketplace for chips".

Singapore accounts for about one-third of GlobalFoundries' revenue and serves about 200 customers, such as semiconductor companies Cirrus Logic and Qualcomm.

The manufacturer has about 4,800 employees here, about a third of its global headcount.

GlobalFoundries has five wafer plants here and has committed US$8 billion in fixed asset investments since its acquisition of manufacturing company Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing in 2010.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 24, 2022, with the headline Chipmaker GlobalFoundries to create 1,000 jobs in S'pore with new plant. Subscribe