Semiconductor giant Micron aims to invest over US$150b globally over next decade

The investment will address increasing global demand for memory which is essential to all computing.
The investment will address increasing global demand for memory which is essential to all computing.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Semiconductor giant Micron Technology intends to invest more than US$150 billion (S$201 billion) globally over the next decade to drive memory manufacturing as well as research and development.

Its investment will address increasing global demand for memory which is essential to all computing, it said on Wednesday (Oct 20).

Micron's announcement comes amid a global chip shortage that has disrupted production of various goods, including cars, smartphones and medical equipment.

Memory chips account for about 30 per cent of the global semiconductor market, Micron chief business officer Sumit Sadana told Reuters.

United States-headquartered Micron employs about 8,600 employees in Singapore and completed the expansion of its wafer fabrication facility in Woodlands in 2019.

The Republic is the base for the firm's operational headquarters outside the United States.

On Wednesday, the company said its expansion plans could generate tens of thousands of jobs. It has committed to hiring 1,500 people in Singapore over the next few years, in roles such as product engineering and procurement.

Micron noted that memory manufacturing costs in the US run 35 per cent to 45 per cent higher than in lower-cost places with established semiconductor ecosystems.

This is why funding to support new manufacturing capacity and a refundable investment tax credit are critical to the potential expansion of its US manufacturing, it added.

Micron's most advanced memory chips, which are used in devices such as mobile phones and personal computers, are made in Japan, Singapore and Taiwan.

"The growth of the data economy is driving increased customer demand for memory and storage," said Mr Manish Bhatia, Micron executive vice-president of global operations.

"Leading-edge memory manufacturing at scale requires production of advanced semiconductor technology that is pushing the laws of physics, and our markets demand cost-competitive operations."

Sustained government support is essential for the company to ensure a resilient supply chain and reinforce technology leadership for the long term, Mr Bhatia added.

Micron's global manufacturing and research and development network spans 13 countries, and it has more than 40,000 staff worldwide.

Singapore is home to its largest manufacturing footprint, with three fabrication plants and a test and assembly facility.

Its products in Singapore revolve around Nand flash memory chips, made at its Woodlands facility.

The 3D Nand flash is a type of flash memory design in which memory cells are stacked vertically in multiple layers, a process that achieves higher densities at a lower cost per bit.

The chips are used to produce solid state drives in smartphones, tablets and computers. Such drives are also being increasingly deployed in data centres.