The world’s leading semiconductor equipment and materials engineering company celebrates 30 years in Singapore

Applied Materials started with a modest sales office in Singapore in 1991. Now, Singapore is an important strategic hub for Applied, with a robust workforce spanning three R&D centres and six offices across Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore

Some of Applied Materials' most sophisticated technologies are designed and manufactured right here in Singapore, where it drives innovations in the global semiconductor industry. PHOTO: APPLIED MATERIALS

When Mr Wei Junqi began his journey with Applied Materials as a college intern in 2009, he embarked on a journey that would ignite a passion for innovation and lifelong learning.

The R&D technology manager joined Applied's Advanced Packaging Development Center in 2011. Since then, Mr Wei has gone on to enrol for part-time Master’s and PhD courses at the National University of Singapore (NUS), completing his second Master’s degree this year.

“As an intern, I was given many learning opportunities, such as working across multiple functions with team members of different countries and backgrounds,” he said. “I was inspired by Applied’s people, culture and innovation, and joined Applied right after graduation.”

Similarly, the R&D centre that Mr Wei joined in 2011 has grown from just a handful of workers to more than 100 employees today and develops products for global markets.

Mr Wei’s story is an apt reflection of Applied Materials, a company headquartered in Silicon Valley with a global presence that is the largest provider of equipment, software and solutions used to produce virtually every new semiconductor and advanced display in the world.

Contributing to Singapore’s economy and community

Applied Materials South East Asia is one of the largest employers and contributors to the output of Singapore’s semiconductor equipment industry. Those in the industry know the company as the engineering prowess behind some of today’s most advanced chips.

In 2021, Applied celebrates 30 years of growth, milestones and innovation in Singapore.

Singapore is a strategic manufacturing and R&D hub for the materials engineering company. The Singapore Operations Centre is Applied Materials’ first facility in Asia for manufacturing advanced semiconductor equipment and the company’s largest manufacturing facility outside the United States.

Over the years, Applied has partnered with A*STAR and other research institutes to build up a strong R&D footprint in Singapore, with three R&D labs that conduct R&D and product development for new materials, advanced packaging and new markets.

Today, some of Applied's most sophisticated technologies are ideated, designed and developed in Singapore for markets globally, and drive innovations in the semiconductor industry.

Applied Materials’ economic and community contribution to Singapore was recognised in 2019, when it was conferred the Economic Development Board’s Distinguished Partner in Progress award.

Mr Brian Tan, Applied Materials’ regional president, said more is to come from the company in the years ahead, as semiconductors form the bedrock and driving force behind digitalisation.

“Everything is getting smarter – from our phones to our cars to our homes – and this is driving further demand for current and next-generation semiconductors,” he noted. “We are only at the beginning of major technology and market inflections that will play out over the next decade.”

“At Applied Materials South East Asia, we remain committed to Singapore and are continuing to invest in expanding our capacity and footprint in manufacturing and R&D here,” Mr Tan noted.

“We look forward to translating more technologies into real world products and commercial applications, and partnering our customers to solve their toughest challenges and enable their success.”

Applied Materials is committed to corporate social responsibility and organises events, such as tree-planting activities, to enhance employees' involvement in the community. PHOTO: APPLIED MATERIALS

Just as important as its role in the semiconductor industry is Applied Materials’ commitment to corporate responsibility, as reflected in the company’s vision to Make Possible® a Better Future. Applied operates with a strong sense of purpose, aligning what it stands for as a company with what matters to its employees and their communities.

Since the pandemic, the company has increased its charitable giving and donated more than S$2 million to uplift vulnerable youth, less fortunate families, and enhance the community through environmental and arts programmes in Singapore.

Since the pandemic, Applied Materials has increased its charitable giving and donated more than S$2 million to CSR initiatives. (Photo taken before Covid-19.) PHOTO: APPLIED MATERIALS

Applied Materials is also committed to fostering a Culture of Inclusion that embraces different backgrounds, perspectives and experiences. The company believes having a diverse workforce helps build stronger, more resilient teams.

“It is important to be with a company that promotes inclusivity and creates a supportive environment for growth. With concrete actions such as  sponsoring the Women’s Professional Development Network (WPDN), Applied Materials  actively promotes engagement and retention of female talent and is a development platform for future female leaders,” said  Dr Olivia Koentjoro, a director in Applied’s Global Law Department.

For many employees in Singapore, working at Applied Materials has been rewarding in ways beyond a career in semiconductors.

Applied Materials South East Asia is one of the largest employers and contributors to the output of Singapore’s semiconductor equipment industry. It celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. PHOTO: APPLIED MATERIALS

For Mr Lee Guan Tay, a director for field service, it has been 20 amazing years with the company – his first and only employer.

“Over the last two decades, I have witnessed the evolution of Applied Materials South East Asia from a sales and service organisation with a few hundred employees, to having a manufacturing plant that produces approximately half of Applied’s annual production of semiconductor equipment globally, and seeing the growth of our R&D facility from its infancy,” he said.

“All of this is made possible by the people on the team,'' he added. “Glad to see colleagues becoming friends, friends become life-long friends, life-long friends becoming family friends. I am fortunate to be part of the family.”

Find out more about Applied Materials at

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