Tue, Nov 21, 2017 - Page 12 News List

Auto tech to drive ASE growth

RISING VOLUME:Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc aims to set up a ‘clean room’ in Singapore and add capacity to its Malaysian fab to cope with the uptrend in demand

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter, in SINGAPORE

Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc (ASE, 日月光半導體) expects revenue from its fabs in Malaysia and Singapore to grow at an annual pace of 10 percent next year to surpass US$300 million, driven primarily by rapidly growing automotive electronics demand.

The rate would be an acceleration from this year’s 8 percent increase, the world’s largest chip tester and packager said.

“Automotive electronics is the fastest-growing segment and the main driving force,” ASE Southeast Asia president Lee Kwai Mun (李貴文) told a media briefing on Friday.

ASE in 2013 set up a clean room in Malaysia to provide testing and packaging services for image sensors used in 360-degree cameras for cars, in response to demand from European customers, Lee said.

Since then, volume has been on the rise, Lee said.

To catch up with rising demand, ASE is considering adding extra automotive electronics capacity to its Malaysia fab, the company said.

The fab in Penang, Malaysia, built in 1991, is the firm’s first overseas facility.

Automotive electronics account for 20 to 25 percent of ASE Malaysia’s total revenue, but only 6 percent of the firm’s overall revenue.

Apart from automotive electronics, the Malaysia fab’s growth is to come from climbing demand for its copper clips used in testing and packaging for processors for data centers and electric cars, Lee said.

The Southeast Asian fabs are to generate about US$300 million in revenue this year, according to the firm’s projection.

ASE’s Singapore fab provides packing and testing services, including advanced wafer-level chip scale packaging (WL-CSP).

As smartphones, wearable devices, Internet of Things devices and automatic electronics prevail, ASE said that customer demand for its WL-CSP service is increasing as well.

To cope with the uptrend, ASE plans to invest about US$25 million to build a new cleanroom in Singapore to boost capacity for 12-inch wafers and other testing equipment.

The capacity expansion program is expected to be completed in the first quarter next year. That would boost the Singapore fab’s WL-CSP capacity to 100 million units a month from 70 million.

ASE has invested US$35 million in the Singapore fab since 1999. It has a workforce of 850 and last year generated revenue of US$137 million.

ASE operates 17 factories around the world, including in Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Mexico and the US.

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