UWC Holdings' history dates back to August 1990, when Dato' Ng Chai Eng and Lau Chee Kheong incorporated Unique Wire Cut Sdn. Bhd. It commenced operations as a trading company in the same year from a rented shop lot in Sungai Puyu, Penang, where we supplied wire cut machines to our primarily Malaysian customers base. With only 2 employees back then, we held firm to our belief that transformation and diversification is the key to success. We ventured in the metal fabrication services and eventually transformed into a vertical transport or elevator manufacturer.
Today, we are an integrated engineering service support provider, manufacturing automated test equipment for a variety of industries, ranging from semiconductor to life science. Boasting of staff strength of more than 800 employees, 12 acres factory facility in Batu Kawan, Penang and a market capitalisation of RM2 billion, UWC has transformed from a micro-scale trading company to one of the leading manufacturers in the country. The company is listed in Bursa Malaysia in 2019 and was named the best initial public offering (IPO) in the same year by The Edge.
In 2018, UWC relocated two of its plants from Bukit Minyak, Penang to a new manufacturing plant in Batu Kawan, Penang. The new facility consists of a 2-storey office building and a detached factory with a total built-up area of approximately 255,364 sq ft. It is equipped with larger floor space to accommodate more machinery and equipment as well as additional assembly lines. This new plant is ideally suited to meet the customers' growing demands.
UWC also did not rest on our laurels. Leveraging on our competencies in design and development, sheet metal fabrication, precision machining, sub-assembly and full-turnkey assembly, we extended our value propositions to offer a more comprehensive range of services for our customers' manufacturing needs.
UWC broadened its horizon in two important industries in Penang, the semiconductor and life science industries. To cater for the semiconductor industry, UWC's primarily product is the semiconductor tester; where else for life science industry, we are the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for medical technology equipment.
The decision to diversify our business has proven to be the right choice for the company when the Asian Financial Crisis hit Malaysia in the year 1997. The economic crisis had largely impacted the domestic-oriented industries such as construction and services. As one of the largest suppliers for elevator components, albeit being only a small company then, UWC was not heavily impacted. The impact was offset by UWC new ventures in 2005 within the semiconductor industry and 2006 within the life science industries.
While UWC is actively acquiring machines for its operations, we are also in the early stages of our Industry 4.0 implementation. This transition is important for us to hedge UWC against the fast-paced technology evolution. Industry 4.0, or the fourth wave of the Industrial Revolution, will create 'smart factories' which offer many benefits, including higher productivity, increased speed of production and improved product quality. Moving forward, UWC will be investing in high precision machinery and further enhance our capabilities to provide a broader range of services to our customers.
Dato' Ng Chai Eng, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Executive Director and co-founder of UWC, recalls the company's humble ventures in the past, "I remember a few years ago when UWC was working with one of our customers to transfer technology and manufacturing activities from Canada to Malaysia. It was a project regarding diffusion pumps, whereby there were only a handful of manufacturers around the globe with the relevant manufacturing capability. Then, we required a huge investment, especially for machinery and equipment. We also needed to send our engineers and a technician to Canada for nine months to transfer the manufacturing knowledge to UWC. Fortunately, the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) provided us with the necessary financial assistance for human capital training as well as the acquisition of machinery. The assistance indeed smoothened the project transfer process."
He added, saying, "Malaysia is a destination for investments,especially for high technology and high-value products. We have world-class infrastructure and a matured supply chain. Certainly, when looking to invest in Malaysia, the best authority to consult is MIDA. Being the principal investment promotion agency in the country, they are well-equipped and ever-ready to provide support and facilitation, in terms of incentive available, location and more."
Being a Malaysian company, UWC is always very proud to have our manufacturing facilities producing high value and high technology products serving global multinational corporations (MNCs) around the world.