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Creating the Silicon Valley of the East 2.0 on Penang’s mainland

Creating the Silicon Valley of the East 2.0 on Penang’s mainland

06 Nov 2021

Penang is often dubbed the Silicon Valley of the East, thanks to its strong and vibrant electrical and electronics (E&E) ecosystem.

It began in the 1970s when The Eight Samurai — Intel, Robert Bosch, Clarion, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Hewlett-Packard (HP) (now Keysight Technologies and Agilent Technologies), Litronix (now Osram Opto Semiconductors), Hitachi (now Renesas Electronics) and National Semiconductor — established their operations in Penang.

As the E&E sector continues to grow with the adoption of new, innovative and advanced technology, the multinational corporations (MNCs) have created opportunities for other mid- and downstream players, as well as local companies that provide supporting activities.

That explains why Malaysian semiconductor-related players are particularly strong in the area of outsourced semiconductor assembly and test (OSAT) and automated test equipment (ATE), as their founders and CEOs were trained by the MNCs in Penang.

Over the years, Penang, or more specifically Bayan Lepas, has evolved into a regional electronics manufacturing hub.

However, the narrative may be changing, as Batu Kawan has emerged in recent years as a strong E&E cluster. Not only is the Batu Kawan Industrial Park (BKIP) expected to replicate the success story of Bayan Lepas, it may even outshine its 50-year-old counterpart.

Located off Seberang Perai on the mainland of Penang, Batu Kawan is intended to be the state’s third satellite town after Bayan Baru and Seberang Jaya. But does it have what it takes to become the Silicon Valley of the East 2.0?

There is no better person to ask than Invest-in-Penang Bhd CEO Datuk Loo Lee Lian, who has been promoting investments in the state since 2010.

The Edge also spoke to a few prominent business executives and captains of industry, including Micron Technology Inc president and CEO Sanjay Mehrotra and Lam Research International Sdn Bhd general manager Soon K Kuek, to get their views on investments in BKIP.

Source: The Edge Markets

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