Global Foundries logo in a roof

GlobalFoundries opens $4bn chip plant in Singapore

Image credit: Global Foundries

The new plant is expected to produce 450,000 300mm wafers a year at full capacity.

The world’s third-largest contract chipmaker, GlobalFoundries, has opened a $4bn (£3.2bn) semiconductor fabrication plant in its existing Singapore campus as part of a major global manufacturing expansion.

The facility is 23,000 square metres (248,000 square feet) and expected to create 1,000 jobs, of which 95 per cent will comprise equipment technicians, process technicians and engineers, the company said.

“If we run [the Singapore campus’s] capacity to the fullest, that will probably be [around] 45 per cent of revenue for GlobalFoundries,” said the company's Singapore general manager, Tan Yew Kong.

The company’s Singapore operations, which serve 200 clients worldwide, also include two fabs that produce 720,000 300mm wafers and 692,000 200mm wafers a year respectively. With this large investment, GlobalFoundries demonstrated its belief in an increase in demand for chips in the second half of 2024.

“The key megatrends of our industry – digitalisation, connectivity, cloud computing – are all driving acceleration to a more connected and data-centric world,” said GlobalFoundries president and chief executive Thomas Caulfield at the launch of the new site.

“It demonstrates how central and critical the industry is to the world economy and how pervasive semiconductors are in enabling and enhancing all aspects of human life.”

Semiconductors are key to most technologies, contained in smartphones, laptops, automobiles, virtual reality systems, video game consoles and smart speakers, as well as in AI and 5G.

Singapore is one of the world’s leading providers of chips, producing 11 per cent of the world’s semiconductors in foundries such as GlobalFoundries, which makes the semiconductors designed by the likes of QualcommMediaTek and NXP Semiconductors, and serves approximately 200 customers globally.

Caulfield said that, despite current economic headwinds, the company estimates the size of the industry will double in the next decade because of the rise in popularity of artificial intelligence. 

Since 2020, the economic losses caused by the shortage of semiconductors can be measured in billions of dollars.

The chip shortage has forced Ford, Jaguar Land Rover, Volkswagen, General Motors, Nissan, Daimler, BMW, Renault and Toyota to shut factories, scale back production or exclude high-end features such as integrated satellite navigation systems, which rely on sophisticated semiconductor technology.

In the UK, the government was accused of putting the its own semiconductor industry at risk with the continuing delay in publishing a strategy to ensure the security of the supply chains for chips. 

GlobalFoundries is the world’s third-largest foundry by revenue behind Taiwan’s TSMC and South Korea’s Samsung Electronics. 

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