KULIM: Silterra Malaysia Sdn Bhd has been receiving order volumes that exceed its monthly production capacity of wafer chips since last year.
Orders started to come in during the third quarter of 2008, when the global economy started to slow down, said chief executive officer Dr Kamarulzaman Mohamed Zin.
“By the second quarter of 2009, the volume that came in exceeded our production capacity.
“As Silterra’s monthly production capacity is about 30,000 wafer chips, we have to outsource the surplus orders to our partners in the Asia-Pacific region,” he said at a briefing to Malaysian Industrial Development Authority officials and the media at the Kulim Hi-Tech Park (KHTP).
The orders were growing because Malaysia was increasingly seen as an alternative wafer fabrication site to China and Taiwan.
Kamarulzaman said the cost of hiring engineers for wafer plants in China was on par with Malaysia and thus China no longer provided the competitive edge when recruiting skilled labour.
“Malaysia, on the other hand, has good intellectual property laws in place, which makes it attractive. Even China’s high-end wafer fabless design house comes to Silterra, which has over the years established itself as a key player in the wafer chip fabrication business,” he said.
Kamarulzaman said Silterra was also now exploring the possibility of equipping the KHTP facility with consigned equipment from integrated device manufacturers (IDMs) that did not want to be involved in wafer fabrication anymore to save cost.
“Under this arrangement, these IDMs will let Silterra use their equipment for an agreed period. We will also produce for their customers using the consigned equipment.
“This strategy will help us to save substantially on capital expenditure,” he said.
Kamarulzaman also said Silterra was considering setting up another wafer fabrication plant in KHTP.
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