Austria’s AT&S picks Malaysia as tech hub

KUALA LUMPUR: Austria-headquartered AT&S, which manufactures high-end printed circuit boards (PCB) and substrates for semiconductors, will set up a production plant in Malaysia – its first in South-East Asia.

AT&S’ new facility in Kulim Hi-Tech Park, Kedah will produce high-end PCBs and integrated circuit (IC) substrates and it will involve a proposed total investment of RM8.5bil (€1.7bil) and create 5, 000 high-tech and high-impact jobs.

Senior Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said the construction of the plant is set to begin in the second half of 2021 with commercial operations targeted to come onstream in 2024.

He said AT&S chief executive officer Andreas Gerstenmayer had a video conference with Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on Wednesday where he conveyed the announcement.

Azmin also said the project was among the investments attracted by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) under the national short-term economic recovery plan’s (Penjana) investment scheme launched on June 5, 2020.

AT&S, also known as AT&S Austria Technologie & Systemtechnik AG, manufactures high-end PCB and IC substrates which are used in mobile devices, industrial electronics, automotive applications as well as medical and health technology.

The company has production facilities in Austria, India, China and South Korea.

“At the meeting, I expressed optimism that the investment also holds out bright prospects for our local small and medium enterpeises to benefit from the supply chain generated, ” he said.

Azmin added that the meeting was attended by Mida CEO Arham Abdul Rahman and AT&S chief operating officer Ingolf Schröder. Also present were Malaysian ambassador to Austria Datuk Ganeson Sivagurunathan, and his counterpart Dr Michael Postl, who is the Austrian ambassador to Malaysia.

Muhyiddin, in welcoming AT&S into Malaysia’s vibrant electrical and electronics (E&E) ecosystem, said that AT&S’ decision to invest in the country “speaks volumes of its confidence in the Malaysian economy’s capacity and promise of sustainable growth”.

The Prime Minister expressed confidence that Malaysia’s E&E industry’s skilled talent pool, facilitative investment environment, as well as deep integration with international supply chains offer the ideal mix for high-tech stakeholders.

“Working hand in hand, AT&S’ footprint in Malaysia will also further boost the development of our semiconductor ecosystem, enable opportunities for our local vendors in the field of advanced electronics and spur high-tech employment for Malaysians, ” said Muhyiddin.

The Prime Minister congratulated AT&S on its business expansion into Malaysia and he applauded the company’s commitment to the country.

Mida had worked closely with the company since November last year to secure the project.

“This investment announcement represents a key win for Malaysia in proving our efforts to source for high-quality investments from international companies, ” Muhyiddin said.

Gerstenmayer said after very intensive location scouting globally, Malaysia has emerged as the country in which AT&S wants to push ahead with its “more than AT&S” strategy.

“AT&S brings the latest generation of high-end technologies to the country and builds up a whole new technology sector.

“Besides manufacturing of high-tech products, a significant number of research and development activities will be executed at the new facility.

“Malaysia can benefit from its position as a technology country and can strengthen the region as a high-tech manufacturing hub in Asia.”

AT&S’ Schröder described the location in the Kulim Hi-Tech Park as a perfect match to the company’s expansion plans.

“Besides the excellent infrastructure and stable supply chain, the whole ecosystem has been aligned in the last decade.

“The semiconductor industry has been in Malaysia for more than 30 years and the overall environment is very well-developed, ” he said.

Azmin said AT&S’ investment reflected foreign investors’ confidence in Malaysia’s economic prospects as well as the human capital resource to cope with the high-tech demands of high-impact industries.

Coupled with the strong showing of investment approvals for the first quarter of this year, totalling RM80.6bil in the manufacturing, services and primary sectors, he said AT&S’ investment bodes well for Malaysia’s recovery efforts from the economic challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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