Eyeing bigger slice of trillion-dollar chip industry

Ahmad Zahid (standing, centre) visiting one of the exhibition booths with Chow (on his right) after launching the Semicon Southeast Asia tech event in Penang. — ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

THE Federal Government is aiming for Malaysia to have a 15% market share globally in the semiconductor industry by 2030, says Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He said tech parks, tax incentives and human capital development would make the target easy to achieve as Malaysia currently had a 7% market share.

“Malaysia ranks as the seventh largest exporter of semiconductors in the world.

“Our country is additionally a major player in semiconductor assembly, test and packaging activities, with a market share of 13%.

“By 2030, the global semiconductor sector is projected to be a trillion-dollar industry,” he told a press conference during the Semicon Southeast Asia tech event at Setia SPICE Convention Centre in Bayan Baru, Penang.

Ahmad Zahid said they were planning to make it easier for new companies to set up shop in the country by offering various incentives.

“We have set in motion efforts to grow the industry including encouraging support for local products in the national procurement policy and providing guidelines on Sustainable Development Goals to enable Malaysian manufacturers to compete in the export market.

“We are committed to providing a conducive ecosystem to nurture local businesses through policies, programmes and facilitation to venture into new industries and markets.

“The onus remains with business owners to act fast and embrace changes and opportunities.

“It will be a huge boost for us if we can reach the market share of 15% by 2030,” he said.

Ahmad Zahid said that one sustainable way to achieve this was to put a bigger emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education.

“Unfortunately, there is currently a decline in interest in STEM.

“As the National TVET (technical and vocational education training) committee chairman, I have signed various memorandums of understanding with industry players to help update the syllabus and learning modules at TVET institutions according to the current needs of the industry.

“It is important for us to up our game by continuing to sharpen our competitive edge.

“This way, Malaysia can remain relevant in the value chain and stay ahead of our peers.

“We are keen on expanding tech parks in Kulim, Glenmarie and Bagan Datuk, and ensuring 5G connectivity in these areas to woo more investors,” he added.

When asked about the competitiveness of Malaysia’s tech manufacturing sector compared to those in other regional markets, Ahmad Zahid said the country planned to complement the other markets but not compete directly.

He had earlier launched the three-day tech fair with Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.

The event from May 23 to 25 was focused on electronics supply chain resilience, sustainability, smart technology and talent.

Tech companies set up exhibition booths and held forums, dialogue sessions and other activities at the fair.

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