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News from Asia-Pacific

ASE to Roll Out 11 New Packages

Demand for snazzy electronic gadgets and nifty consumer electronic tools has spurred Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE) Malaysia to roll out 11 new semiconductor packages in the coming months.

According to Dr K Kanapathi, president of ASE Malaysia, the company is currently working with three customers based in Malaysia and the US to develop the new packages for the upcoming killer applications for networking, telecommunications and consumer electronics sectors.

“Being an electronics manufacturing services (EMS) provider gives us an advantage of getting involved from the early stages of design for each package we develop. All the processes involved are well defined so that the packages produced will be exactly according to customer specifications,” he said.

Dr Wu Tien, president of ASE Americas, Europe and Japan, claimed that in the last three years, an increasing number of multinational corporations (MNC) based in Penang had chosen ASE as its partner for IC packaging design manufacturing and test services. Nearly 70% of ASE suppliers are also based in Malaysia.

He pointed out that the Penang plant was not only involved in assembling and testing ICs but also in R&D to improve cost efficient manufacturing capabilities. A total of RM60 million (US$15.8 million) has been set aside to beef up its R&D and manufacturing capabilities for 2004. Its previous investment parcel of RM500 million was utilized between 2000 and 2003.

Capital-Intensive Operation Meanwhile, ASE will begin production at its China operations in the second quarter of 2004. “Our presence in China is a natural expansion to meet the demand for semiconductor packages as well as cater to the opening of the Chinese market,” said Kanapathi.

However, he believes as long as the Penang operations remain competitive and efficient, it is a vital facility with the ability to compete in terms of price, quality and service.

“It is our desire to have the Malaysian workforce competitive in the semiconductor manufacturing business. It is no longer a high labor facility but a capital-intensive operation,” he added.

ASE was growing ahead of the industry average and is positioned to lead the pack owing to its heavy investment in manufacturing capacity and R&D. The Penang plant has 3,800 employees including 200 R&D staff.

In 2002, ASE enjoyed revenue of US$2.22 billion, with US$1.32 billion generated from its test and assembly facilities in Malaysia, Taiwan, Korea and the US. The EMS electronic segment generated US$900 million and hit the top spot in its third quarter of 2003 as the world’s leading EMS provider.

by Anita Devasahayam

(February 2004 Issue, Nikkei Electronics Asia)
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