Singapore—At the Distinguished Partner in Progress Award ceremony at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on Tuesday, September 24, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said that while the country is vulnerable to global uncertainties, strong partners are what is needed to carry the nation through and aid in building capacities.
DPM Heng admitted that it is an uncertain time for Singapore, but emphasized that building companies and workers’ capabilities is the answer, adding “but capabilities can only be built if we have strong partners who have confidence in us, who are willing to stick with us through business cycles.”
And one example of a strong partner is Applied Materials, an American firm that provided software and equipment for making semiconductor chips.
According to the Deputy Prime Minister, the presence and commitment of Applied Materials in Singapore is a “vote of confidence.”
The company, which has invested over S$100 million in the last 10 years, is the recipient of this year’s Distinguished Partner in Progress Award.
DPM Heng said, “As a global leader in the semiconductor industry, Applied Materials’ presence in Singapore has greatly strengthened our ecosystem. It has made substantial investments here, worked with many of our companies, and created good jobs for our people. We are very happy to have Applied Materials as one of our trusted partners – one who believed in us, and are committed to work with us over the long term.”
The last time the award was given was in 2016. It is conferred upon firms which significantly contribute to the economic growth of the country, and also promotes the country’s interests.
While the outlook for business is still cloudy due to concerns over the trade war, the slower pace of economic growth and lower demands, DPM Heng has expressed confidence in Singapore’s semiconductor sector, for which the equipment industry totalled S$21 billion in 2018, comprising over one-fifth of the market internationally.
And the Deputy Prime Minister gives some credit for this to firms such as Allied Materials, which has half of its global semiconductor equipment made in the country.
Allied Materials is also the biggest single employer for the semiconductor equipment industry in Singapore. The industry comprises around seven percent of the country’s economy, as well as 11 percent of the global market share.
“Our semiconductor industry has transformed by leaps and bounds. Its total output is now 100 billion dollars per year, accounting for 11% of the global market share. Many leading companies, from across the semiconductor industry value chain, have a base here.
But what might be lesser known is that besides making semiconductors, we also manufacture the equipment required to produce them. The total output of our semiconductor equipment industry was 21 billion dollars last year. This represents more than 20% of the global semiconductor equipment market,” the Deputy Prime Minister continued.
He also emphasized the company’s role in developing careers.
“The success of Applied Materials in Singapore, through its many strong partnerships, has created many good career opportunities for our people.
This should not be surprising, since the company gives strong emphasis to career development. Applied Materials is voted among the 100 ‘best places to work in IT.’
A number of our people in Applied Materials have been groomed to take on leadership positions, regionally and even globally.”/ TISG