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February 7, 2006 – According to the Dow Jones news wire, Panasonic Semiconductor Asia, part of Matsushita Electronic Industrial Co., broke ground on a new semiconductor manufacturing facility in Singapore today. This will be Panasonic’s first large scale manufacturing plant outside of Japan to make high-tech semiconductor chips for use in digital cameras, televisions and cell phones.
Akinobu Minagawa, Managing Director of Panasonic Semiconductor Asia, spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday. He sited Singapore’s higher skilled labor force as Panasonic’s reason for choosing Singapore for their new plant over a lower-cost country like China or Indonesia. The new factory will cost S$150 million to build and outfit. It will bring 500 new jobs to the area over the next 5 years, many of them in engineering, or research and development.
Currently, Singapore produces 15 percent of Panasonic’s semiconductors. Once this new facility is at full capacity by 2007, that number should rise to 25 percent.