MKS Instruments expands to Malaysia with new Penang plant, supporting chip production

Joanna Gao; Willis Ke, DIGITIMES Asia 0

Credit: AFP

American semiconductor company MKS Instruments has announced plans to build a manufacturing plant in Penang, Malaysia, to support wafer fabrication equipment production both regionally and globally. Official construction is set to kick off in early 2025.

MKS provides foundational technology solutions, including instruments, subsystems, and process control systems, primarily serving customers in semiconductor manufacturing, packaging, electronics, and specialty industrial applications. Its prestigious clientele includes TSMC, Samsung Electronics, and STMicroelectronics.

MKS CEO John Lee highlighted the advantages of Penang as the site for the new factory, citing its proximity to customers and suppliers, well-developed infrastructure, and established semiconductor ecosystem. Lee described the construction of the factory as an important milestone for MKS, facilitating the company's continued expansion in Malaysia.

Known as the "Silicon Valley of the East," Penang hosts renowned industry players such as Intel, Infineon, and Bosch. Chow Kon Yeow, chief minister of Penang, welcomed MKS to the state, emphasizing Penang's well-developed industrial ecosystem and its capacity to support the future growth of companies.

The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) stressed that MKS's decision to build a new plant in Malaysia underscores the nation's growing reputation as a premier destination for advanced technology investments, given its rich pool of talent and resources. MIDA noted that the MKS investment would significantly enhance manufacturing capabilities in Malaysia, aligning with the New Industrial Masterplan 2030 (NIMP 2030) goals to achieve an added value of MYR 587.5 billion (US$ 126.3 billion) in manufacturing by 2030.

The Malaysian government has implemented various initiatives to foster semiconductor industry development, initially focusing on downstream activities such as chip packaging and testing, and now advancing toward IC design and advanced chip manufacturing. Earlier, Penang announced the establishment of an IC Design and Digital Park, scheduled for completion by the end of 2024. Additionally, Selangor's IC Design Park, touted as the largest in Southeast Asia, is set to become operational in July 2024.

Malaysia has also unveiled its National Semiconductor Strategy (NSS), aiming to attract more foreign investments and cultivate tens of thousands of high-level semiconductor talent, ultimately establishing itself as a hub for advanced chip manufacturing.