2013 Vietnam Semiconductor Strategy Summit Brings Together Key Decision Makers

Vietnam Semiconductor Strategy Summit Brings Together Key Decision Makers

attendeesMore than 120 attendees from the U.S., Europe, Korea, Japan, and Singapore attended the first-ever semiconductor industry event held in Vietnam. The SEMI Vietnam Semiconductor Strategy Summit was held on September 9-10 at the InterContinental Asiana Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City. Executives from the world’s leading microelectronics companies met with delegates representing Vietnamese government, academia, research, and industry to explore and discuss the key strategies and opportunities in the growing Vietnam semiconductor industry. The event included an optional tour of the Saigon Hi-Tech Park where Intel’s assembly and packaging plant is located, followed by a one-day executive conference and networking event.

The timing was right for SEMI to consider Vietnam as a more serious player in the global semiconductor industry. The Vietnam government has made development of a domestic semiconductor industry a top priority, and this past spring announced plans to invest more than $500 million to attract an international device maker to set-up a front-end wafer fab. With the government set to make a decision on this investment next month, we decided to move forward, with Bettina Weiss, VP, SEMI Emerging Markets, leading the program as a new business development venture.

The program began on September 9 with a tour of the Saigon Hi-Tech Park, with a contingent of around 60 international attendees. We heard a history of the park's development and future plans, including the new wafer fab project, as well as from current microelectronics industry tenants who gave their perspectives on the future of semiconductor development in Vietnam. We ended the tour with a visit to Intel, which is ramping up back-end production at their first Vietnam facility. Intel has invested $1 billion in manufacturing investment in Ho Chi Minh City, and with the government’s recent decision to invest in a 200mm/0.18 micron front-end fab, Vietnam will become an alternative design and production location for electronics and semiconductor manufacturers in Southeast Asia.

Peter Csatary, M+WAt the conference on September 10, the opening keynote was given by Nguyen Minh Hong, deputy minister of Information and Communications, Vietnam. The conference also featured presentations from semiconductor industry companies with current and future development plans in Vietnam, including Intel, STMicroelectronics, M+W, FabMax, GES, and a Vietnam company CNS, which will be the main local partner on the new fab project. 

Presenters gave an enthusiastic, but measured view of Vietnam's prospects for developing a full semiconductor supply chain, including IC design and wafer manufacturing. Rather than aim high, local industry and government leaders are starting with the basics, understanding that developing a skilled workforce, improving infrastructure, and establishment of a strong supporting supply chain are key to any future semiconductor industry growth. 

Likewise, near term wafer fab developments will be focused on serving growing domestic chip demands and not on competing with larger, more established wafer producing regions. The first fab built in Vietnam will be a 200mm project producing a modest 5,000 wafer starts per month at its launch. 

Everyone — industry, academia and government — expressed their desire to learn and receive input and guidance from more experienced stakeholders outside of Vietnam on how they should proceed.

Memorandum signingThe event concluded with private meetings held with representatives from local industry and government, including the Ho Chi Minh City Semiconductor Industry Association (HSIA), the Saigon Hi-Tech Park, and CNS. We discussed the needs of the local industry and how SEMI can help address those needs, especially in areas of education and advocacy.

The meeting ended with the signing of a memorandum of understanding between SEMI and the HSIA that supports our future cooperation and collaboration on activities to help foster continued growth of Vietnam's semiconductor industry.

While both the Vietnamese and Ho Chi Minh City governments have made investments in both front-end and back-end semiconductor manufacturing a priority, advancing the semiconductor industry in Vietnam will also require development of the local supply chain, allocation of water and energy resources, a growing skilled workforce, partnerships with established microelectronic markets, and other infrastructure needs.

GroupProspects for Vietnam are promising, with a young, growing, and educated middle class driving demand for electronic products, and strong interest from the local government and global companies ready to invest in future developments. Opportunities for SEMI members exist, especially in services and secondary equipment.

The SEMI Vietnam Semiconductor Strategy Summit was organized by SEMI and co-organized by the Saigon Hi-Tech Park (SHTP) and the Ho Chi Minh City Semiconductor Industry Association (HSIA).  The event was also supported by APT Showfreight, MICCI, and PENFEIA.

Sponsors for the SEMI Vietnam Semiconductor Strategy Summit included: FabMax, Advantest, Arrow, CNS, Kulicke & Soffa, M+W Group, Disco, E-Tech Solution Inc., Fab-Finder, Global CyberSoft, GES, Hitachi High-Tech, Intertek, KLA-Tencor, Lintec, PKI, STMicroelectronics, Surplus Global, and TripleCores Technology.   

The next event in the Southeast Asia region is the SEMI Malaysia Forum: Technology Innovation in Assembly and Test on November 20, 2013 in Penang. For more information, visit www.semi.org/Malaysia.

October 1, 2013