Penang’s semiconductor industry moves from assembly to R&D

By Ong Wooi Leng

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From low-skilled labour-intensive activities to highskilled product development, Penang’s semiconductor scene has transformed itself – and with great success.Since the opening of Malaysia’s first Free Industrial Zone in the 1970s, Penang’s economy has been thriving, based on export-oriented labour-intensive manufacturing activities. Since then, a row of mostly American, Japanese and Taiwanese E&E MNCs has been established here – Intel, Motorola, Altera and ASE electronics, to name a few.It is noteworthy that almost all these MNCs are still operating, and many...

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Ong Wooi Leng

heads the Socioeconomics and Statistics Programme at Penang Institute. Her work lies in labour market analysis and socio-economic development.