Melexis opens US$75.7mil wafer testing site in Malaysia, its largest facility worldwide

  • Located next to X-FAB's wafer foundry, one of Melexis' key suppliers
  • Advanced energy-saving systems, solar installation to generate 30k kWh per month

(L 2 R): Dr Malcolm Mussen Lamoh, Deputy International Trade, Industry and Investment Minister; Roland Sagah Wee Inn; Education, Innovation and Talent Development Minister; Melexis chairwoman, Francoise Chombar; Premier Abang Johari Openg; Deputy Premier, Dr Sim Kui Hian; Peter Van Acker, Belgium ambassador to Malaysia; Francis Harden Hollis, Deputy Education, Innovation and Talent Development; and Siva Sundara Raja, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Investment Promotion & Facilitation, MIDA.

Melexis, a Belgium-based global microelectronics engineering company, has opened a US$75.76 million (RM356.5 million) wafer testing site, its largest globally, in the city of Kuching, in the East Malaysia state of Sarawak. This expansion signals Melexis' commitment to meeting the increasing demand for semiconductors and strengthening its presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

Marc Biron, CEO of Melexis said, “With an investment of €70 million (US$75.76 million), this opening underscore the ambition of Melexis and will ensure future growth. With Melexis, we are at the forefront of innovation, and this opening will support us in the markets that we serve.”

The expansion in Malaysia marks a significant milestone in the company’s 35-year journey to fulfil the growing global demand for semiconductors, which is expected to double in the next decade. It hosts 90 semiconductor wafer test equipments which is used to test Integrated Circuits (ICs). Melexis continues to innovate in edge sensors and edge drivers aimed at current and future applications in the mobility, sustainability, robotics, and health areas. The expansion will serve all these applications.

Placing the facility in Kuching, next to X-FAB's wafer foundry, one of Melexis' key suppliers headquartered in Germany, is a strategic move to streamline logistics and help reduce the company’s ecological footprint. Additionally, Kuching boasts a diverse, multilingual, entrepreneurial and skilled workforce, further enhancing recruitment potential.

The location of Malaysia in the Southeast Asian region, between the East and Western markets is also seen as advantageous by the Belgian based Melexis.

Aerial view of the X-Fab facility next to the Sarawak River.

Sustainable and future-proof 
The new 4-storey building, designed by award-winning Belgian architect Sebastian Mortelmans together with Sarawakian architects DNA, covers a ground surface of 4,500 sq m, making it the largest Melexis wafer testing site worldwide. The modern design referencing local longhouse architecture, incorporates advanced energy-saving systems, a solar installation that can generate 30,000 kWh per month, and minimises the environmental footprint.

Françoise Chombar, Chairwoman of the Board at Melexis, highlights the significance of the sustainable and future-proof building, stating, “Our continuous search for better solutions led us to this new, beautiful building that embodies the values of Melexis: innovation with heart, keeping in mind our people and the planet. We are proud of how sustainable the building is, having learned from previous experiences. This expansion will allow Melexis to serve the steadily increasing global demand for semiconductor solutions and signals our continued commitment towards our Asian customers.”

Additionally, like a longhouse, the facility is designed with future expansions in mind, ensuring adaptability and scalability to meet growing demands. It will foster the Research and Development activities that Melexis has recently started up in Kuching. Most of all, the building respects local traditions and has been designed to promote the well- being of the people working inside, allowing natural light to flow throughout the spacious modular offices as well as the manufacturing areas, and with views of the nearby Sarawak river and Mount Santubong.

Significance of Malaysia 
To broaden Melexis’ presence in the Asia-Pacific market, Malaysia is an optimal choice geographically, culturally, and economically. Both the local Sarawak government and federal Malaysian government actively support initiatives to grow the semiconductor ecosystem.

Zafrul Aziz, Minister of Investment, Trade, and Industry (MITI) said, “The opening of Melexis’ largest global wafer testing facility in Sarawak reflects Malaysia’s strong execution of investment projects, while further strengthening the country's position in the global semiconductor supply chain. As Melexis helps drive Malaysia’s technological advancement, it will also create significant socio-economic spillover that will benefit the surrounding businesses and communities, contributing to more inclusive and broad-based growth outlined in the New Industrial Master Plan 2030.”

The Ministry of International Trade, Industry and Investment (MINTRED) Sarawak added, “Melexis has made the right choice to invest in Sama Jaya High Tech Park, Kuching. With political stability, Sarawak is business friendly and welcomes investments that can create mutual benefits. Among the most preferred destinations for investment in Malaysia, Sarawak possesses many comparative advantages to grow and prosper such as strategic location, availability of green energy, talented workforce, and suitable land for industrial activities.”

Echoing these sentiments, Sikh Shamsul Ibrahim Sikh Abdul Majid, CEO of the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), stated, “By providing comprehensive assistance, we aim to create a conducive environment for technological growth and sustainability. This includes facilitating access to necessary resources and streamlining administrative processes. We assure to facilitate Melexis' integration into our ecosystem, ensuring they have the support needed to thrive and contribute significantly to our technological landscape.” 

Looking ahead: innovation and growth 
Melexis is also pursuing further collaborations with universities and other partners to promote regional innovation and growth. One such initiative is the Local Pioneer Talent Program, a collaboration with universities and Sarawak Microelectronics Design (SMD), a government agency focused on research and development, which officially began in 2023.


Related Stories :

Keyword(s) :
Author Name :
Download Digerati50 2020-2021 PDF

Digerati50 2020-2021

Get and download a digital copy of Digerati50 2020-2021