SAN JOSE, Calif. -- South Korean companies have started discussions on the creation of a chip manufacturing center in the Islamic state of Brunei, according to a report from the Brunei Direct website.
The discussions had been disclosed by the Korean ambassador to Brunei, Kim Woong-nam, the report said. The ambassador expressed optimism over "some Korean companies' interest in investments in Brunei in the field of computer chip manufacturing", and added that "negotiations were under way," it added.
No names or timescales were given, but South Korean companies were said to be responding to a call for inward investment issued by Brunei. The report added that the negotiations concerned plans to establish a computer chip manufacturing joint venture near the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan.
Brunei is an oil-rich state best known for the astounding wealth of its Sultan, and its tax-free subsidized society. But it would now appear to be following other oil-rich states in trying to use its oil wealth to diversify its economy.
Brunei's move towards chip manufacturing, with the support of Korea, echoes the formation of the 'Dubai Silicon Oasis' in the Gulf State of Dubai.
Dubai crown prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced the plan for Dubai to become a semiconductor manufacturing location October 12, 2002 and Dubai is already a financial backer of Communicant Technologies AG, a startup silicon-germanium foundry being constructed at Frankfurt-Oder in eastern Germany (see October 14, 2002, story).
Brunei, with a population of just 280,000 people, lies on the northwest coast of Borneo, facing the South China Sea.