Intel’s news source for media, analysts and everyone curious about the company.

Intel Marks 40 Years in Malaysia

After 4 Decades in the Southeast Asian Country, a Glimpse at Intel's Early Years in Penang

This is Intel’s 40th year in Malaysia. In 1972, Intel opened the company’s first international manufacturing facility, an assembly plant in Penang. Since then, the company has expanded its presence in the country and now also operates facilities in Kulim and Kuala Lumpur.

Intel Penang Factory Construction

Intel invested $1.6 million to start its first offshore assembly plant in Penang in 1972. The factory, built in a muddy paddy field, later burned down. Intel Vice President and Oregon Site Manager Keith Thomson, who joined Intel in 1969, recalls that Intel was in production the next day at a nearby facility owned by National Semiconductor.

Thomson Lim Grove Ross in Penang

From left: Thomson, Dr. Lim Chong Eu, former chief minister of Penang, Andy Grove, who later became president and CEO of Intel, and Lou Ross, who served as CEO of Intel Malaysia, at a meeting in Penang in 1972.

Penang Visit Stuck in Mud

On a visit to the Penang plant, the car Grove and Thomson were riding in became mired in deep mud created by a monsoon. The two men walked the rest of the way and workers from the plant lifted the car from the mud and pushed it to solid ground.

Penang QC Factory Line

When the Penang plant opened, the workforce consisted of 100 batik-clad employees — the batik was created specifically for the Intel workers. Thomson recalls that at the time employees were promised transportation, a hot meal and uniform. The workers were predominantly women, here seen working at bonding stations, because they often performed better on dexterity tests.

Gordon Moore Penang Groundbreaking

In 1978 then-Intel President Gordon Moore (at center in dark blue shirt) visited Malaysia for the groundbreaking ceremony of another Penang facility.

Gordon Moore Penang Foundation

The author of Moore’s Law took a turn mortaring the foundation. Today, the Intel Penang campus has 10 buildings, including one of Intel’s largest assembly and test sites and a design and development center.

This content was originally published on the Intel Free Press website.

About Intel

Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) is an industry leader, creating world-changing technology that enables global progress and enriches lives. Inspired by Moore’s Law, we continuously work to advance the design and manufacturing of semiconductors to help address our customers’ greatest challenges. By embedding intelligence in the cloud, network, edge and every kind of computing device, we unleash the potential of data to transform business and society for the better. To learn more about Intel’s innovations, go to newsroom.intel.com and intel.com.

© Intel Corporation. Intel, the Intel logo and other Intel marks are trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries. Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.