Wed, Aug 08, 2001 - Page 17 News List

Taiwan Salt adds to its product mix

By Kevin Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

While several financially troubled state-run companies are considering axing staff and streamlining operations, one seldom-mentioned government company -- Taiwan Salt Industrial Corp (臺鹽) -- is not only making money but also mulling marketing its products overseas.

"In researching new salt production technologies, we have also developed a series of health and beauty products, which we market in Hong Kong. We hope to also be selling such products in the US in September," the company's chairman, Yu Kuang-hwa (余光華), said yesterday.

The company's sea-salt products include shampoo, bath gel, facial cleanser and toothpaste. The secret ingredient found in all of the company's products is salt.

"An estimated NT$25 million to NT$30 million in revenue has been generated by our health and beauty products every month since they were launched in the domestic market late last year," Yu said. "We expect to see an annual revenue of NT$350 million from the sales of these products."

Taiwan Salt has become a model company after it began diversifying beyond its core business nearly 10 years ago, said Lin Wen-yuan (林文淵), vice chairman of the Commission of National Corporations under the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

"If Taiwan Salt had stuck to its core business [of salt making], then it would not have achieved such success," Lin said.

The traditional salt-maker was originally established in 1952 as the Taiwan Salt Works.

Robert Jan (詹壽全), president of JWL Enterprise Co Ltd (泛豐企業), which is a Taipei-based distributor for Taiwan Salt's latest products, said he is confident that the company's new line of products will fare well. The near-term annual sales target for Hong Kong market has been set at NT$100 million, he said.

Jan indicated he was slightly concerned about collaborating with a state-run company, many of which are known for their lack of flexibility in business maneuvering, as well as poor marketing and advertising capabilities.

Apart from salt-related products, the company is now building a collagen biomaterial plant at the Tainan Science Technology Industrial Park (台南科技工業區), Wang Chih-hang (王志漢), president of Taiwan Salt, said yesterday.

About one quarter of all of the protein in the human body is collagen. Collagen is a major structural protein, forming "molecular cables" that strengthen the tendons and vast, resilient sheets that support the skin and internal organs.

The plant is scheduled to be completed by December, with commercial production set to begin by in early 2002, he said.

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