Fri, Nov 09, 2001 - Page 17 News List

Tainan Science Park gets back on track

INDUSTRY Officials have set aside an additional 400-hectare section for companies that may still be nervous about vibrations that may be caused by high-speed trains

By Dan Nystedt  /  STAFF REPORTER

Development projects in the Tainan Science-based Industrial Park are picking up steam despite the economic downturn, after Taiwan's largest semiconductor maker put to rest fears it might pull out due to vibrations from a yet-to-be-built high-speed railway, the head of the park said yesterday.

"Taiwan Semiconductor Manu-facturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) already resumed construction on their chip factory after a thorough assessment of the situation. For those who remain skeptical, we have opened a new zone far away from the train line," said Tai Chien (戴謙), director of the park.

Officials set aside an additional 400-hectare section of the park for companies still nervous about vibrations that may be generated by the high-speed rail. The new area is far enough away from the tracks to minimize vibration.

Two weeks ago TSMC said it would resume construction on a NT$100 billion state-of-the-art chip plant after a study showed vibrations from the planned railway would not affect its chip production.

Science-park officials called the decision a win for the park and now say that they hope to see the railway finished as soon as possible.

"The global economic downturn has had an impact on the science park. I hope the high-speed rail will eventually bring more people down to Tainan," Tai said.

The north-south rail system is expected to shorten a train trip from Taipei to Kaohsiung to 90 minutes. Tai believes the convenience brought by the high-speed rail will attract more business people. Officials from the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (台灣高鐵) are planning on it.

"A large area around the train station near the science park was set aside for a special development project. It will have hotels, a convention center, offices, a shopping mall, a few theme restaurants and other facilities. The area is targeted at businesspeople from Taipei. It's meant to be an overnight facility," said Corinna Fu (傅虹), spokeswoman at Taiwan High Speed Rail. The station is scheduled to be completed within the next three years.

Earlier this year, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said the science park may attract as much as NT$600 billion in investment over the next several years to southern Taiwan.

TSMC said it would invest NT$700 billion in six new chip plants in Taiwan, including five in the Tainan Science-based Industrial Park. The park will also be the cornerstone of Chi Mei Electronics Corp's (奇美電子) optoelectronics plans, an industry which includes products such as TFT-LCD monitors, CD-ROM, DVD and CD-recordable and CD-rewritable drives. In January, the company announced plans to spend NT$100 billion on 11 new factories.

Tai said 124 companies have already purchased space in the park, including 40 microchip firms, with 17 already up and running and three plants under construction. Another 10 lots have been set aside for telecom-related companies and 14 for optoelectronics makers. Biotechnology firms make up 11 of the total, including ScinoPharm-Taiwan Ltd (台灣神隆), a biopharmaceutical manufacturer.

Through the first eight months of this year, the 25 companies already operating in the science park took in NT$28.6 billion (US$828 million). For the year, park officials estimate total income will reach NT$48 billion (US$1.4 billion).

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