Wed, May 15, 2002 - Page 17 News List

Hsinchu makes room for fabs

GROWING PAINS The over-crowded Hsinchu Science-based Industrial Park now has some breathing space after acquiring land from the military. Macronix and Winbond now plan to invest more than NT$200 billion

By Chiu Yu-tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

A couple sit in front of a mobile phone advertisement billboard in Chengdu, China, yesterday. Chipmakers in Taiwan are expanding production facilities in anticipation of growing demand for mobile-phone chips in the Middle Kingdom.

PHOTO: AFP

Taiwan's Hsinchu Science-based Industrial Park will expand by 29.2 hectares, thanks to land acquired from the Ministry of National Defense, officials said yesterday.

The new space at the crowded, 605-hectare industrial park will make room for two additional 12-inch chip fabs and an IC design center.

DRAM makers Macronix International Co (旺宏電子) and Winbond Electronics Corp (華邦電子) will build the advanced fabs, investing more than NT$200 billion in what officials hope will create more than 3,000 new jobs.

The land, formerly the Du-hsing military base (篤行營區), originally belonged to the army and was transferred to the National Science Council in November.

At a ceremony yesterday, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said the land transfer "marks the government's determination to back the development of the high-tech industry."

New facilities on the land are expected to be completed by 2005.

The president said a partnership between the public and private sector made the project possible. Chen also praised the defense ministry, which agreed to relocate the army base to make room for the high-tech firms.

Because of rapid growth and high concentration of tech companies, the Hsinchu Science-based Industrial Park is known as Taiwan's Silicon Valley.

The park is home to 312 technology firms, including the nation's two biggest chipmakers, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) and United Microelectronics Corp (聯電).

But a shortage of space at the park has forced companies to look to places such as Singapore to set up new chip fabs.

After an environmental impact assessment was completed and the 29.2 hectares rezoned for industrial use, the project was able to move ahead yesterday.

Officials say a sewage treatment plant will also be built on the property to treat waste water generated from the firms.

Yesterday's ground-breaking ceremony was hosted by Wei Che-ho (魏哲和), chairman of the National Science Council, and James Lee (李界木), the park's director.

"We hope to complete construction by the end of 2005," Wei said.

Hsinchu County Commissioner Cheng Yung-chin (鄭永金) and Hsinchu Mayor Lin Junq-tzer (林政則) were also on hand yesterday.

Earlier this month, officials from the National Science Council said that a fault line running through the property shouldn't be a problem. Under the property's environmental impact assessment, buildings will be required to be 50m from each other.

Tougher building codes have also been adopted.

According to geologists from National Taiwan University, who inspected the fault line, the area has been inactive for roughly more 30,000 years, although that doesn't preclude the possibility of future seismic activity.

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