Sat, Oct 25, 2003 - Page 10 News List

Southern science park welcomes journalist delegation

By Bill Heaney  /  STAFF REPORTER , IN TAINAN

The Southern Taiwan Science Park (南部科學園區) -- formerly known as the Tainan Science-based Industrial Park -- yesterday welcomed a delegation of foreign journalists here on a fact-finding tour as part of the government's 2003 Taiwan Business Alliance foreign investment conference.

Originally opened in 1996 to attract more of the nation's high-technology sector to the comparatively poor southern part of Taiwan, 70 percent of the 638-hectare first phase of the park is already occupied by facilities that are in production, park administration director general Tai Chien (戴謙) said yesterday.

The remaining 30 percent has been leased, he added, and existing tenants of the park -- thin-film transistor liquid-crystal display (TFT-LCD) flat panel makers Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp (奇美電子) and Hannstar Display Corp (瀚宇彩晶) -- have already booked-up a third of the 400 hectares available for the second phase of development on the same site in Tainan that is expected to see working factories next year.

After Chi Mei, the next largest investors in the park were the world's two biggest manufacturers of made-to-order computer chips Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) and United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電).

In 2001, the park suffered a "nightmare" when chipmakers threatened to pull out of the park after finding out the nation's north-south high-speed railway that now bisects the park would cause vibrations that could disrupt their delicate manufacturing processes, Tai said. The solution came when biotechnology companies, which are not sensitive to the vibrations, chose to locate on the corridor of land either side of the railtrack, Tai added.

The success of chip and flat-panel makers has drawn other companies that supply parts and components to these industries into the park creating what spokeswoman Magnolia Hsing (辛玉蘭) calls a "cluster" effect.

The next cluster to be developed is now focusing on telecommunications technologies and is located in Luchu in Kaohsiung County. A dozen companies are already in operation in the Luchu site, Hsing said.

The park has secured US$39 billion in investment to date and its occupants are expected to make US$4.3 billion in revenue this year, up from US$3 billion last year, Hsing said.

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