Mon, Mar 08, 2004 - Page 11 News List

Tainan science park looks for Japanese cooperation

Tai Chien, director-general of Southern Taiwan Science Park Administration, talked with `Taipei Times' staff reporter Lisa Wang last week in Tainan about the current situation in the Southern Taiwan Science Park and his plans for pushing for further collaboration between local firms and Japanese component suppliers


Director-general of Southern Taiwan Science Park Administration Tai Chien wants the Tainan science park to compete on an equal footing with its Hsinchu rival.


TT: You predicted recently that the production value of occupants in the park will double to NT$250 billion, or even NT$300 billion this year, boosted by the recovery in the global economy. Will such a high growth persist over the next few years?

Tai Chein (戴謙): I believe that the growth momentum will carry into the next years as we can see a lot of huge companies are scheduled to have their advanced factories start full operations during the same period. Many semiconductor, optoelectronics and biotechnology companies have established their production facilities in the park.

Take Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電). The chipmaker's 14A plant, which is an advanced 12-inch wafer fab, is set to start full production during the last quarter this year. Construction of 14A plant's second-phase expansion work is also underway.

TSMC's rival United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電), its 12A, a 12-inch fab, has already started full production, and the company has decided to increase its investment here by renting four hectares of land adjacent to the 12A fab for a new research and development center.

With those capacity expansion plans, I believe the park will gradually evolve into one of the nation's most important high-tech manufacturing centers. Last year we attracted 34 companies to set up factories here, with annual revenue hitting NT$103.1 billion, a leap of 50.6 percent from a year ago. As a result, we estimate that the total production value will soar to more than NT$1 trillion within the next five years after hitting the NT$300 billion target this year.

TT: The optoelectronics sector is the main driving force of the park, creating NT$89.7 billion in sales last year that accounted for 57.8 percent of the park's annual revenue. What's your view about the flat-panel manufacturers here?

Tai: When Taiwanese liquid-crystal-display (LCD) panel makers are taking on their South Korean competitors for the position of the world's biggest suppliers of such pricey panels used almost everywhere from mobile phones to luxury flat-screen TVs, the government wants to give a hand.

Here you can see new plants with the logos of Taiwan's No.2 flat-panel maker Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp (奇美電子) on them. Driving along the main road of the park, you will also find HannStar Display Corp (瀚宇彩晶) and Corning Inc of the US, the world's biggest supplier of LCD glass, on traffic signs. HannStar's advanced fifth-generation factory will start mass production next quarter and its sixth-generation factory will also start full operation by the end of 2005.

But, there's still a lot of things to be done before making the park the biggest manufacturing center of the LCD panel industry, a target that was set when the park was created seven years ago. Bringing local flat-panel makers and their component suppliers to the Southern Taiwan Science Park, where the cluster effect is growing, is one of the government's efforts to help that dream come true at a faster pace.

TT: What will be your next step to help make the park the biggest manufacturing center of the LCD industry in Taiwan?

Tai: Our top priority is to establish a complete supply chain in the park in order to ensure stable supplies of key components such as LCD glasses to Chi Mei and HannStar, which already have their advanced factories running here.

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