Mon, Jul 26, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Taiwanese firms in China struggle with power shortages

CNA , TAIPEI

Taiwanese companies with manufacturing operations in China have been making contingency arrangements against chronic power shortages, which are expected to worsen this year, business and industrial sources said yesterday.

Taiwanese companies or individuals with trade or manufacturing operations in China -- better known as taishang (台商) -- have been adopting various measures, including altering work shifts and acquiring their own generators to help tide them over difficulties incurred from persistent power shortages, particularly in the southern and eastern parts of the country.

Some Taiwanese businesspeople said that not only have electricity prices skyrocketed since the beginning of summer, increasing their overhead costs, chronic power shortages are seen to be aggravated further, from only during the summer months to the whole of the year.

According to some China-based Taiwanese businesspeople, manufacturers of electronic components and parts operating in the Dongguan, Guangdong Province area, they have been plagued with power shortages for the past two to three years, but have found that the situation is even worse this summer.

Currently, the taishang said, it is considered "normal" if the electricity is supplied three days out of five during the working week. Some areas now only get power for two days out of five, they added.

To meet the difficulties, they said, they have had to buy their own diesel generators to ensure their power supplies, but this is not sufficient to power heavy-duty machinery.

To get around the dilemma, Ji-Haw Industrial Co (今皓實業), a Taiwanese maker of electronic connectors, has moved part of its manufacturing operations from the mainland to Thailand as a support operation so that production can continue when the company faces mainland power shortages.

However, many of the Taiwanese companies said they have not been affected by the power shortages at all.

China Motors Co (中華汽車), for example, said that their manufacturing operations in Fujian Province have been normal since adopting a flexible work schedule to meet the challenge of power rationing by the provincial government.

Yulon Motors Co (裕隆汽車), whose manufacturing operations are centered in Wuhan, Hubei Province and Huadu, Guangdong Province, said they have not been adversely affected by power rationing.

Walsin Lihwa Group (華新麗華), whose operations are scattered around Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Hubei and Guangdong Provinces as well as Shanghai, said none of their offshoot companies on the mainland has reported such letdowns.

Mitac International Corp (神達電腦) said that both of its computer manufacturing operations in Foshan, Guangdong Province and Kunshan, Jiangsu Province, have not been affected.

Acer Inc said that although it maintains many business operations on the mainland, they are only offices and not manufacturing plants, so that steady supplies of electricity are not so crucial.

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