Taiwan is expected to have the most semiconductor foundries in the world by 2006, Minister of Economic Affairs Ho Mei-yueh (
Ho said that there are currently four 12-inch wafer plants in Taiwan, in addition to six under construction and two others that are to be built soon.
By 2006, Taiwan will have 10 12-inch semiconductor foundries, more than the US' seven, Japan's five and South Korea's two, Ho said.
Coupled with the existing 20 eight-inch, eight six-inch and three five-inch wafer plants, the competitiveness of Taiwan's semiconductor industry is expected to remain strong.
Ho made the remarks after some people expressed their concern that the nation may lose its competitiveness in the semiconductor sector, as the government is moving to further ease restrictions on chip investment across the Taiwan Strait.
After Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) started producing 5,000 eight-inch wafers per month in China by the end of last year, several Taiwanese chip firms also decided to set up plants on the mainland in a move to safeguard their market position.
Powerchip Semiconductor Corp (力晶半導體), the nation's biggest maker of memory chips for computers, announced late last month to build a less advanced plant in China, while local rival ProMOS Technologies Inc (茂德科技) also filed an application to the government to set up an eight-inch wafer fab across the strait.
Meanwhile, Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc (日月光), the world's second-largest chip-packaging service provider, had said it hopes the government will lift the ban on Taiwanese chip testers and packagers setting up plants in China.