Sat, Feb 25, 2006 - Page 11 News List

Hsinchu Science Park feeling the heat over 7% fall

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Hsinchu Science Park (新竹科學園區) last year generated sales revenue of NT$985.5 billion (US$29.86 billion), a decrease of 7 percent from the previous year.

Reporting to the National Science Council yesterday, park officials said that a significant 26 percent drop in sales of computers and peripherals deserved serious attention.

According to the park's deputy director-general, Randy Yen (顏宗明), this first recession since 2001 could be regarded as a normal phenomenon given that the global economy struggled last year.

In addition, Yen said the growing foundry industry in China had also taken parts of the market previously held by Taiwanese firms.

"Demand for water and electricity in the park still grew last year. This means that reserves of some products, such as TFT-LCD [thin-film-transistor liquid-crystal-display] panels and DRAM [dynamic random access memory], contributed to the recession," Yen said.

Statistics show sales of computers and in the peripherals sector fell last year by 26 percent to NT$101.9 billion.

Sales in the integrated circuit (IC) and telecommunications sectors decreased by 7 percent to NT$685.7 billion and 6 percent to NT$48.1 billion respectively.

Sales in biotechnology, however, grew by 18 percent to NT$3 billion.

Sales in the precision machinery and optoelectronic sectors increased by 5 percent to NT$9.8 billion and by 7 percent to NT$3 billion respectively.

"In the optoelectronic sector, we noticed the potential of solar cells in a flourishing energy industry worldwide. Sales of solar cells grew last year by 29 percent to NT$700 million," Yen said.

The park's administration estimates that sales this year will increase to NT$1.2 trillion because several optoelectronics firms have begun to boost production.

"We also look forward to the revival of the IC industry, which could be driven by trendy digital TVs and other appliances," Yen said.

Statistics show that since 2001 exports to China have increased. Last year, exports to China (including Hong Kong) accounted for 44 percent of a total NT$494.2 billion.

The park's director-general, James Lee (李界木), said Taiwan had to face the reality that labor-intensive industries shifting production to China was inevitable.

"High-tech firms are seeking potential markets elsewhere, including India, whose software talents can be complementary to Taiwan's manufacturing-based economy," he said.

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