Tue, Aug 15, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Science parks' sales to grow by 40%

NICE FIGURES The Hsinchu, Southern Taiwan and Central Taiwan Science Parks generated NT$1.4 trillion in sales last year, a figure set to be surpassed this year


Revenues generated by the nation's three leading science parks are expected to hit the NT$2 trillion (US$61.08 billion) mark this year, fueled by strong second-half demand across various high-tech industries, the National Science Council said yesterday.

The combined sales of Hsinchu Science Park (新竹科學園區), Southern Taiwan Science Park (南部科學園區) and Central Taiwan Science Park (中部科學園區) will grow by more than 40 percent this year to nearly NT$2 trillion, Tai Chien (戴謙), the council's deputy minister, told a press briefing.

Total sales last year were NT$1.4 trillion, according to the statistics from the council, which manages the three parks.

The Hsinchu park -- the nation's largest research and development center set up in 1980 -- will generate the biggest chunk of the sales by reporting NT$1.2 trillion for the year.

"There are downsides such as rising oil prices and inflation in the second half, but we still expect an upswing in the semiconductor and panel industries to help achieve stable growth for the year," said Randy Yen (顏宗明), Hsinchu park's deputy director-general.

The figure will break the record set in 2004, where revenues from the park passed the NT$1 trillion mark to hit NT$1.09 trillion, he added.

The momentum of the Hsinchu park was visible in the first six months with 21 percent sales growth over the last year, thanks to the pick-up in computer memory prices, increased chip orders and a production boost from panel makers, according to Yen.

Among major industries, the optoelectronics segment, which includes flat panels and solar energy, reported the highest sales increase of 54 percent during the first half of the year, while precision machinery was second with a 40 percent rise.

The southern park, meanwhile, saw a 51 percent increase in revenues in the same period to NT$212 billion. Full-year figures will reach NT$500 billion, up from last year's NT$353 billion, according to the park's deputy director-general Chen Chun-wei (陳俊偉).

Despite the rosy outlook, Tai said that more emphasis should be put on the solar energy, telecommunications and bio-tech medical equipment areas, in a bid to ensure the nation's competitiveness in the global high-tech landscape.

"More science companies with leading technologies are welcome to become a part of the parks," he said.

With the nation's first bullet train scheduled to enter service in October, this will link the high-tech clusters with the rest of the country, and attract more talent to work in central and southern Taiwan, he said.

The council said it will also obey directives from the Environmental Protection Administration, as it is its priority to protect the environment when running the parks.

Construction of the central park, which was established in 2003, raised many environmental concerns.

Yesterday morning, around 300 residents from Wuji township (烏日鄉), Taichung County protested against the building of a drainage system for polluted water citing possible leakage that could contaminate their drinking water.

"We will continue our efforts to talk with the residents at public hearings, as the science park will create increased job opportunities and boost the domestic economy," Tai said.

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