Fri, Jun 13, 2008 - Page 12 News List

Nanotechnology product makers urge government support to boost industry

LOW PENETRATION RATE Aside from higher prices, low customer awareness about the advantages of nano products have resulted in low sales, makers said

By Jerry Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER, WITH CNA

Unfamiliarity with and the high costs of nanotechnology products are the main reasons behind their weak sales in Taiwan, product makers said yesterday.

Taipei-based Tien Kuang Enterprise Co (電光企業), which manufactures sanitary wares, including toilets, lavatories and faucets under the brand name Alex, formerly known as “Tien Kuang,” said its stain-resistant nano toilets were less popular among customers given their higher prices.

The company said that nano toilets have a low penetration rate of between 5 percent and 10 percent as they are priced NT$2,000 to NT$3,000 higher than regular toilets.

“As a lot of buildings are now complexes, contractors usually choose regular toilets over nano toilets given cost concerns,” said David Cho (卓仕偉), an operations department manager at Tien Kuang.

Cho made the remarks during the opening yesterday in Taipei of the Sixth Taiwan Nano Exhibition, the second biggest of its kind in Asia, with a focus on the latest nano applications in household items.

The three-day fair features a variety of applications, including nano ceramics, nano light-emitting diodes (LED) and nanocatalysis.

Tien Kuang’s products were the first sanitary wares to be certified by the Ministry of Economic Affairs. The ministry established a certification system in 2005 to ensure quality and safety standards for Taiwan-made nano products.

The Taipei-based NeoGila Co (長陽實業), which manufactures leather and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) for sofas and furniture, and nano silver anti-bacterial household textile, said the use of nano materials adds nearly 30 percent to the company’s production costs.

Nano products offer better anti-bacterial protection and durability, but few customers are aware of their benefits, the company said.

“The government should consider incorporating a “nanoMark” into environmental labels to make nano products more popular,” company chairman Chen Chang-chuan (陳長全) said.

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