Mon, Feb 27, 2012 - Page 11 News List

Burrill & Co to set up Taiwan office

STRATEGIC POSITION:The US-based biotech and medical investment bank sees Taiwan as a gateway to the region, especially for its proximity to the China market

Staff Writer, with CNA, Washington

Burrill & Company, a US life sciences merchant bank that focuses exclusively on companies involved in biotechnology and the international medical industry, said on Friday it will set up an office in Taiwan as part of a global investment plan.

“Taiwan is in a strategically important region that offers tremendous opportunities,” Steven Burrill, CEO of Burrill & Company, said in a statement.

By investing in Taiwan, the company can broaden its access to emerging markets in China and East Asia, the San Francisco-based company said, adding that the office will also offer Taiwanese companies a window on innovation in the West and can help them grow into players on the global stage.

Marietta Wu (巫薈), general manager of Burrill & Company’s greater China operations, will serve as manager of the office and will be in charge of investments in Taiwanese firms.

Burrill participated in a BioBusiness Asia forum held by the semi-official Industrial Technology Research Institute last year during his last visit to Taiwan.

With an eye on the great business potential in the China market, Burrill has suggested that Taiwan take advantage of its relations with China to enter the market.

The Council for Economic Planning and Development said last year the company, with US$1.5 billion in assets under management, had agreed to a US$30 million investment in Taiwanese firms.

Separately, 43 Japanese firms are operating in three major science-based industrial parks in Taiwan, with investments totaling NT$77.8 billion (US$2.63 billion), the National Science Council said on Friday.

As of Jan. 9, the Japanese firms, mostly in the optoelectronics, semiconductor, and precision machinery sectors, had 8,758 employees in the three science parks, according to statistics compiled by the council.

The Hsinchu Science Park (新竹科學園區) has 14 Japanese firms operating there, while the Central Taiwan Science Park (中部科學園區) has 11 and the Southern Taiwan Science Park (南部科學園區) has 18, the council said.

Market sources said the three science parks have been in talks with two potential Japanese investors as they have shown increasing interest in using Taiwan as an overseas production hub.

According to the sources, many Japanese firms have shown a clear intention to shift investment overseas following the deadly earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March last year.

The head of the Hsinchu Science Park’s administration bureau, Randy Yen (顏宗明), said potential Japanese investors in the insulating material and optoelectronics equipment manufacturing sectors are negotiating with the park.

The Central Taiwan Science Park might also have new Japanese investors in the optoelectronics sector, the head of the science park’s administration bureau, Yang Wen-ke (楊文科), said.

In addition, deputy director of the administration bureau of the Southern Taiwan Science Park, Lin Wei-cheng (林威呈), said five Japanese firms, including one pharmaceutical company, have expressed interest in investing in the park.

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