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Sat, Feb 12, 2000 - Page 2 News List

NSC plans hi-tech zone expansion

PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE The National Science Council has unveiled its plans for new science-based industrial complexes to boost Taiwan's tech sector output


Coinciding with Vice President Lien Chan's (連戰), announcement of a 12-point plan for the future of Taiwan's high-tech development yesterday, the National Science Council (NSC, 國科會) also made public a plan covering the country's science-based industrial parks.

The NSC said more industrial parks are to be created to form two main high-tech industrial regions in Taiwan by the end of 2003. The officials said that the area for science-based industrial parks would be doubled, boosting the total value of output to NT$1.3 trillion dollars.

According to the plan, the boundary of the Hsinchu Science-based Industrial Park (新竹科學工業園區) would be extended into Miaoli County (苗栗) by building satellite bases in the remote townships of Chunan (竹南) and Tunglo (銅鑼), forming a high-tech industrial cluster creating NT$1 trillion-worth of output and providing 120,000 job opportunities.

In southern Taiwan, NSC officials said the Tainan Science-based Industrial Park (台南科學工業園區) -- still in the planning stages -- would be expanded to include a high-tech industrial area, covering 1,500 hectares of land from Tainan to Kaohsiung counties. It would create NT$300 billion-worth of output and 40,000 job opportunities.

"Dispersing the overly concentrated high-tech industry can lower risks," said NSC chairman Huang Chen-tai (黃鎮台), referring to the fact that two major incidents last year -- the July 29 islandwide power blackout, and the devastating 921 earthquake -- had demonstrated the vulnerability of highly-concentrated science-based industrial parks.

Huang said that NT$30 billion had been earmarked to carry out the plan, to cover feasibility studies selecting sites for building satellite bases in southern Taiwan.

Within two months, a special team composed of experts from industry, academia, and the government would select several townships in southern Taiwan as sites for the industrial parks, Huang said.

"First, we have to consider the future demands for both water and electricity in southern Taiwan, then pick out proper sites," Huang said, adding the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA, 經濟部) had promised to meet demands for the industrial parks.

Huang said that both the Tainan and Kaohsiung county governments welcomed the plan and had promised to help the science council to obtain land.

However, the council recognized the difficulties presented by southern Taiwan's unique situation. The scarcity of water resources caused by both natural and man-made factors has posed problems for seven southern local governments since the early 1990s.

Since last December, the passage of an environmental impact assessment for the Pinnan Industrial Complex (濱南工業區) has been heavily criticized for the government's lack of attention to the region's insufficient water supply.

The MOEA's Water Resource Bureau said the available water supply totals around 80,000 tons a day, but the complex, as it is planned, would require around 190,000 tons a day.

NSC officials said yesterday that factories in the newly planned industrial parks would recycle 75 percent of their waste water, while using seawater desalination technology to meet additional needs.

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