Sat, Apr 25, 2009 - Page 4 News List

Premier to work with China on LEDs

RISKMotech chairman Simon Tsuo said the local solar industry’s focus on cell and wafer manufacturing led Taiwan to lag behind in development of a domestic market

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) said yesterday that Taiwan would standardize light-emitting-diode (LED) products with China to tap into the global market in the face of intense competition from Japan, South Korea, Germany and the US.

Liu said the government would talk with its Chinese counterpart to reach an agreement on the standardization of LEDs and a certification system in June as part of the government’s “Bridge-Building Plan (搭橋計畫),” which is aimed at establishing a platform for cross-strait industrial cooperation.

Cross-strait cooperation in the LED illumination industry will turn Taiwan and China into “a global production center of LED products,” Liu said.

Liu made the remarks when speaking to executives of Epistar Corporation (晶元光電) during his visit to the country’s biggest supplier of high brightness LED (HB LED) epiwafers and chips.

The proposal garnered positive response from Epistar, with general manager Chou Ming-chun (周銘俊) saying that the government should cooperate with China to boost the LED industry.

“China has spared no efforts in subsidizing its LED and illumination industry, and that has prompted low-price competition with Taiwan,” Chou said.

He said that technological breakthroughs in South Korea and China in recent years also posed a threat to Taiwan’s LED industry.

“Cooperating with China would help local industries explore the Chinese market,” he said.

Earlier yesterday, Liu visited Motech Industrial Inc, the world’s eighth largest manufacturer of solar cells, to promote his Cabinet’s recent proposal to develop the renewable energy industry. Stressing the government’s determination to develop the country’s renewable energy sector, Liu said the Cabinet would establish a special team for resolving difficulties facing the renewable resources industry.

“It would be a service-oriented platform supported by all government agencies because it will respond to any requests in a rapid way,” Liu said.

Motech chairman Simon Tsuo (左元淮) told Liu that focusing primarily on cell and wafer manufacturing with a limited presence in the upstream raw materials market and the downstream applications market was a potential risk for Taiwanese solar firms.

“Despite holding a key position in the supply chain of the global solar industry, Taiwan lags behind in the development of a domestic consumer market for solar applications,” he said.

Tainan County Commissioner Su Huan-chih (蘇煥智) of the Democratic Progressive Party urged Liu to revise any regulations that make businesses hesitant to invest in solar energy.

“The government should relax restrictions on the use of farmland and salt fields and expand tax incentives to the solar industry,” Su said.

In related developments, Liu said revision of property declaration regulations that prevent some executives from taking positions with state-owned institutions was “an urgent matter.”

He made the remarks in response to several recent resignations by government officials at institutions like the Industrial Technology Research Institute of Taiwan.

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