The founder and chairman of Farglory Group promised yesterday to donate NT$10 billion (US$333.33 million) to develop a medical and healthcare park in his hometown in Miaoli County.
Chao Teng-hsiung (趙藤雄), born to a poor family in the coastal Houlong Township (後龍), Miaoli County, and who began as an apprentice plasterer at the age of 15, told Miaoli County Commissioner Liu Cheng-hung (劉政鴻) that he would make sure the healthcare park was developed in Houlong to give Miaoli residents better access to medical facilities.
Construction of the park — which will feature a 685-bed hospital, a nursing home, a biotechnology research and development center and a cancer research center — is expected to start in the latter half of next year and to be operational in three years, Chao said.
Chao, whose assets exceed NT$200 billion, made the vow during a tea party at the Miaoli Dome Gym to mark the fifth anniversary of Liu becoming commissioner.
The self-made property magnate lauded Liu’s administrative team, which has worked to shorten administrative procedures for the healthcare park project to two years from five years.
In comparison, he said, his group’s plan to build a Taipei dome gym has lain stagnant for more than a decade, with no start date in sight for the project.
“It is not easy for corporations to contribute to society because of Taiwan’s political and administrative climate,” he said.
Despite that, Chao said, he was determined to build the medical center and healthcare park because about 47,000 Miaoli patients have to travel to big cities in northern or southern Taiwan for medical treatment, many of whom die while on the road.
About 37,000 people check into bigger hospitals in other cities and counties each year, staying for an average of seven days for treatment, prompting him to make the decision to set up the healthcare park, he said.