Government to invest billions in music venues

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

Mon, Nov 06, 2006 - Page 4

The government will invest NT$8.4 billion (US$255.3 million) to build two large performance venues for pop music, following the successful model of Hong Kong Stadium which has reaped great economic benefit, according to the Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD).

supporting growth

The investment aims to support the continued growth of Taiwan's pop music industry, which has already gained a strong foothold in Chinese-language music markets -- as well as to meet the rising demand for art, music and cultural events that have come with Taiwan's economic development and prosperity, a CEPD spokesman said.

As existing performance venues have been deemed insufficient to meet the current demand, the government has proposed turning Taiwan into an international art and pop music center with the construction of 10 major projects, including a Taipei new theater, a Wei-wu music center and a pop music industry center.

private investment

The Taipei new theater will be built in Banchiao City on a build-operate-transfer basis, and is expected to draw private investment of NT$10 billion.

The project will include a 2,000-seat theater, a 700-seat theater, a multifunctional performance area and an outdoor performance space.

The Wei-wu music center -- which would receive NT$8.4 billion in investment by the central government -- will be located in Kaohsiung's Weiwu camp (衛武營) district and include a 2,000-seat theatre, a 1,000-seat theater, an experimental theater, a 2,300-seat music hall and other facilities.

The pop music center is still under planning by the Council for Cultural Affairs but a final report is scheduled to be sent to the CEPD by the end of this month, a CEPD spokesman said.

The whole project is expected to be approved next month, he added.

Besides building the performance venues, the government also plans to offer training opportunities and a variety of equipment to new talent endeavoring to build a career in the industry, he said.