MOEA sets private investment goal at NT$700 billion for 2004

Nov 03, 2003 Ι Industry In-Focus Ι Furniture Ι By Ken, CENS
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Taipei, Nov. 3, 2003 (CENS)--The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) has projected the private investment in Taiwan at around NT$700 billion (US$20.5 billion at US$1:NT$34) next year, with the information-technology sector estimated to account for 66% of the total investment.

Of the planned NT$459 billion (US$13.5 billion) investments by the island's IT industry, semiconductor and video display will jointly constitute the largest portions of over NT$200 billion (US$5.8 billion) and NT$130 billion (US$3.8 billion), respectively.

However, local industry watchers estimated that the investment goal for the island's semiconductor industry is hard to achieve and that for the local video display industry is attainable. For a long time, the semiconductor industry has been the major capital spender on the island.

The MOEA estimated a sixth-generation TFT-LCD (thin-film transistor liquid-crystal display) factory will cost between NT$50 billion (US$1.5 billion) and NT$70 billion (US$2 billion) to build. Chunghwa Picture Tube has begun constructing such a factory while AU Optronics Corp. and Quanta Display Inc. plan to construct similar factories next year. Also, Asahi Glass Co. of Japan will expand glass-substrate production in Taiwan next year.

Formosa Plasma Display Corp., a plasma-display panel (PDP) venture between Formosa Plastics Group (FPG) and Fujitsu Hitachi Plasma Display Limited (FHP), recently planned to construct a second factory after completing its first factory in June this year. The planned factory costs around NT$16 billion (US$470 million) and is designed to have more capacity than the first factory.

Inotera Corp., a chip-making affiliate of the FPG, planned to spend around NT$83.2 billion (US$2.4 billion) on a 12-inch silicon-wafer fab this year. The factory is scheduled to begin production by the end of next year. The company plans to construct a second facility of this kind some time next year. Details concerning investment in the second plant are not clear yet.

Winbond Electronics Corp. and Nanya Technology Corp. have continued their 12-inch wafer investments and they may speed up the plans if the world semiconductor market keeps booming next year.

The Consumer-end chemical industry is estimated to inject capital totaling NT$160 billion (US$4.7 billion) for expansion in Taiwan next year. Most of the capital will be contributed by the NT$120 billion (US$3.5 billion) fourth-stage construction of the FPG's sixth naphtha cracker plant. Some NT$50 billion and NT$70 billion will go to the construction this year and next, respectively.

Also, an NT$18 billion (US$529 million) chemical investment plan is shaping up at the Taichung Port Integrated Industrial Park in central Taiwan.

Metal and electrical machinery industries are estimated to invest a total of NT$76 billion (US$2.2 billion) in Taiwan next year. The investment plans include the steel-investment plans valued at over NT$10 billion (US$294 million) the Taichung port industrial park is competing for. ASML of Holland, the world's largest lithography-equipment supplier, is estimated to invest NT$17.5 billion (US$514.7 million) in a facility in Taiwan to produce equipment for making seventh-generation flat display panels. Unasix of Swiss plans to spend NT$1 billion (US$29 million) on R&D, logistic and manufacturing centers in Taiwan next year.

The technological service industry is estimated to invest NT$40 billion (US$1.1 billion) as a whole in Taiwan next year mainly in light of the thriving development of the chip design industry.
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