On January 14 officials at the Central Taiwan Science Park (CTSP) said they anticipate the park's annual business revenue will reach almost $31bn in the next 10 years, up from a little over $8bn in 2007. They predicted that in a decade's time, 80,000 more jobs would be created, adding to the 185,100 that already exist within the park.
The CTSP is an important centre for the development of the island's major technology industries, targeting optoelectronics, semiconductors, precise machinery, biotechnology, computer periphery and digital content. There are 14 types of technology-based products made within the CTSP, including integrated circuit foundries and packaging, mask ROMs, LCD monitors, notebooks and related hardware including routers and modems, as well as various CDs and DVDs. Taiwan thrives on these industries for its export-based economy.
One of the tenants, Taiwan's PowerChip Semiconductor Company (TPSC), is the largest DRAM (dynamic random access memory) manufacturer in Taiwan. TPSC and Japan-based semiconductor producer Elpida Memory created Rexchip Electronics Corp (REC) as a joint venture late last year with a combined investment that is slated to reach $13.8bn. REC expects to have fourteen 12-inch wafer fabrication facilities in the park by the end of 2008, anticipating sales to account for more than one-third of the world's DRAM chips by 2009.
The park, which occupies a total of a little over 765 hectares and has three centres based at Taichung, Howli and Yunlin, currently provides space for 776 manufacturers. However, the National Science Council (NSC) said that 386 ha of this land are taken up for roads, public use and green areas. As a result, the NSC reported only Yunlin currently has space to spare with just 3.2 ha available. There are currently about 55 companies on the waiting list to set up their facilities within the CTSP.
As a result, the companies already within the park are competing for space. Chungwa Picture Tubes recently stated it planned to relinquish around 21 ha of its land at the Howli centre. AU Optronic (AUO) Taiwan's leading LCD producer and Sunner Solar, an emerging solar component manufacturer, both stated they were hoping to take over the lease.
On January 8, CTSP administration officials said they would lease 16 ha of the land to AUO and the remaining to Sunner. AUO currently leases around 47.57 ha of land at Howli and said it would use the additional property to set up two more latest generation plants and more capacity for making other LCD components. Sunner Solar, currently leases 14 ha.
Because Taiwan is aiming to become a major photoelectric technology source for solar energy by 2020, the country has taken considerable steps to increase its global share in this lucrative alternative energy market. In 2005, the Taiwanese PowerChip Group helped establish the Neo Solar Power Company to develop solar energy components. Both companies benefit from the investment in solar energy manufacturing due to overlapping research and technology that allow for easy integration between the two industries.
To remain innovative Taiwan is also looking to develop its traditional industries with its high-tech industries. Integrating the two means the cost of purchasing component parts and equipment for high-tech industries could be reduced significantly when done all in one park.
In a cabinet meeting in late December 2007, the government emphasised that Taichung is to become an industrial centre in the Asia-Pacific region for information technology manufacturing with a full range of capabilities. It was suggested that integration with its optoelectronics, semiconductor and photoelectric industries with CTSP as its core, would promote a cluster of industrial parks that will further support the high tech and traditional industries, thus benefiting the economy as a whole.
This is already being seen in the area around the Yunlin Station, one of the destinations for the new bullet train that goes from southern Taiwan to the north. The surrounding area is being developed and has recently become an urban centre. With the CTSP expanding towards this direction, the district is considered the most well-planned and functional areas in the country. The new station is planned to be at the core of the 422-hectare district, surrounded by an industrial park, university and hospital as well as zones for sports, administration and residences.