Nanotech listed as key industry by government

William C. Pao, The China Post

The government recently announced its plan to add nanometer science, commonly known as nanotechnology, into its key strategic industry development project, a move that will encourage traditional and high-tech sectors to integrate the molecule-based technology into their manufacturing process. So far the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) has named IT, metallic electronics and civil petrochemical manufacturing as industries whose operations can be enhanced by the use of nanotech. Companies devoted to nanotechnology R&D will get tax incentives offered by the government under its plan to attract local and foreign players to develop key strategic industries, which already include 3C, precision electronic components, precision machinery, aviation, biotechnology, environmental protection technologies and the making of advanced manufacturing materials. The tax incentives have been effective since Jan. 1 this year and will expire on Dec. 31, 2003, after which they will go through a revision process.

By then, the plan will officially include nanotechnology as the eighth key strategic industry, pushing the former No. 8 spot, technological servicing industry, down to the ninth. The Industrial Development Bureau under MOEA has asked its IT, metallic electronics and petrochemical units to come up with a list of potential products that can use nanotechnology in the manufacturing process.

The bureau will also discuss nanotechnology applications with the Hsinchu-based Industrial Technology Research Institute. In addition to the key strategic industry development project, the government has proposed other plans to promote nanotechnology, which MOEA said could be a NT$300 billion industry by 2008, attracting over 800 companies devoted to R&D.