Ma urges foreign firms to invest more


TAIPEI, Taiwan — President Ma Ying-jeou has urged foreign entrepreneurs to invest more in Taiwan, as the government has relaxed regulations and cut red-tape to improve its investment climate over the past three months.

Ma issued the call during a speech at a dinner in Taipei Tuesday hosted by the Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI), the only global industry association in Taiwan that serves the advanced manufacturing supply chain, especially in the area of semiconductor technology.

The banquet was held for high-tech leaders who are in Taipei to attend SEMICON Taiwan, which opened earlier that day at Taipei World Trade Center’s first and third exhibition halls.

Ma said the annual SEMICON Taiwan, which is in its 13th year, is the most comprehensive showcase of technology focused on microelectronics design, materials and manufacturing in Taiwan and that last year’s event drew nearly 40,000 visitors. The event has become one of the largest exhibitions in Taiwan over the past few years, he added.

More than 1,500 booths have been established by 750 companies from home and abroad at this year’s show, according to the president.

Taiwan’s semiconductor industry has developed into a high efficiency, low-cost manufacturing mode over the past 20 years, which has contributed to the country’s leading global status in 12-inch wafer production, Ma said, adding that it is estimated that local production value this year will reach NT$150 billion (US$4.71 billion).

SEMI is also holding the ICC-Taiwan 2008 at the Taipei World Trade Center’s second exhibition hall and the PV Power Expo Taiwan at the Taipei International Convention Center. ICC-Taiwan 2008 is an international forum showcasing IC solutions and technology for Taiwanese design engineers, while PV Power Expo Taiwan brings together experts from leading companies in the photovoltaic power industry who will give lectures during a series of forums on photovoltaic power.

Ma said the government plans to help develop industries related to solar photovoltaic power cells in an effort to combat global warming and the energy crisis, in the hope that solar power cells will account for 80 percent of the total cells produced in Taiwan in 2010.

Taiwan’s solar photovoltaic cell production value reached US$1.56 billion in 2007, ranking fourth in the world, according to government figures.