CNA

TAIPEI — The founder and chairman of the Farglory Group, one of Taiwan’s major property development and construction companies, promised Monday to donate NT$10 billion (US$333.33 million) to develop a medical and health care park in his hometown in Miaoli County, northern Taiwan. Chao Teng-hsiung, born in Miaoli’s coastal township of Houlong into a Hakka poor family and who began to serve his apprenticeship as a plasterer at age 15, told Miaoli Magistrate Liu Cheng-hung that he will make sure the health care park is developed in Houlong to help Miaoli residents have access to better medical attention. Construction of the park — which will feature a 685-bed hospital, a nursing home, a biotechnology research and development center and a cancer research center — is expected to start in the latter half of 2011 and to become operational in three years, Chao said. Chao, whose assets exceed NT$200 billion, made the vow during a tea party at the Miaoli Dome Gym to mark the fifth anniversary of Liu becoming magistrate. The self-made property magnate lauded Liu’s administrative team, which has worked to shorten the administrative procedure of the health care park development project to two years from five years. In comparison, he said, his group’s plan for building a Taipei dome gym has lain stagnant for over a decade with no date in sight for the project to start. “It is not easy for business corporations to contribute to society because of Taiwan’s political and administrative climate,” he said. Despite that, Chao went on, he is determined to build the medical center and health care park, as around 47,000 Miaoli patients have to travel to the big cities in northern or southern Taiwan for medical treatment, many of whom die while on the road. About 37,000 of the total check into bigger hospitals in other cities and counties each year, staying for an average of seven days for treatment, prompting him to make the decision to set up the health care park, he added.