Manufacturing to grow in 2014: research institute

By Ted Chen, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The manufacturing sector is poised to post a 3.42-percent growth in 2014, exceeding the 2.73 percent recorded last year by 0.7 percentage points, according to the Industrial Economics and Knowledge Research Center (IEK) under the Industrial Technology Research Institute.

According to the IEK, the information technology sector will see the most rapid growth at an estimated 5.38 percent, followed by the petrochemical industries at 3.79 percent, the commodities sector at 2.16 percent, and the metals and machinery industries at 1.37 percent. In addition, the International Monetary Fund released a report upgrading global economic growth from 2.9 to 3.6 percent, in which the organization noted that the American market’s performance has been upgraded from 1.6 to 2.6 percent, while the eurozone’s performance is expected to improve from minus 0.4 to 1 percent. Taiwan’s manufacturing sector is expected to benefit from the confluence of emerging economic recovery and reduction in risk of operations observed throughout the globe, said the IEK. The information technology and electronic sector remains Taiwan’s leading growth driver, and this year expanded by 4.52 percent. With numerous systems providers and brands poised to release a flurry of new wearable devices such as smart watches and eyewear, coupled with Intel and Microsoft’s joint efforts in revamping the latter’s PC operating system through the Windows 8.1 update and introduction of a variety of groundbreaking new applications, Taiwan’s leading edge in manufacturing is expected to reap tremendous benefits. However, several issues remain in the sector, such as the retreat from flagship-tier to medium-range smartphones in the developed markets, which may dilute margins previously enjoyed by the sector. In addition, handset makers’ efforts in reaching out to developing markets are hampered by funds which are more direly required in enterprises’ origin nations. The IEK stated that handset makers would be significantly affected if their ventures into the developing markets falter. On the commodities sector front, the IEK observed that consumer spending has been strengthening, to the boon of industries. Growth in the sector is primarily propelled by strong performances posted by the food and beverages industries, followed by the textile industry, whose sales have increased tremendously due to the demand for specialty materials, in particular products that feature technology designed for comfort in hot or cold weather. The IEK also commended domestic textile enterprises for actively developing new and unique products able to suit the demands of clients worldwide.