Apple to expand investment in Taiwan: science park bureau

CNA file photo

TAIPEI (CNA) — U.S. consumer electronics giant Apple Inc., one of the largest clients for many Taiwanese tech exporters, is planning to expand its investment in Taiwan by building a new plant in the Longtan section of Hsinchu Science Park, northern Taiwan, the science park bureau said Monday.

According to the investment application data obtained by CNA, the science park administration gave the greenlight to Apple’s Taiwan branch on Feb. 18 to set up a new plant in Longtan, Taoyuan, where the U.S. firm currently has operations.

Chang Shih-chang (張世昌), a former executive of TPO Displays, is expected to run the new Apple plant. TPO was acquired by flat panel maker Innolux Corp. in 2010.

Sources close to the investment plan said the new plant will be built on a 30.83 hectare plot as part of the second phase of the Longtan section.

While sources in the science park bureau declined to disclose any financial terms or product details about the new investment plan, the Taiwan-based Chinese language Economic Daily News reported earlier Monday that the investment is expected to be about NT$10 billion (US$334 million).

The report said Apple is likely to pour several billion Taiwan dollars into the initial phase of the investment plan to boost next generation monitor production as well as engage in monitor research and development.

The sources at the science park indicated that Taiwan’s Apple branch currently develops low temperature poly-silicon displays and metal-oxide-semiconductor screens along with quantum film image sensors.

The newspaper cited unnamed sources as saying the Longtan investment plan has been listed as a classified top project by Apple, adding that the U.S. brand values the investment plan highly and has dispatched an R&D team to Taiwan to facilitate the investment.

According to the report, Apple is planning to team up with Taiwan-based LED lighting maker Epistar Corp. and flat panel maker AU Optornics Corp. in monitor development in a bid to reduce the company’s dependence on Japanese and South Korean suppliers.

The report said Apple has had a lab in Longtan since 2014 and with the new investment, the company aims to roll out Mini LED and Micro LED related displays.

The report added that the Longtan plant is expected to become the third overseas R&D hub for Apple after Japan and South Korea.