Taipei, Feb. 25 (CNA) The National Science Council (NSC) said Friday that 43 Japanese firms are operating in three major science-based industrial parks in Taiwan, with investments totaling NT$77.8 billion (US$2.63 billion). As of Jan. 9, the Japanese firms, mostly in the optoelectronics, semiconductor, and precision machinery sectors, had 8,758 employees in the three science parks, according to statistics compiled by the NSC. The three science zones are the Hsinchu Science Park in northern Taiwan, the Central Taiwan Science Park in Taichung and the Southern Taiwan Science Park in Tainan and Kaohsiung. The Hsinchu Science Park has 14 Japanese firms operating there, while the Central Taiwan Science Park has 11 and the Southern Taiwan Science Park has 18, the NSC said. The three parks serve as powerhouses for Taiwan's high-tech industry. Many electronics heavyweights, such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and United Microelectronics Corp., the top two contract chip makers in the world, have facilities there. Market sources said the three science parks have been in talks with two potential Japanese investors as they have shown increasing interest in using Taiwan as an overseas production hub. According to the sources, Japanese intent to invest overseas has become obvious, in particular after the nuclear disaster seriously undermined the Japanese economy following the deadly earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March 2011. The head of the Hsinchu Science Park's administration bureau, Randy Yen, said the potential Japanese investors in the insulating material and optoelectronics equipment manufacturing sectors are negotiating with the park for possible investment. The Central Taiwan Science Park might also have new Japanese investors from the optoelectronics sector, according to Yang Wenke, head of the science park's administration bureau. In addition, the deputy director of the administration bureau of the Southern Taiwan Science Park, Lin Wei-cheng, said five Japanese firms, including one pharmaceutical company, have expressed interest in injecting funds into the park.
(By Huang Chiao-wen and Frances Huang)