The major industries in Taiwan

TAIWAN: MAJOR INDUSTRIES

The major industries in Taiwan are electronics, petroleum refining, armaments, chemicals, textiles, iron and steel, machinery, cement, food processing, vehicles, consumer products, pharmaceuticals.

We can have a look at the major industries one by one and then do an analysis on the investment opportunities on one of them.

SEMICONDUCTOR INDUSTRY

Taiwan has truly emerged as a global leader in the semiconductor and microelectronics industry and serves as the home of the world's top IC foundries, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (TSMC) and United Microelectronics (UMC), which hold a majority of the market share.

Taiwan is also an important player in Mask ROM production, IC packaging and IC testing, accounting for 57.1%, 32% and 36% of global market shares respectively. Taiwan-based Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc (ASE) and Siliconware Precision Industries (SPIL) lead the IC packaging industry, while ASE Test and ChipMOS Technologies lead the IC testing industry.

Taiwan's IC design industry has ranked second only to the US, accounting for 28.4% of the market worldwide. Media Tek, VIA, Realtek and Sunplus are among the top 20 IC design houses. Taiwan ranks as the world's 3rd largest maker of DRAM components, supplying 17.1% of the market. Taiwan also serves as a key IC market, with a value of US$11 billion in 2002, representing 25.7% of the market in Asia and 8.1% of the global market.

Competitive Advantage and Market Strengths

Taiwan plays a major role in the global semiconductor industry, as the unique structure of its IC industry fosters close cooperation among diverse yet essential elements in the value chain, ranging from IC design and manufacturing to packaging and testing.

Investment Opportunities and Market Potential

The National Si-Soft Project was launched in 2003 in an effort to upgrade Taiwan's IC industry from mainly contract manufacturing to R&D and innovation oriented production. The project aims to make Taiwan the one-stop shop for IC designs, mix-and-match intellectual properties, manufacturing, and testing.

The National Si-Soft Project is devoted to developing System-on-Chip (SoC) infrastructure in Taiwan. Specific contents of the Si-Soft Project include automation software, silicon intellectual property (IP), embedded software, and system single chip, which are all essential in IC design. New IC designs will in turn drive the development of information household appliances, photoelectricity, internet technologies, energy, communication, biological chips, and nanotechnology.

The project offers various benefits such as:

  • Providing available IP sources and a more simplified transaction flow for the IC design industry (including design services), in order to decrease the time required for IC design.
  • Improving the competitiveness of practitioners in the system industry as they realize the system knowhow in their own SoC
  • Effectively cultivating star IP vendors in the IP industry
  • Attracting more customers with value-added products (more complete IP features) for chip manufacturers
  • Allowing practitioners in the packaging and testing industries to interchange freely and learn about the most advanced technologies relevant to their field in order to further enhance their technological expertise

DISPLAY AND OPTOELECTRONICS

Taiwan has seen significant growth in its color imaging (CI) industry in recent years. The overall production value of the flat panel display (FPD) industry alone has increased more than twofold since 2001, totaling US$7.39 billion, of which 83.4% came from the production of large size TFT-LCD units. In Q1 2004, the island's Flat Panel Display (FPD) sales reached NT$171.3 billion (US$5.1 billion), a 115% increase on the previous year, and 2004 sales are projected to reach NT$727.1 billion (US$21.7 billion). As Taiwan manufacturers are positioned to start mass production on next generation panels (6th, 7th, and 7.5), the total production value of Taiwan's FPD industry will surpass NT$1 trillion. Taiwan is currently expected to account for 41% of large-sized TFT-LCD panel supply in 2004, becoming the world's largest production base.

Major TFT-LCD makers in Taiwan, such as AU, Chi-Mei, CPT, QDI, Hannstar, Toppoly, and PVI, have contributed greatly to the progress of the CI industry. AU, which receives the majority of its funding from Taiwan, is the third largest panel supplier in the world, and is the largest producer in Taiwan. Chi Mei, the second largest producer in Taiwan, is fast approaching AU in terms of production value.

Competitive Advantages and Market Strengths

Over 30% of the key components for FPD, such as polarizers, backlight modules, color filters and driver ICs, are manufactured in Taiwan, and local component makers such as Optimax (polarizers), Forhouse and Radiant (backlights), Allied Material Technology, Cando and Sintek (color filters), Novatek and Winbond (driver ICs), work very closely with panel makers. These component and finished product manufacturers are clustered around the Taoyuan, Hsinchu, and Tainan areas, creating an integrated supply chain that further strengthens Taiwan's position in the global IT industry.

Investment Opportunities and Market Potential

As Taiwan is the world's second largest producer of panels and the market for components is quite large, the government is inviting foreign suppliers of materials and equipment to build factories in Taiwan, to enable faster and more effective product and service deliveries.

Panel makers in Taiwan plan to establish G5 and G6 production lines, with the goal of becoming the leading panel supplier in the world. The government aims to generate US$40 billion in FPD production value by the year 2006. In the next three to four years, enterprises specializing in advanced components will have ample space for high growth potential.

The government offers investors in the color imaging industry special tax reduction and investment incentives. Combined with a highly skilled workforce and abundant experience in the IT industry, Taiwan is the ideal destination for investment in the color imaging industry.

Foreign Direct Investments in Taiwan

The color imaging industry in Taiwan has grown very rapidly in the past few years. In light of an increasing demand for flat panels in the global market and strong competition, Taiwan's vendors realize the importance of improving their technology and producing the right key components. The cost ratio for TFT-LCD components is quite high, with color filters at around 26% and glass substrate near 4%. Taiwan's government has been active in soliciting foreign investors to manufacture these key components in Taiwan.

BIOTECHNOLOGY AND PHARMACEUTICALS

Taiwan's concerted policy efforts to develop research, development and production capabilities in the biotech sector have paid off in creating a wealth of investment opportunities. Biotech research at Taiwan's top academic institutions is gaining international attention, while development capabilities, fostered through joint industry and government support, are turning these research achievements into commercially viable products. Taiwan's mature production and logistics capabilities, evidenced by its over 100 cGMP-awarded pharmaceutical manufacturers, have been widely recognized as powerhouses in this area.

Goals for the Coming Decade

Having established a solid foundation, the Taiwan government has designated the biotechnology industry for further development into a key industry in its Two Trillion, Twin Stars Plan and Challenge 2008 National Development Plan. Through the combined efforts of government, academia, research and industrial sectors, Taiwan is poised to become a major hub and logistics operations center for R&D, manufacturing, and operations in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries within the Asia-Pacific region. The government's plans to promote the industry include achieving targets of NT$150 billion (US$4.34 billion) in investments and 25% annual revenue growth by 2008 and five hundred biotech-related companies within ten years.

Competitive Advantages and Market Strengths

  • Superior pharmaceutical production and manufacturing capabilities
  • Geographically positioned close to potential markets in Asia allows for enhanced product development for Asian markets
  • Excellent springboard for entering other Asian markets
  • Ease of communication and reduced cultural barriers
  • Strong venture capital and financial resources
  • Abundance of technical specialists in organic chemistry, optoelectronics, integrated circuitry, automated systems, and other relevant fields
  • Excellent research facilities and well-staffed healthcare organizations

TELECOMMUNICATION

Taiwan offers much potential in the telecommunications market, with one of the most advanced telecommunications networks in the region. High penetration rates in both the fixed-line and mobile phone sectors have encouraged growth in telecom products and services. Looking to 2004, the Ministry of Economic Affairs has announced plans to make the telecommunications industry one of Taiwan's "trillion dollar" industries, which will nurture the development of wireless applications, 3G, and broadband services.

Competitive Advantages and Market Strengths

Taiwan is currently the fourth largest producer of PCs. As PC-related IC design and manufacturing technology in Taiwan have reached world standards, wireless communication and broadband communication products, related components/assemblies and systems products manufacturing technology have all been the beneficiaries of a multiplier effect.

A growing number of Taiwan manufacturers boast manufacturing and marketing capabilities for research and development of xDSL, DLC, SDHH, DWDM, and cell-phone related products. If these are combined with telecommunications service capabilities of foreign companies, particularly in the area of content services, their ability to enter newly developing markets will surely stimulate a new wave of product demand.

Taiwan's world-class technological advantages enable it to benefit from US and Japanese R&D resources. Taiwan's central location in the Asian Pacific region provides ideal access to the emerging Mainland China and Southeast Asian markets and to manufacture highly-competitive communications technology products. For manufacturers advancing into newly developing markets, Taiwan remains the most advantageous base for business operations in the region.

Investment Opportunities and Market Potential

In order to establish Taiwan as a broadband communications technology island, the government has classified telecommunications as a strategic industry, allowing it to benefit from a host of investment and tax incentives.

The Related Industries Promotion Plan is expected to facilitate the establishment of communication-oriented SoC IC design, fiber-optic components/assemblies, production facilities, software and telecommunications service industries innovation. IT product manufacturing is expected to reach its goal of surpassing US$ 30 billion by 2007.

At the same time, in order to comply with telecommunications industry liberalization and national infrastructure requirements, Taiwan has in recent years gradually liberalized the 3G and wired network markets. Estimates for 2005 anticipate US$50 billion in equipment purchase orders and US$20 billion in telecommunication service industry revenues. Market opportunities are tremendous, making Taiwan the ideal investment destination for the equipment manufacturing industry and content service providers.

MATERIALS AND FINE CHEMICALS

The production value of the material and fine chemical industry in Taiwan has averaged approximately US$44.38 billion annually, with petrochemical materials, polymer, electrical materials and fine chemical products as major output. Taiwan is the largest producer of ABS, the second largest supplier of PTAs, and the fourth largest in PVCs, supplying the Taiwan domestic market and the world's major markets, especially Mainland China.

With a well-developed supplier chain and marketing channels all over the world, Taiwan plays a key role in many markets today. In fact, a growing number of leading companies, such as Chi-Mei, Nan Ya Plastics and Formosa Plastics in the material industry, and UPC, Dahin, Lee Chang Yung Chemical in the fine chemical industry, are emerging more visibly in the international markets. In addition, Eternal Chemical and Chang Chun Plastics in the electrical material industry, and Taiwan Shiseido, Grand Glory Biotechnology, Taiwan Sugar, and Taiwan Salt in the cosmetics industry are already well-established in their respective markets.

As the IT industry becomes more competitive, Taiwan's material and fine chemical industry has been focusing on semiconductors, plane display materials, print circuit boards, nanotechnology materials and other high value-added products.

Investment Opportunities and Market Potentials

Taiwan is home to a great number of talented R&D and design people who are well-educated and possess experience with international companies, making the island more advantageous location for multinational companies to localize as part of a globalization strategy.

In recent years, Taiwan's IT industry has shown impressive progress - the semiconductor, TFT-LCDs, and print circuit board industries are seeing dramatic growth and have reached large-scale production levels, thereby gaining strength in the international markets. The materials and fine chemical industry in Taiwan will be highly essential in supporting the IT industry and meeting its rigorous demands. The Challenge 2008 National Development Plan, a government-support project that shows a list of plans and incentives on land lease, funding, taxes, and other benefits, demonstrates the value that the materials and fine chemical industry brings to Taiwan.

Taiwan has created vast opportunities for both international and domestic firms, with Mainland China as the biggest and most prominent market. With its strategic geographical location and experience in world trade, Taiwan makes the ideal center for manufacturing and market development in the Asia-Pacific region.

FINANCE, SECURITIES AND INSURANCE

With foreign exchanges reserves of over US$200 billion at the end of 2003, and a forecasted 4.5% economic growth rate for 2004, Taiwan continues to maintain a robust economy, due in part to government action on internationalization and liberalization policies.

Competitive Advantages & Market Strengths

As a growing number of global industries are migrating to the Far East, Taiwan is an ideal location to establish a financial base. Multinational companies in Taiwan have access to more precise information on the Asia-Pacific region as they expand their business.

In recent years, East Asia has become an important investment location for European and American countries. Taiwan's stock market index is covered in both Dow Jones' and Morgan Stanley's stock indices, to the benefit of foreign investors. In addition, the government has loosened restrictions on foreign capital in the Taiwan stock market, bringing more attention to Taiwan's market.

Investment Opportunities and Market Potential

In pursuing its goal of becoming the financial center of East Asia, Taiwan is revising its financial policies to bring them to international standards. Examples of such policies include:

Lifting constraints on offshore banking units (OBUs) -- Policies include expanding the depth and breadth of foreign currency market, and broadening the offshore banking units market and foreign currency overnight rate market to attract foreign financial institutions and enhance Taiwan's position as a regional funding center. Taiwan will therefore expand its stock and bond markets, improve market regulation and efficiency, and promote the internationalization of the securities market. Foreign investors can buy and sell securities, bonds and public warrants freely without restrictions of time or location, have more versatility in managing investments, and vitalize the market.

Ongoing liberalization of capital markets for foreign investors -- the ROC government has opened up its stock market to foreign investors with minimal restrictions. With the introduction of more financial commodities in the market and more diversified channels for funds, Taiwan's capital markets are opening to increasing foreign investors, who are now allowed to manage derivative financial products instead of spot commodities. In addition, foreign capital is now permitted in the private placement market, and these newly available commodities are attracting more foreign investment.

Opening the insurance market to foreign investors -- Fifty-five insurance companies are currently in operation in Taiwan, of which 21 are foreign-owned. Other measures to liberalize the Taiwan insurance market include: relaxing restrictions on the approval of commodities; liberalized rates; investment policies and procedures; the opening of cross-strait insurance exchanges; the promotion of risk-based capital (RBC) systems; information disclosure systems; and a certified actuary system. With monitoring of all foreign insurance companies in Taiwan to ensure compliance with policies on remuneration for Taiwan citizens, the foreign insurance industry in Taiwan can operate in a fair and reasonable business environment. In addition, with the island's excellent location and workforce, Taiwan has the potential to become the Asian insurance market hub for foreign investors.

Increasing the liquidity of financial capital in the stock market -- The Securitization of Financial Assets Law was implemented on July 24, 2002, with the aim of improving and increasing the liquidity of financial assets, including fully liberalized foreign investments in the public and private placement of securitization of financial assets. Several domestic banks are in the process of cooperating with foreign financial institutions in this regard.

According to the rules for MFN and National Treatment, foreign invested banks in Taiwan can compete on an equal footing with domestic banks. They are all granted licenses and can operate as fully-functional branches in Taiwan. In addition, as stated in the Banking Law and Financial Holding Company Law, a foreign financial institution may invest up to a 100% stake in a domestic bank. Moreover, foreign banks and financial holding companies that have sufficient experience and a good reputation can hold shares of up to 100% under their original name.

Foreign financial groups may merge with Taiwan's local financial institutions under the Merger Law for Financial Institutions, which has been established for the purpose of regulating the merger of financial institutions, expanding economies of scale, enhancing the efficiency of financial institutions and protecting proper competition environments. The law provides a friendly legal environment and mechanism for the operation of Asset Management Companies.

Flexible government restrictions allow foreign investors to set up their operations headquarters in Taiwan to conduct multilateral trade - a growing trend for foreign companies to gain a more competitive edge.

ANALYSIS OF THE TAIWANESE BIOTECHNOLOGY SECTOR

Taiwan's biotechnology industry includes biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and medical devices. In 2003, the total annual revenue for these industries in Taiwan was approximately NT$131.6 billion, of which NT$29.6 billion came from biotechnology--0.9 percent of the total global revenue-represented by 223 companies, each with an average revenue of NT$133 million. Business scope covered included genomics, drugs, diagnostics, agricultural biotechnology, environmental biotechnology, protein drugs, contract research organizations, biochips and bioinformatics.

The island's pharmaceutical industry returned NT$61.4 billion,--0.4 percent of the global total-- with 429 companies active in this sector, averaging NT$143 million per company. The medical devices industry returned NT$40.6 billion,--0.6 percent of the global total, coming from 397 companies, with an average revenue of NT$102 million each. The biotechnology workforce size is 35,610, of which 7,200 are in the biotechnology industry, 14,224 in the pharmaceutical industry and 14,186 working in the medical devices industry.

Status of Biotechnology Development in Taiwan (2003)
Units: NT$100 million

Industry                      Biotechnology    Pharmaceutical    Medial devices     Total                    
Revenue                       296              614               406                1,316              
Number of Companies           223              429               397                1,049
Size of work force (number)   7,200            14,224            14,186             35,610
Export value*                 113              45                288                446
Import value*                 120              339               425                884
Domestic sales vs. export     62:38            93:7              29:71              66:34
Domestic market demand*       303              908               543                1,754
			

BIOTECH INDUSTRY ANALYSIS: MICHAEL PORTER'S FIVE FORCES MODEL

Advantages and opportunities in Taiwan's biotech industry

Advantages:

1. Active and continuous efforts to build up an attractive investment environment by the government

2. Large input to investment of up- and mid-stream R&D and infrastructure

3. Close bond with fast growing Asian markets

4. Sufficient domestic capital for investing from intensive partners

5. Solid foundation and experience from the past development of the electronics industry

6. Proper environment for the development of small- and medium-sized enterprises; and the diligent and aggressive entrepreneurial spirit of the Taiwanese

7. Ample biotechnology and pharmaceutical professionals based both locally and overseas

8. Relatively homogenous ethnic Chinese population, ideal for the development of an Asian-prevalent-disease-related biotech industry

9. Qualified R&D personnel who are capable of establishing a knowledge economy to reflect Taiwan's uniqueness

10. Advanced traditional agricultural technology to support development of agricultural biotechnology

Opportunities:

1. The key industry in the government's Challenge 2008 six-year national development plan

2. The listed incentive industry among newly encouraged emerging strategic industries

3. Rising demand in better living standards in the Asia-Pacific; and growing economy and market for potential development

4. Increasing number of strategic alliances and technology transfer cases

5. R&D and precision processing sectors are ready to take advantage of the growing global trend towards outsourcing in the biotechnology industry.

6. Right timing for endless business opportunities in post human gene decoding

7. High value-added, long life cycle and value chain of biotechnology; many points of entry available, from R&D to marketing

8. Flourishing biotechnology R&D service industries (technical evaluation, R&D design, intellectual property services, and start-up incubation services)

9. Many large-sized high-quality medical centers, providing optimal conditions for undertaking clinical trials

10. Clear market segmentation from temperate zone products of advanced countries with Taiwan's sub-tropical climate to develop Asian sub-tropical agricultural biotechnology

11. Plentiful related information aggregated from National Health Insurance program

12. Diseases associated with a modern sedentary lifestyle, with potential for drug and disease screening technology platforms Objective.

RECOMMENDATIONS

1. Although there are a few biotech companies but all of them are small scale operators. Hence a consolidation programme can be started.

2. Since biotech is going to help pharmaceutical companies in a big way hence pharma companies can make a conscious effort to start R&D centers with emphasis on biotechnology.

3. Although the government is supportive of the sector but not many FDI's have been invited. The government can specifically invite FDI's in this sector.

4. Large companies like Biocon and Brighton Research labs should be asked to set up facilities. They can be promised access to markets in mainland China through Taiwan.

5. Most of the raw materials required is being imported, so the government can devise strategies to develop auxiliary industries and make the sector self sufficient.

6. Newer and more challenging topics can be taken up to study. Like human genome sequencing which would help in determining the genetic causes for diseases like cancer and AIDS.

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