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Taiwan's traits 'indispensable' for new studio: U.S. company

Taiwan's traits 'indispensable' for new studio: U.S. company

Taipei, Dec. 30 (CNA) Taiwan's high-quality labor force, modern infrastructure and quality of life are the three main reasons why Rhythm & Hues Studios Inc. (R&H) has decided to open a visual effects studio in southern Taiwan, the company's head said in Taipei Friday. "From our point of view, Taiwan has a number of things that are indispensable, that must be there for us to create a facility," said John Hughes, president and founder of R&H, one of the world's top five visual effects companies. The Oscar-winning company will set up a visual effects center in Kaohsiung next year, where the company will hire 200 digital artists and train 40 instructors and 600 students. To create world-class animations and visual effects for Hollywood movies, the labor force is crucial, Hughes said, describing Taiwan's labor force as "highly educated and competent in technology and aesthetic ability." Hughes was also impressed with Taiwan's general infrastructure, praising the country's telecommunications and transportation networks and the reliability of its electricity supply. "Without good infrastructure, we can't do the kind of high technology work that we do," he said. Another "very subjective" factor that drew R&H to Taiwan was the island's quality of life, Hughes said, because the people responsible for the company's training and quality control will come from Los Angeles and from other countries. "It's very important that the facility is in a country or a city where the quality of life is very high," Hughes said. At the same time, the Kaohsiung studio will allow people in Taiwan to contribute to the animation market, as they will be able to make world-class visual effects themselves, he added. Taiwan's digital content industry has grown dramatically over the past 10 years. The sector's output rose from NT$153.7 billion (US$5.07 billion) in 2002 to NT$522.5 billion in 2010, and it is expected to exceed NT$600 billion this year despite the global economic downturn, according to government statistics. R&H has been involved in more than 130 Hollywood films, including "The Incredible Hulk," "Night at the Museum" and "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." It received an Academy Award in 1995 for "Babe" and in 2008 for "The Golden Compass." (By James Lee)