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Economic Daily News: Revival of 'four troubled industries'

Economic Daily News: Revival of 'four troubled industries'

Recently released corporate financial results reveal that companies in the so-called "four troubled industries" hit hard by the 2008 global financial crisis -- DRAMs, flat panels, LEDs and photovoltaics -- turned a profit in 2014. The DRAM and flat panel sectors began returning to profitability in 2013, and their profits grew significantly last year. Although the LED and photovoltaic sectors no longer operated at a loss last year, their profits did not increase by much. Taiwan has been developing a DRAM industry for many years but without much success. At present, the country's two biggest DRAM manufacturers, Inotera Memories Inc. and Nanya Technology Corp., still rely on technology patents from U.S.-based Micron Technology Inc. As to other smaller companies, they have either downsized or shifted to contract manufacturing, making it hard to compete internationally. By comparison, Taiwan's flat panel industry has its own patents and technologies as well as a complete industry chain. In the face of intense competition from China, however, it still has a hard fight ahead. The photovoltaic and LED sectors, which do not have high entry thresholds, are similarly facing aggressive competition from China. While the revival of the "four troubled industries" is worth celebrating, it is also important for Taiwan to learn a lesson from the experience. With Taiwan's current financial strength, it would be hard to invest again in such capital-intensive industries as semiconductors and flat panels. Taiwan's competitiveness lies in flexible, mobile and vibrant small- and medium-sized businesses. Instead of investing NT$100 billion in a single project, Taiwan should invest NT$100 million in 1,000 projects to bring full play to the vitality and creativity of the private sector. (Editorial abstract -- April 7, 2015) (By Y.F. Low)


Updated : 2021-09-23 08:51 GMT+08:00