Taiwan mulling easing curbs on China semiconductor investment

The Taiwan government plans to decide within the next two weeks whether to lift curbs on investment in semiconductor wafer fabrication plants in Mainland China, according to a government official.

Officials will meet on Dec. 13 or 14 to discuss whether to lift curbs on investment in eight-inch wafer plants in China, said Yen-Shiang Shih, director general of the Industrial Development Bureau of Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs. He was speaking at the ISS Taiwan 2001 conference which began Monday in Hsinchu, the home of much of Taiwan’s semiconductor industry.

“An open-door policy is the only way Taiwan can survive and develop,” he said adding that companies want to be able to make investment decisions for business reasons without being constrained by political curbs.

A formal announcement of the government decision can be expected within two weeks from today, Shih said while ruling out discussion on more advanced 12-inch wafer technology as part of the upcoming talks. “Eight inches is the point for discussion,” he said in remarks to IDG News Service.

Shih’s comments come just after the government lifted curbs on investment in projects to manufacture in China 122 types of technology products including notebook and desktop computers and 3G (third-generation) mobile handsets.