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Taiwan firms get mainland OK

  BEIJING, Jan. 25 -- Taiwan authorities have approved a bid by eight companies to pump funds into the mainland, Taiwan's Investment Commission said on its Website this week. 

  The approvals came even after Taiwan's leader, Chen Shui-bian, said the island should toughen its relations with the Chinese mainland. The eight firms will invest a collective US$225.99 million in mainland projects, according to the statement.

  Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, Taiwan's biggest electronics company, won approval to invest US$100 million to make computer components in Shenzhen in Guangdong Province. Taiwan Life Insurance Co will invest US$23.79 million to explore the mainland insurance market, which was valued at 450 billion yuan (US$56.25 billion) last year.

  Investment in some high-tech sectors, however, will have to wait.

  Taiwan has declined to authorize applications by Powerchip Semiconductor Corp and ProMOS Technologies Inc because the "review process" is not finished, Bloomberg News reported, citing Joseph Wu, chairman of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council.

  Powerchip and ProMOS, Taiwan's leading computer memory makers, want to build wafer plants on the Chinese mainland to cut costs, according to media reports.

  "The lifting of the ban will come sooner or later as no one can neglect the great market opportunity in the mainland," Jack Tsai, the Taiwan-based managing director of Accenture consulting, told Shanghai Daily.

  Taiwan leads the world in the manufacture of computers and integrated circuits. Its authorities, however, often bar investment applications for the mainland in the information technology sector for fear of losing their core chip foundry business, technologies and jobs.

  Some wafer plants are allowed, but not those using the most advanced technologies.

  Even so, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp, the world's biggest made-to-order chip maker, said yesterday it has applied to the Investment Commission to adopt advanced technology in its Shanghai 8-inch wafer plant.

  (Shanghai Daily)
 

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