German chip chemical supplier Merck is to pump up to 500 million euros ($565 million) into Taiwan’s semiconductor industry in its largest investment in the island in more than 30 years.
The company is to spend the money over the next five to seven years, primarily in semiconductor technologies, and expects to hire 400 more employees to add to the 1,000 it currently has in Taiwan as a result of the new investment.
“In the past year, the industry experienced a lot of supply chain challenges. Our investment project will help to resolve these issues,” Kai Beckmann, chief executive of the German firm’s electronics unit, told a news conference in Taipei via video link.
“We strengthen our local production and new capabilities to support fast-growing semiconductor demand in Taiwan but also to cater to an increasing demand in the rest of the world,” Beckmann said, adding that the investment would expand Merck’s footprint in the island’s southern city of Kaohsiung.
Merck’s announcement follows that of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) last month, when the world’s largest contract chip maker said it will set up a new chip factory in Kaohsiung to boost production amid a global chip shortage.
“We are very grateful for Merck’s confidence in Taiwan, investing in Taiwan, investing in Taiwan’s democracy, investing in Taiwan’s freedom, investing in Taiwan’s technological development,” Deputy Economy Minister Chen Chern-Chyi told the news conference.
“Within Merck’s global reach, Taiwan plays a very special role,” said Jorg Polster, the de facto ambassador for Germany in Taiwan. “As a high-tech centre, it has all the necessary ingredients to continue the success story.”
- Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara