Leading Japanese glass maker to build new factory in Taiwan

Taipei, Nov. 28 (CNA) Ohara Optical Co., a major optical glass maker in Japan, had its new investment project in central Taiwan approved by the National Science Council on Monday.

The Japanese firm, which possesses a market share of over 50 percent at home, is expected to invest NT$400 million (US$13.2 million) in a 3.29 hectare new subsidiary in the Huwei branch in Yunlin County of the Central Taiwan Science Park, said the park administration and Hitoshi Sekido, the company's senior managing director.

One third of its glass melting production will be moved to the new factory after scheduled operations begin in 2013, said Sekido. In the future, the products will be sold to both Taiwan and overseas markets since 40 percent of the world's digital cameras are made by Taiwan-based manufacturers, he added.

Investment in Taiwan has become an option with lower risks, especially after the damage caused by the March 11 earthquake in Japan and the flooding in Thailand that caused great losses to Japanese manufacturers, Sekido said, adding that the yen is stronger now too.

In addition, Taiwan's easier access to required rare earth elements from the world's largest exporter China was also a reason for the company's decision to build a second subsidiary after the one in Taichung, the official said.

The Ohara subsidiary is expected to bring great benefit to local industries related to precision optical machinery and help lower their production costs, said Yang Wen-ke, director-general of the Central Taiwan Science Park.

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