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China overtakes Taiwan as world's hardware workshop

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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

The Taipei-based Institute for Information Industry (III) said that China has this year overtaken Taiwan to become the world's biggest producer of information technology hardware. However, a great deal of China's IT growth stems from the activities of Taiwan-based companies on the mainland.

In III research published by the Commercial Times of Taiwan, the not-for-profit industry body estimates that the value of China's IT hardware production will grow 20% to $35bn, whereas Taiwan's IT product will grow 15% to $50bn. However, half of this total is likely to be shipped from Taiwanese plants in China.

III predicted that 37% of the notebook computers supplied by Taiwan makers will be made in Chinese plants and said it expects the figures to continue to rise. Also, III forecast that the figure for desktop computers shipped from China will reach 52% Taiwan's desktop computer export volume.

In 2001, Taiwan's information-technology industry was hit by the global economy recession, and saw its hardware production value decline 9.2% to $42.9bn. Only liquid-crystal panel monitors, digital cameras and server segments registered growth in production value and volume among Taiwan's IT industry in 2001. The notebook computer segment showed no growth, except in production volume.

A study shows that global PC companies selling computers bundled with LCD panels are credited for the exploding growth of Taiwan's LCD industry last year. Taiwanese LCD panel manufacturers, accordingly, announced price hikes of 10% November 2001. Taiwanese output of LCD monitors last year rose 208.3% from a year earlier, to 9 million systems valued at $3.1bn, up 66%. Last year, Taiwan made 12.2 million servers worth $1.04bn. The production volume and value represented a 73.4% and a 30.4% rise from 2000, respectively.

Taiwan made 8.821 million digital cameras valued at $1.1bn last year. The production volume and value represented a 53.8% growth and a 95.5% increase, respectively. The MIC study indicates that Taiwan's digital-camera industry is on the process of restructuring in order to develop high value-added types such as high-pixel cameras.

Absorbing 36.9% of Taiwanese IT shipments, the US remained the largest market for the Taiwanese industry in 2001. Europe and Japan were the second and third largest markets for Taiwan's industry, taking 26.8% and 13.8% of the Taiwanese exports.

Nevertheless, the Taiwan exports to the United States and Europe fell last year, while exports to Japan, China and the Asia-Pacific region increased as a result of the US economic downturn.

© ComputerWire.

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