Taipei, Sept. 27 (CNA) The three main science-based parks in Taiwan have seen no major layoffs with employment in the first half of this year rising about 3 percent from a year earlier, despite Taiwan’s exports being impacted by weakening global demand, the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) said Wednesday.
Speaking with reporters, NSTC head Wu Tsung-tsong (吳政忠) said at a news conference that employment in the three science parks — Hsinchu Science Park in the north, Central Taiwan Science Park and Southern Taiwan Science Park — continued to increase during the January-June period, up 3.08 percent from a year earlier to 323,532.
The data was released amid recent worries over the worsening employment situation in the three science parks, which house major export-oriented tech companies in Taiwan and serve as the backbone of the country’s exports.
Earlier this week, local news media reported that in the first 22 days of September, more than 40 companies in Hsinchu Science Park reported the layoff of 165 workers, while 11 companies in the Central Taiwan Science Park laid off 57 employees.
Taiwan has been feeling the pinch from a weakening export performance and in the first eight months of this year, the country registered a 15.7 percent decline from a year earlier to US$278.17 billion.
At the news conference, Hsinchu Science Park Bureau Director-General Wayne Wang (王永壯) said layoffs in the science park he supervised were isolated cases and there have been no signs of major layoffs.
In the first six months of the year, the three science parks generated NT$1.804 trillion (US$55.90 billion) in sales, down 11.95 percent from a year earlier, but the figure remains the second highest for the six month period ever, behind the NT$2.049 billion seen in the first half of 2022, according to the NSTC.
Among the six major industries, only the information/communications and bio-tech industries reported an increase in revenue during the January-June period, the NSTC said.
On the back of demand for cloud applications and automotive electronics, the information/communications industry saw its revenue rise 17.38 percent from a year earlier to NT$45.64 billion in the six month period, while the biotech industry benefited from new drug and medical equipment development, posting NT$20.68 billion in sales, up 3.42 percent, the NSTC said.
On the other hand, revenue generated by the semiconductor industry fell 11.82 percent from a year earlier to about NT$1.39 trillion in the six months due to continued inventory adjustments amid fragile demand for tech gadgets from end-users, the NSTC added.
As for the optoelectronics industry, sales fell 22.14 percent from a year earlier to NT$191.6 billion in the first half of the year as flat panel prices and production moved lower due to weak demand, according to the NSTC.
The NSTC said the computer and periphery industry posted NT$91.6 billion in sales in the six month period, down 6.72 percent from a year earlier, while the precision machinery industry generated NT$59.0 billion in sales, down 10.12 percent from a year earlier as many semiconductor suppliers scaled back their investments in expansion amid weak global demand.
However, the high-tech sector has entered the traditional peak season in the second half of the year and it is possible the decline in revenue for 2023 as a whole could be limited to less than 10 percent, Wu said.