Haier Group, a Chinese household-appliance maker, is in talks with Charoen Pokphand Group to build a silicon wafer plant in the port city of Qingdao in eastern China, Haier President Yang Mianmian said. Charoen, an investment group owned by one of Thailand's richest families, owns the Lotus Superstore retail chain in China and is one of the biggest foreign investors in China.
"Charoen Pokphand Group wouldn't have made a hasty decision to invest in such a project unless they are sure of their prospects," Mr. Mianmian said. The demand for semiconductors in China is expected to surge to 77 billon chips worth U.S. $24.2 billion in 2005, from 21.5 billion chips worth about $10 billion in 2000, according to estimates by the country's Ministry of Information Industry.
Mr. Mianmian declined to give details about its proposed plant with Charoen Pokphand, except to say, "We have given them our word we will be part of this." Charoen Pokphand will own up to 60 percent of the plant, which will make 8-in chip wafers used in computers and home appliances, the ChinaNews Web site said. Production may reach 30,000 chips a month when the plant is ready, ChinaNews reported, without citing anyone. (Bloomberg News)
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