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Taiwan’s world-oriented composite industry

News International-French

22 Aug 2011

Taiwan’s composite industry is well established. Its growth and development rely to a large extent on foreign markets – and therefore on its capacity to stay attractive.

(Published on May-June 2006 – JEC Magazine #25)


The composite industry in Taiwan is nothing new. It is a robust industry with more than 400 companies that employ some 30,000 people and produce a bit more than 400,000 metric tons (MT) of composite materials per year. The industry earned 2.1 billion USD in 2004.


A dynamic sector


The Taiwanese market is turned to the outside, with an import/export ratio of 33:67. While a domestic market exists, it is very short of production capacity, so Taiwan’s composite sector is heavily export oriented. From 1995 to 2005, the FRP industry trended upwards, with steady growth.


The composite sector in Taiwan specialises in building large pleasure yachts. It ranked 5th in the international market for the year 2005 with 44 projects – though that, it is true, is still a long way off from the 249 projects of market leader Italy. The sports & leisure industry is also well-represented, especially the golf segment. The military, building, aircraft-interior (seats) and electronic sectors also constitute important markets.


Statistic survey of market.


  1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
FRSP GF/UP 43,900 44,400 41,600 40,300 41,200 42,436
FRTP GF/TP 53,250 64,350 73,450 84,150 92,650 106,548
GFRP CF/epoxy 2,200*
(CCLcloth/epoxy 165,150 194,180 189,970 191,725 212,000 248,040
  264,500 305,280 307,740 319,067 348,750 416,739


Thanks both to its own home-grown companies and the numerous foreign companies operating in-country, Taiwan is the largest manufacturer and supplier of electronic-grade glass fibre in the world.


Challenges and prospects


If Taiwan’s composite sector hopes to maintain its position and continue to develop, it will need to address a number of challenges while it is still flourishing. In particular, it will have to be in a position to confront increasingly stiff competition; resist the trend for relocation towards continental China; continuously improve its production quality at all levels; and make the transition from its position as Original Equipment Manufacturer to Original Design Manufacturer and then to Original Brand Manufacturer. Today, the main lines of research and development are basically oriented around raw materials, reinforcements and matrices, process, nanocomposites, green composites, and high-value-added applications in automotive, biotechnologies, chemistry, information/communication technologies, environment, the medical field and semiconductors, among others.


Maintaining a close relationship between companies and technical research centres will also be an important factor in the success and growth of Taiwan’s composite sector.



Source: “Taiwan composite and FRP industry” by Prof. Dr. Chen-Chi M. Ma, National Tsing Hua University, Hsin-Chu, Taiwan, Con-Ex 2005.