Tainan has not only Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing but also a large number of "invisible champions"

When we talk about Tainan, we will first think of places of interest such as Fort Provintia and Eternal Golden Castle, snacks such as Danzai noodles and coffin board, as well as agricultural products such as Guanmiao Pineapples and Matou pomelo. Now, there is another famous place, Southern Taiwan Science Park.

If that's all you know about Tainan, it means you don't know Tainan well enough. Ying-Chin Wu, chairman of Yi Tsai Club and (KUEI MENG) International Inc., said that Tainan is not only an important agricultural and high-tech city, but also the hometown of traditional industries. KMC is the world's No. 1 manufacturer of bicycle chains. The total length of the chain it produces each year can circle the equator five times.

Photo/ Ying-Chin Wu, chairman of KMC (KUEI MENG) International Inc. 

The year before last, Alan Wang, the CEO of Fu Chun Shin Machinery Manufacture Co., Ltd. (FCS), visited Taitung with his family and talked with local people about Tainan's "airport". Local people mistook what Alan Wang said as "chicken farm" (In Chinese, the "airport" and "chicken farm" are homophones). "Why don't even Taiwanese know that we have flights to Penghu and Hong Kong?" said Alan Wang.

Over the past year, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing invested heavily in Southern Taiwan Science Park, and its stock price repeatedly hit new highs. The dazzling light of this sacred mountain almost shines on the whole city, and the traditional industry is overshadowed by it.

But what people don't know is that apart from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, there are many small and medium-sized enterprises in Tainan that have created new legends. There is "the light of Taiwan" in the seemingly humble tin-roofed factories.

Don't underestimate the competitiveness of traditional industries. Tainan is an important city for such three industries: automobile and parts, metal products (mainly fasteners), and mechanical equipment manufacturing. There are 3,612 manufacturers involved in the three industries in Tainan.

Taiwan's auto parts became famous because of the establishment of Tong Yang Industry Co., Ltd in 1952. At present, it is the No.1 auto AM(Aftermarket) plastic parts manufacturer in the world, with the world's largest share of the bumper market.

The auto lamp industry is also booming in Tainan. The three leading auto lamp companies in Taiwan are Ta Yih, T.Y.C., Depo. The first two companies belong to Ta Yih Group, both of which are located in Tainan. Even Depo, which started in Lugang Town, has set up a factory in Tainan. At present, Ta Yih is the first largest OEM auto lamp factory in Taiwan. Depo and T.Y.C. mainly focus on the AM market. Both of them are international enterprises with a similar output value. In 2019, the revenue of T.Y.C. was NTD 17.54 billion, ahead of Depo.

Tainan is the world's leading auto lamp manufacturing base and has nurtured invisible champions. Eagle Eyes Traffic Ind. Co., Ltd. is the leader of modified car lights in Taiwan. You-En Chang, the manager of "Eagle Eyes", said that its own brand "Eagle Eyes" is marketing globally. The company produces a total of more than 10,000 kinds of car lights with safety, energy-saving and personalized features and develops more than 200 kinds of new products every year.

Photo /Tainan's invisible champions of traditional industries. 

Tainan's fasteners are used in Tesla electric cars
The auto parts industry has driven the development of the fastener industry (screws and nuts). Taiwan is the world's third-largest export region of screws and nuts. In 2019, the export volume reached NTD 144 billion (USD 4.8 billion), accounting for 10.8% of the global market, and Tainan took a place.

"More than 90% of Taiwan's fastener output value is from the north of Kaohsiung Gangshan and the south of Tainan Render," said Jung-Pin Wu, chairman of QST. "A lot of people don't know," said Ying-Chin Wu proudly, "that Taiwan had the fastener industry before China Steel."

Photo/ Jung-Pin Wu, chairman of QST

Taiwan's top two manufacturers of screws and nuts, San Shing Fastech Corp., and QST are both based in Tainan. San Shing pioneered the "rapid, mass" production of nuts in Taiwan in 1968, which led to the rapid development of the nut industry and made Taiwan the "Kingdom of nuts". With one-third of Taiwan's total nut exports and nearly 10% of the global market share, San Shing remains the world's largest "single" nut factory by capacity.

Tainan's screws and nuts are even used in Tesla electric cars. Although the manufacturer is not allowed to be exposed to the public due to confidentiality clauses, the quality of "MIT" can be seen from this.

Tainan is also an important city of the plastic machinery industry. According to data from TAMI, the output value of Taiwan's plastic and rubber machinery industry was about NTD 30 billion in 2019, and Tainan contributed more than 50%.

Tsan-Wen Wei, who will take over as president of TAMI in March 2021, is also chairman of Fong Kee International Machinery, the No. 1 plastic extruder manufacturer in Taiwan. " Tainan Yongkang, Guanmiao is the base of the plastic machinery industry. The driving distance of the surrounding industrial settlement is no more than 30 minutes. The parts you need can be delivered in two or three days," said 68-year-old Tsan-Wen Wei.
For 67 years, Fong Kee has repeatedly set its own records. Chuan-Cheng Wei, the founder of the company, developed the world's first machine for making "one-layer, two-color (red and white)" bags, which are still popular in the vegetable market and even in Southeast Asia, where they are considered the "strongest plastic bags on the earth". In 2019 Fong Kee helped customers make a 3,000-liter hollow barrel extruder, setting a record for the plastic barrel with the largest capacity in the world, with a price of NTD 80 million. It has won the order for NTD 150 million per machine for Taiwan in 2020.

Fu Chun Shin Machinery Manufacture (FCS), the largest plastic injection molding machine manufacturer in Taiwan, is also in Tainan, just in Guanmiao District, less than 12 kilometers away from Fong Kee.

FCS, which has been upgraded to be the provider of injection molding solution in 2010, seized the trend towards lightweight electric vehicles and developed the horizontal multi-component injection molding machines, currently owned by only three companies in the world. It also makes PC Glazing car windows that weigh only half as much as traditional car windows. These Glazing windows molding technology have been used in BMW I3.

Tainan has more and more diversified industries and has created many legends
If the plastic machine changed the fate of Tainan Yongkang, Guanmiao, then Xxentria Technology Materials is the Light of Gueiren. The gross profit margin of the niche product it developed is over 35%. High profits constantly attracted competition from manufacturers in Japan, Korea and Mainland China, but they withdrew one by one after two to three years. Up to now, Xxentria is still the world's largest manufacturer of "steel-plastic composite board" for container trucks in the world.

Tainan's traditional industries are constantly innovating. Aeon, the world's No. 1 Youth ATV ODM manufacturer, is from the Shanshang District of Tainan.

Chieh- Lin Chung, chairman of AEON MOTOR, returned to Taiwan to pursue his dream of electric motorcycles after seizing the market of ATV. At the end of August 2019, AEON launched the first smart electric motorcycle, and the first electric motorcycle with automatic navigation function in Taiwan in 50 years. In 2020, AEON became the second-largest electric motorcycle brand in Taiwan. 

AEON is no longer an electric motorcycle OEM, but a smart electric motorcycle factory combining technology and IoT. AEON is on the way from MIT (Made in Taiwan) to BIT (Brand in Taiwan).

Tainan has many other shining stars. Yi Tsai Club (the largest business networking organization) has 83 member companies, 54 of which are publicly traded entities with a market value of NTD 540 billion.

Tainan's increasingly diverse industries, including agriculture and fisheries, traditional processing, and high-tech industries, have created many legends. However, Ying-Chin Wu also admitted that Tainan's industry was at the crossroads of transformation. Recently, Yi Tsai Club is thinking about how to take advantage of the "Great South Program" and "industry - academia and innovation matching" to ride the tide of the high-tech industry in the Southern Taiwan Science Park and enable more enterprises to leap onto the international stage. 

Source: Global Views Monthly