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Old February 15th, 2010, 05:09 PM   #21
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Here we go .. the locals get it right!

Cheap housing for families planned in Linkou
15 February 2010
Taipei Times

The government will offer 4,000 affordable housing units for sale near the Taipei Mass Rapid Transit system's planned Linkou station, which is scheduled to open in 2013, with low-income families who do not already own property given preference, Ministry of the Interior officials said.

Construction and Planning Agency Director Yeh Shih-wen said last week that the government would use approximately 226 hectares of reserved land and farmland around the planned MRT station to build the housing.

Prices are planned to be as low as NT$150,000 per ping (3.3m²).

While housing prices in Taipei City and some locations in Taipei County have been skyrocketing over the past few years, a survey report released by the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission in December indicated that high housing prices in the city topped the list of public complaints.

To help low-income families live in their own apartments, the government decided to build affordable housing units with easy access to public transport.

The 4,000 units at Linkou are expected to be completed in 2013, when an extension of the MRT system to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport is scheduled for completion.

Yeh said the travel time from Linkou to the Taipei Main Station stop would be around 30 minutes.

He said more affordable housing units are planned along the line and that the government is also planning to build public housing units on the outskirts of Tamsui in Taipei County, where a light rail system is being planned.
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Old February 18th, 2010, 04:46 PM   #22
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Land Bank, Taiwan Cooperative Tighten Lending To Developers - Report
11 February 2010

TAIPEI (Dow Jones)--Government-controlled Land Bank of Taiwan and Taiwan Cooperative Bank (5854.TW) have tightened lending to land developers due to concerns about an asset bubble forming, the Economic Daily News reported Friday, citing unnamed sources.

Land Bank, Taiwan's largest lender for land development, has set limits on loans for land development in specific regions, including Linkou, Tamshui and other suburban areas in northern Taiwan, and to individual developers, the report said.

Taiwan Cooperative Bank, the island's largest bank by number of outlets, has told its branches to cap lending to developers at 20%-40% of their new loans, depending on the branch, the report said.
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Old February 25th, 2010, 05:31 PM   #23
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Taipei housing transactions up by 2.6%
The China Post Staff
23 February 2010

A total of 6,395 housing units in Taipei City changed hands in January, a month-over-month increase of 2.6 percent and the third monthly increase in a row, according to data released by Sinyi Realty, yesterday.

The number indicated a robust real estate market and was a step closer to the 6,619 for July last year, Sinyi said.

According to the brokerage firm, the city's housing market will continue to be hot in the first half of the year. Its performance in the second half will depend on various factors, including price and interest rate, it said.

The survey showed that in January, most transactions still took place in Taipei's Zhongshan, Neihu and Daan districts. However, in terms of growth, transactions in Datong and Nangang districts increased the most.

Su Chi-jung, analyst with Sinyi, said the popularity of downtown Taipei housing units has been tempered due to their high prices. A 35-ping condominium unit costs around NT$20 million in Daan, where transactions totaled 737 in January, a slight increase of 4.2 percent from December, he said.

However, the market for peripheral parts of Taipei has picked up, due to their more attractive property price, said Chang Chia-jung, who heads the Nanjing West Road branch of Sinyi Realty.

"Take Datong, for example," he said. "For NT$10 million to NT$15 million, you can buy a unit within a condominium with elevator. For NT$7 million to NT$10 million, you can get a two- to three-bedroom apartment."

At the same time, Datong's popularity has surged recently, due to the various infrastructure projects planned for the area, as well as its proximity to numerous transportation hubs, Chang said.

"The most popular products are residential units within 200 meters of facilities such as the Taipei Railway Station and the following MRT stations íX Zhongshan, Shuanglian, Minquan West Road and Yuanshan," he said.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 04:52 PM   #24
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Residents protest 'damage' caused by Xinyi MRT Line
26 February 2010
Taipei Times

Construction on the Taipei MRT's Xinyi Line sparked controversy yesterday, with several residents accusing city authorities and the contractor of refusing to take responsibility for damage caused by the construction.

The residents, accompanied by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Lin Yi-hua, said their apartment, located next to the MRT's Da-an Station, suffered external and structural damage because of the construction.

Lei Yuan-chia, manager of the apartment complex, said tiles on the exterior walls of the 30-year-old building started to crack when the construction of the line began in 2007. Cracks were also found on the posts and floors, and there could be more structural damage if the city's Department of Rapid Transit Systems and the contractor failed to solve the problem, he said.

"We talked to the department many times about the problem, but it just ignored our warnings. Does the Taipei City Government plan to ignore the problem until the building collapses?" he asked while standing in front of the building.

Lin and Lei accused the department of collaborating with the contractor and refusing to conduct thorough inspections on the structural damage to the building.

"The city government established standard procedures to address disputes over damage to buildings caused by construction projects. It's unacceptable that it refused to conduct an inspection," Lin said.

Lin said she demanded that the department and the contractor examine the safety of the building in 2008, but the department only agreed to inspect the building's exterior.

Lee Kuo-an, a division director at the department, said construction near the building was designed to turn Da-an Station into a transfer station for the Xinyi and Wenshan-Neihu MRT lines and an initial inspection had found that the building had suffered no structural damage.

"The cracks on the walls and the posts did not damage the structure of the building. However, we will perform another safety inspection next month as the residents are still concerned about the matter," he said.

Lin said she would take the case to the city's Department of Government Ethics and ask it to investigate the relationship between the Department of Rapid Transit Systems and the contractor if the problem remained unresolved.
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Old March 3rd, 2010, 04:15 PM   #25
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Wu halts public land auctions
3 March 2010
Taipei Times

Premier Wu Den-yih yesterday halted the National Property Administration's plan to invite bids on state-owned land in Taipei City next week after legislators expressed concern that the bidding would contribute to price gouging among construction companies and realtors.

Wu said on the legislative floor that he had suspended the bids because the public had reacted negatively to soaring real estate prices in Taipei.

"The government should not add fuel to the flames by helping with price gouging," he said.

Wu made the remarks in response to criticism from legislators across party lines after several pieces of state-owned property sold at record-high prices in bids held by the property administration.

A 121.3 ping (401m2) plot of state-owned land on Jianguo S Road in Da-an District sold for NT$731 million (US$22.8 million) last Thursday, more than NT$6 million per ping.

Another plot of land - measuring 319.44 ping - sold for NT$958 million in another bid on the same day.

The record-high prices also drew criticism from Wang Yao-shing, chairman of the Land Bank of Taiwan, who said on Friday that the prices were "ridiculous."

Wang said the government should suspend plans to sell government property to stop the bids from contributing to skyrocketing real estate prices.

The National Property Administration had scheduled bids on 13 pieces of government property in the city next Thursday.

Minister of Finance Lee Sush-der said on the legislative floor that the government would never participate in real estate price gouging by selling government land.

Lee said the record-high prices were the result of "market mechanisms," adding that it was necessary for the government to review its policy of selling state-owned property.
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Old March 13th, 2010, 05:56 PM   #26
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Taoyuan touts aerotropolis project
DECLINING AIRPORT: Since it was inaugurated in 1979, the airport in Taoyuan has gradually been outpaced by other Asian airports. Taoyuan hopes to reverse this trend
By Joyce Huang
13 March 2010
Taipei Times

The planned Taoyuan Aerotropolis project is expected to attract NT$1.2 trillion (US$37.7 billion) in business investment, facilitating annual productivity gains of NT$600 billion and 800,000 new job opportunities around the airport city, a Taoyuan County Government official said yesterday.

The project is scheduled for completion in 2021.

"If the number of passengers using [Taiwan] Taoyuan International Airport can be doubled to 40 million per year, 40,000 job opportunities will be created to serve the increased volume of tourists, while a further 40,000 related job opportunities will also be added," Lee Yung-jaan, director-general of the urban and rural development department under the Taoyuan County Government, yesterday told a seminar *organized by PCL TransAsia Law Offices in Taipei.

Since its launch in 1979, the airport in Taoyuan has gradually ceded international competitiveness to other Asian airports, Taoyuan County Commissioner John Wu said at the seminar.

He expressed confidence in the ability of the aerotropolis project to enhance airport competitiveness, because Taoyuan is perfectly located to play the role of an Asian aviation hub and the government plans to spend NT$290 billion to improve airport infrastructure.

"Passengers can fly from Taoyuan to many major cities in Asia with an average flight time of 2.5 hours," he said.

The airport city project accounts for 7.35 percent of the total budget for President Ma Ying-jeou's 12 i-Taiwan projects at nearly NT$4 trillion, he said.

Lee said the number of passengers at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport fell 6.4 percent to 21.94 million in 2008. It is the 18th-largest airport in Asia, down from 14th in 2007, and is way behind Tokyo Haneda Airport's 66.76 million passengers, Beijing Capital International Airport's 55.94 million and Hong Kong International Airport's 47.86 million - the three largest airports in Asia.

At the same time, the quality of services available at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport was ranked 25th in Asia by Airports Council International - down from 18th the previous year, he said.

To catch up, the 6,150 hectare Taoyuan Aerotropolis project will include a third terminal, logistics areas, an airport rapid transit system, an exhibition center, a value-added agricultural zone and a bay-area recreational zone in the first phase, he said.

In the second phase, the project's neighboring areas, such as Luchu Township, will be included in a 10,000 hectare mega city project to be completed by 2031, Lee said.

To ensure the aerotropolis project's feasibility and future success, Yeh Chun-yao, chairman of Taoyuan-based Farglory Free Trade Zone, yesterday urged both the Ma administration and the county government to accelerate deregulation while cutting red tape and mapping out detailed support measures. The Farglory Free Trade Zone - the world's first and largest free-trade air cargo zone - has incurred more than NT$2 billion in losses since its launch in late 2005, with only half its available space currently occupied by businesses, Yeh said.

Most of the zone's high-tech companies remain barred from raising their quota of expatriate workers despite the fact that many native employees refuse to work late shifts - a problem that may force them to quit the zone, he said.

If the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project were to repeat the same mistakes, it would run the very real risk of failure, Yeh said.
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Old March 14th, 2010, 05:32 AM   #27
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i saw machines moving in on the Farglory Financial Center site near the Presidential Tower hopefully that means that the project will start soon...
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Old March 16th, 2010, 02:33 PM   #28
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Conditional approval given to reopen gondola
5 March 2010
Taipei Times

The Maokong Gondola inspection committee yesterday conditionally approved the resumption of the cable car system, provided the Taipei City Government correct three deficiencies before operations start.

Committee chief Lin Jyh-dong said the city must give clear instructions as to where passengers should go to pick up a number for boarding the gondola and how they should line up before boarding.

The city must also dispose of garbage and any other unused items in any of the gondola stations before reopening them to public, he said.

It should also review standard operating procedures (SOP) in case there's a blackout, Lin said.

Additionally, the committee listed six general reminders and 14 suggestions for the city to consider and improve upon.

The gondola service was suspended at the end of 2008 after the base of one of the support pillars was eroded by a typhoon.

The city then moved the pillar in question to a different location.

A 6.4-magnitude earthquake occurred before the committee began inspecting the system, which presented an opportunity for committee members to check how well the service crews reacted to an emergency situation.

The system stopped for a minute after the earthquake and resumed at an operating speed of 1kph. The system then resumed normal operations after ensuring it could safely continue.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilors Lee Ching-feng and Chien Yu-yen staged a protest before the inspection started yesterday. They accused the city of intentionally avoiding supervision by the city council. They said that they had applied to review the examination report on the Maokong Gondola, but still had not received it.

The city appeared to be hiding something, they said.

Taipei City Government spokesperson Chao Hsin-ping dismissed the allegations.
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Old March 19th, 2010, 09:30 PM   #29
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Gondola to offer free rides for six days
19 March 2010
Taipei Times



The Maokong Gondola will offer free rides during six days of test operations starting on Tuesday and resume full service on March 30 following an 18-month suspension because of damage to one of its pillars.

Taipei Rapid Transit System Corp (TRTC), the system's operator, will open the gondola system to 10,000 visitors each day during the six-day test operation. People who plan to take the free ride should take a number slip at the gondola's Taipei Zoo Station or Maokong Station between 8:30am and 5pm.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin yesterday guaranteed the safety of the gondola and welcomed the public to enjoy the "upgraded" cable car system.

"This is a new beginning after the Maokong Gondola's upgrading," Hau said at Taipei City Hall. "We invite old and new friends to take the gondola, see the pandas and enjoy great tea in Maokong."

Hau said the city government has corrected a number of deficiencies as demanded by the Maokong inspection committee. It has also strengthened recreational facilities and improved the overall environment in the Maokong area to boost tourism. The committee, composed of transportation and civil engineering experts, inspected the system on March 4 and demanded that the city review standard operating procedures in case there's a blackout, improve the gondola's boarding mechanism and the overall environment at gondola stations.

To ensure the safety of the gondola after service resumes, Taipei City Secretariat Director Tan Gwa-guang said the city government installed monitors on each of the 25 support pillars and would examine them every two months to see whether they had tilted.

The system, which was built during President Ma Ying-jeou's term as Taipei mayor and became a popular attraction soon after operations started in July 2007, has been shut down since October 2008 after the foundation of a support pillar was eroded during a typhoon.

The city government later relocated the problematic support pillar, also known as Tower No. 16 (T16 pillar), to a new location and held a small-scale test run earlier this month to ensure the system's safety. Upon resuming full operation on March 30, the gondola will be open from 9am to 9pm from Tuesdays to Thursdays, 9am to 10pm on Fridays, 8:30am to 10pm on Saturdays and from 8:30 to 9pm on Sundays. The gondola will be closed on Mondays for regular system maintenance.

A message board with updates on the number of slips already issued have been installed at the MRT's Zhongxiao-Fuxing Station, the TRTC said. The company said the gondola attracted about 13,000 visitors per day during weekdays and about 21,000 people during weekends before it was suspended. The city government expects the service to attract more visitors after the reopening.

The city government yesterday also invited a group of local teahouse owners in Maokong to endorse its efforts to improve the recreational facilities in the area. Following complaints from local businesses, the city government set up more facilities at the Zoo Mall and developed a camphor tree trail near the Maokong station to attract more tourists.
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Old March 23rd, 2010, 07:27 PM   #30
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Xinsheng Park pavilions unveiled
21 March 2010
Taipei Times


Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin, right, gives the thumbs-up sign at an event to promote the 2010 Taipei International Flora Exposition at Tianwei Highway Garden in Changhwa County’s Tianwei Township yesterday. The area is known as a wholesale supplier of flowers.
PHOTO: YEN HUNG-CHUN, TAIPEI TIMES


Taipei City Government has unveiled three new pavilions in Xinsheng Park built for the 2010 Taipei International Flora Exposition and promised to use the three structures, which received green building certification, as venues for public events after the expo.

The three buildings - the "Pavilion of the Future," "Pavilion of Life" and "Pavilion of Dreams" - are the latest work by local architect Chang Ching-hwa, *designer of Taipei's Beitou Library, who is well known for incorporating reusable and eco-friendly materials into her works.

Both the Beitou Library and the three pavilions are built with wood and recyclable materials and received the highest rating available from Taiwan's EEWH Green Building certification authority.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin said the three pavilions use the same thermal insulating plastics as the Beijing National Aquatics Center, and are powered by solar panels - making them the city's largest energy-saving facility.

Chang said that the pavilions were built around old trees in Xinsheng Park. Their rooftops and walls are populated with vegetation. She also rearranged the trails within the park so tourists have easier access to the roofs, which are a great place to spot planes flying to and from Songshan Airport.

The three pavilions will be featured in the Discovery Channel's program Eco Taiwan: Green Building on March 27.

The Taipei International Flora Expo, which is scheduled for Nov. 6 this year to April 25 next year will be the first world exposition held by Taipei City Government.

The expo will feature 14 pavilions around the city. Hau said each of the exhibition pavilions will serve as activity venues or display centers for floral shows after the expo, promising not to leave the pavilions unattended after the event.
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Old April 10th, 2010, 06:27 PM   #31
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KMT, DPP reach consensus on property flipping
10 April 2010
Taipei Times

Lawmakers reached cross-party consensus yesterday on the inclusion of regulations to help prevent property flipping in a controversial draft act on the promotion of innovative industries. They remained as divided as ever, however, on whether to lower business income tax.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus whip Lin Yi-shih told a press conference that both governing and opposition legislators had agreed to cap the amount of land in an industrial park that could be developed into residential areas at 10 percent of the total.

Legislators also agreed that a minimum of 20 percent of the land in such parks should be reserved for the construction of public facilities, while at least 60 percent should be earmarked for industrial purposes.

The new regulations were added to the draft act after the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus expressed concern that the draft proposed by the Executive Yuan could end up benefiting big corporations as it would allow businesses running industrial parks to build and sell houses within the confines of the park.

The bill would also allow any government agency, public enterprise or private individual to apply to develop and run an industrial park as long as they produce a viable development plan. The government would then help acquire the land.

The legislature's plenary session had been stalled for weeks as a result of negotiations over the bill, an extension of the Act for Industrial Upgrading which expired at the end of last year, that aims to encourage businesses to invest in innovation, research and development.

Despite reaching consensus on the need to prevent property flipping, lawmakers yesterday still failed to decide whether to lower the business income tax rate to around 17 percent as previously proposed by the DPP caucus.

Minister of Finance Lee Sush-der opposed the DPP's business tax proposal, expressing concern over the government's potential loss of NT$40.3 billion (US$1.2 billion) in annual tax revenue.

Lin said the KMT caucus would finalize its own version of the rate on April 12, adding that lawmakers have agreed to deal with the draft act on the legislative floor on April 16.
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Old April 12th, 2010, 09:17 AM   #32
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Property index reaches two-year high
Efforts by the government to rein in property prices seem to have had little effect, with soaring prices discouraging many salaried workers from buying homes
10 April 2010
Taipei Times

Despite the government's efforts to curb soaring housing prices, the residential property index climbed to its highest in two years last month following a rebound in the fourth quarter of last year, a Chinese-language Housing Monthly report showed.

The monthly headline indicator score rose 15 points to 50 last month, showing a healthy "green" light, after flashing "yellow-blue" in February because of holiday factors. The increase was second only to that recorded in March 2008, the report said.

The results echoed the Ministry of the Interior's quarterly report released last month showing that the local property market had fully recovered by the fourth quarter of last year, with the indicator flashing "green" for the first time since early 2007.

"Entering into a traditionally high season, many real estate indexes posted above-average' performance last month following the Lunar New Year holidays in February," Chen Yun-ru, chief executive of the monthly's Web site, said in the report.

Sub-indexes rose across the board last month, with transactions growing at double the figure recorded in the previous month and the number of newly built properties put up for sale rising to 1,928 from 496 in February, the report showed.

Chen said that the increase in supply of nearly 2,000 properties was concentrated in Taipei County's Tamsui and Taoyuan County's Bade City and Taoyuan City, accounting for 62 percent of the total, while Taipei City saw only small growth, further propping up prices.

The government's efforts to discourage rising home prices by increasing supply, tightening credit and adjusting property taxes seemed not very effective, Chen said, noting that the root cause of rising home prices still lies in excess liquidity in the market.

Although these measures had sidelined some property investors earlier last month, growth momentum was being built again toward the end of the month, with construction companies and developers regaining confidence about the market, she added.

A separate survey by 1111 Job Bank released yesterday showed that nearly 65 percent of salaried workers were not planning on purchasing homes this year, chiefly because of rocketing property prices.

Nearly 70 percent of respondents said they were discouraged from buying homes because of extremely high prices, followed by 46.1 percent who cited unstable salaries and 45.8 percent who lacked down payments, it said. Respondents could cite multiple reasons for not purchasing homes.

Henry Ho, the job bank's public relations director, called on the government to expand subsidy packages for disadvantaged people who wish to buy a home, saying that up to 87 percent of homeowners polled have home mortgages, which accounted for 38 percent of their salaries.
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Old April 21st, 2010, 04:50 PM   #33
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Research park will not destroy habitat: ministry
Environmentalists have raised concerns that plans to build a biochemistry research park would spoil the Nangang site, an ideal habitat for plants and birds
13 April 2010
Taipei Times

The Ministry of National Defense yesterday sought to allay environmentalists' concerns that plans to turn a military arsenal in Taipei City into a national biochemistry research park would destroy a natural habitat.

Under the ministry's plan, Arsenal 202 in Nangang will be removed and part of the land will be bulldozed to make way for the proposed biochemistry research park.

This has sparked concerns from environmental protection groups, as the 185-hectare site, next to Four Beast Mountain, has become an important habitat for rare species such as the Formosan blue magpie and different species of eagle.

As the place is under the military's control and is a prohibited zone, it has become a haven for these creatures, they said.

The three ponds on the site not only contribute to the beautiful scenery, but are also ideal natural habitats for a wide variety of aquatic plants and waterbirds.

Environmentalists are concerned the habitat might disappear after construction of the biochemistry park begins next year, and called on the government to build a nature park instead.

Apart from the natural scenery and ecology, the site is also rich in history and culture. The centuries-old cemetery of a senior Qing Dynasty official, an ancient arsenal and three temples built centuries ago can be found in the complex.

Ministry spokesman Yu Sy-tue said yesterday that the proposed national biochemistry park, part of Academia Sinica, will only occupy 25 hectares, with construction affecting only 9 hectares of land.

The government has not decided how to use the rest of the land, Yu said.

Ministry sources said only 35 percent of the area is suitable for construction, as the topography of the rest of the land is mostly hills and gorges.

Academia Sinica has placed importance on building the first advanced national biochemistry research park.

The ministry's Armaments Bureau is scheduled to hand over the 25.5 hectares of land to Academia Sinica next year.

An Academia Sinica spokesman said that less than 10 hectares of land to be allocated by the minitry would be used to build the planned biotech research park, while the remainder would be developed into a recreational area.

The institution will aim for low-impact development of the land so it would not spoil the natural environment, the spokesman said.
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Old April 28th, 2010, 04:20 PM   #34
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Published on Taipei Times
http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiw.../28/2003471694

Hon Hai to build Taipei tech center
IT HUB: Hau Lung-bin said he hoped the proposed IT center would turn the area near Guanghua Computer Market into Taipei's version of Akihabara in Tokyo

By Mo Yan-chih
STAFF REPORTER
Wednesday, Apr 28, 2010

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), the nation's largest electronics manufacturer, has won the bid to build a 12-story information technology (IT) center in downtown Taipei, the Taipei City Government said yesterday.

The project is part of the city's ambitious plans to turn the area into the nation's IT hub.

The company will invest NT$3.7 billion (US$118 million) to build “Taipei IT Park” and allocate NT$200 million as a fund to encourage innovation and cultivate talent in the high-tech industry.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said the proposed IT center, which will be located next to the Guanghua Computer Market on Bade Road, could expand the electronics markets in the area and turn the area into Taipei's version of Akihabara (秋葉原), a major shopping area in Tokyo for electronics and computer products.

The operator of the build-operate-transfer project will have the right to operate the park for 50 years. The planned complex, to be situated on a 8,864m² lot, is expected to include a 3C shopping mall, brand products shop and a multifunctional exhibition hall.

Other planned facilities in the park include a state-of-the-art technology exhibition center, a digital entertainment zone and a business cultivation center.

“We believe in the expertise of Hon Hai and its chairman, Terry Gou (郭台銘), who can help us build and manage the center. The development of the area as an IT town will benefit our residents and the city,” Hau said at Taipei City Hall.

Chiu Da-chan (邱大展), commissioner of Taipei City's Department of Finance, said that a total of five companies had participated in the public bid, including Clevo Co (藍天電腦) and Lemel Co (聯強國際), and 11 of the 12 members of the commission that reviewed the bids voted for Hon Hai.

Hau dismissed speculation that the city government had favored Hon Hai bid as Gou sponsored the city government's Taipei Hall at the World Expo in Shanghai.

Chiu said the center would generate NT$6.4 billion in value each year and create 1,500 jobs in the city.

The center is scheduled to be completed and to open in 2014.

Asked about the results, Clevo chairman Kent Hsu (許崑泰) said he was very disappointed.

After successfully opening the Buynow shopping mall chain in China, which retails 3C information-related products, Hsu said he wanted to use the company's know-how to build a successful shopping center along the same line in Taiwan.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CNA
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Old May 20th, 2010, 07:07 PM   #35
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Taipei MRT under fire for shoddy construction work
DPP councilors and rapid transit department workers revealed trash inside the grouting of a wall at a project near the MRT Brown Line
19 May 2010
Taipei Times

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilors yesterday accused the Taipei City Government of shoddy construction work at a roadbed project near the MRT *Wenshan-Neihu line's Songshan Airport Station, and urged the government to improve the condition of the construction immediately.

During an inspection at the construction site, which is located on Minzu E Road between MRT Songshan Airport Station and Zhongshan Junior School Station, DPP Taipei City councilors Chuang Ruei-hsiung, Huang Hsian-chun and Liu Yao-ren asked workers from the Taipei City Department of Rapid Transit Systems (DORTS) to dig a hole in the wall. Trash, including cans and bottles, were found inside the grouting of the wall.

"No wonder the Wenhu Line has experienced so many malfunctions since it began operations. The city government used trash to fill in a wall. Who knows what else it used at other sites along the line," Chuang said.

Liu and Huang joined Chuang in questioning the quality of the line's construction and demanded that the city government resolve the matter as soon as possible.

"Some local residents have complained about the construction work. How much longer do [MRT] passengers have to fear taking the MRT?" Liu asked.

Huang said the DORTS had known about the problem since March, but failed to repair the wall until yesterday when they demanded the department solve the problem.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin later promised to have the city's Department of Government Ethics look into the factors behind the shoddy construction.

"The quality of construction projects in Taipei City should be the best and I will not accept such poor quality construction work," he said.

Chen Yao-wei, a division chief at the rapid transit department, said the problematic construction site was a temporary office for construction workers and would not affect the passengers, as it was not along the route of the line.

"We take the quality of the MRT construction and the safety of passengers very seriously and the construction site the councilors are talking about is not part of MRT buildings," he said.

Chen acknowledged the department's negligence in construction and promised to ask the contractor to redo the grouting within three weeks.
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Old May 26th, 2010, 07:51 PM   #36
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Shining expects property prices to rise nationwide
20 May 2010
Taipei Times

With expectations that a government-proposed trade pact with China will facilitate cross-strait exchanges, a local real estate developer yesterday forecast that Taiwan's property prices will rise at a low and steady pace over the next few years.

"As interest rates are still kept at extremely low levels, local real estate prices are expected to see a moderate hike of between five and ten percent per year," Tai*chung-based Shining Group chairman Lai Cheng-i told reporters.

Speaking at an event to celebrate the company's 33rd anniversary, Lai said that an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with China has built up momentum for a potential hike in housing prices.

However, Lai voiced concern about property inflation, saying that real estate developers also don't want property prices to rise too sharply as it would not only undermine Taiwan's competitiveness but also inadvertently affect the profits of property companies.

Remaining upbeat about Taiwan's real state sector, Lai said that Shining is planning to push sales of NT$3 billion (US$93.2 million) and NT$5 billion in Taichung and NT$30 billion in Taipei every year, adding that total sales in Taiwan this year could reach NT$1 trillion.

"The global financial crisis caused local property sales to drop by NT$400 billion to NT$500 billion in the past two years, but with the economy picking up momentum and the signing of the ECFA, this year's sales will pick-up," Lai said.
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Old May 31st, 2010, 05:14 PM   #37
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Ma mulls private jet centers in Taipei
As Taipei is set to begin direct flights to Shanghai next month, Ma says complaints over high ticket prices for the cross-strait flights are due to insufficient supply
By Shelley Shan
31 May 2010
Taipei Times

President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday asked the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) and the Ministry of National Defense to examine the possibility of using part of the military properties at Taipei Songshan Airport to establishment private jet centers.

Ma instructed the CAA to do so when he visited the airport yesterday morning, with the airport scheduled to offer direct flights to Shanghai's Hongqiao Airport next month.

The policy, which was one of the promises Ma made during his presidential campaign two years ago, is aimed at forming a "Golden Aviation Circle" in Northeast Asia that will help connect Taipei to Shanghai, Tokyo and Seoul. Direct flights between Taipei Songshan Airport and Tokyo's Haneda International Airport are to be launched in October.

Taiwan has yet to complete negotiations with South Korea over the flight service between Songshan and Gimpo International Airport.

CAA director-general Lee Lung-wen gave a presentation on the CAA's development plan for the airport yesterday.

Lee said Songshan airport would function differently from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

"Songshan will function as the national airport in the capital, targeting time-sensitive business personnel," Lee said.

"It will provide a limited international flight service and will continue to serve as a hub for domestic flights," he said.

While Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport offers cross-*continental flights, Taipei Songshan Airport will provide regional flights within Northeast Asia and to some first-tier business cities in China, Lee said.

Aside from regular passenger services, Lee said the airport plans to establish a private jet service center at Songshan. Based on the CAA's plan, the ideal site to build such a facility is the presidential aircraft maintenance hangar and other properties nearby belonging to the Songshan Air Base Command.

Ma said after the presentation that the private jet service center is not designed to grant special favors to rich people.

"We are simply following a global trend by allowing private jets to land and depart from a public airport," Ma said.

The airport already allows private jet owners access to its facilities. However, unlike other countries, it does not provide separate customs, inspection, quarantine and maintenance facilities for private jet owners.

Ma also commented on the ticket price for cross-strait flights, as many passengers have complained that the direct flight service is too expensive.

"Though the number of cross-strait flights has increased from 270 to 370 per week, this is not enough to bring down the retail price," Ma said, adding that it is a question of supply and demand.

To help lower the cost of cross-strait flights, both sides must increase the number of flights to 500 per week, he said.

Ma also reiterated that the nation would not open the middle line of the Taiwan Strait for cross-strait flights. Regarding cross-strait negotiations for the fifth freedom of the air, or the right to fly connecting flights, Ma said the issue is not a priority at the moment.

"The issue we need to address now is the insufficient supply of cross-strait flights," he said.
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Old June 7th, 2010, 05:06 PM   #38
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Plans begin for airport terminal
The CAA is seeking designs for the third terminal at the airport in Taoyuan from overseas architectural teams, the CAA chief said

7 June 2010
Taipei Times

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) said yesterday it will start planning the construction of a third terminal at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport this year.

Minister of Transportation and Communications Mao Chi-kuo said in a briefing to President Ma Ying-jeou that the ministry aims to re-establish Taoyuan International Airport as a hub in Northeast Asia.

LOCOMOTIVE

"The cross-strait direct aviation policy has helped resume the growth of passenger flights at Taoyuan Airport," Mao said. "The next project is the Airport Zone project, which will spread the economic benefits from the airport to nearby areas. The third terminal will serve as the locomotive of the Airport Zone project."

Civil Aeronautics Administration Director-General Lee Lung-wen said the preliminary plan is to build an eco-friendly third terminal next to the second terminal, adding that the CAA is seeking designs from well-known architectural teams overseas.

Ma inspected the facilities at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport yesterday morning. Along with Mao and Lee, Ma was also accompanied by Taoyuan County Commissioner John Wu and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate for Sinbei City Eric Chu. The Airport Zone project was proposed during Chu's term as Taoyuan County commissioner.

During his inspection tour, Ma examined the baggage carts and the restaurants at the airport, which have been criticized by some of the nation's celebrities. The airport should strive to bring in restaurants serving Taiwanese snacks that are normally available in Shihlin and *Liuho night markets, Ma said.

Lee said a total of 2,600 baggage carts should be in place by the end of the August, adding that there will soon be customer surveys on both the airport's restaurants and baggage carts.

Lee added there will also be a library available for passengers transiting at the airport. A third runway will be built to accommodate larger aircraft, such as the Airbus 380.

Ma also inspected the airport rail construction sites, which is scheduled to begin operation in October 2014.

The Bureau of High Speed Rail (BHSR), which is in charge of building the airport rail, is planning to offer express train services that will allow passengers from Taipei to arrive at the airport in 28 minutes.

INCENTIVE AND INCLINE

Ma, however, said the operation time should be reduced to 20 to 25 minutes if the bureau wants more people to stop driving to the airport and use the rail service instead.

"It [the system] takes such a long time to build and it moves so slowly, who will come and use it?" Ma said. "We should have the ambition to make the travel time shorter. If we could manage to make it into a 20 minute or 25 minute ride, this would be a greater incentive to use the service."

BHSR Director-General Chu Shu said that raising the speed might be a problem because a quarter of the railway section would have an incline of 3 percent or more.
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Old June 16th, 2010, 04:51 PM   #39
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Ma accuses DPP of neglecting airport
Former premier Frank Hsieh, of the DPP, pledged to relocate Songshan Airport and build a municipal park in its place when he ran for Taipei mayor
16 June 2010
Taipei Times

President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday accused the former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration of neglecting Taipei Songshan Airport during its eight years in office.

Ma said he began talking about establishing direct flights between Songshan and Shanghai's Hong*qiao Airport when he was Taipei mayor about 10 years ago.

However, when the DPP was in power, it was impossible to realize this goal, he said. When he was campaigning for president, he said he proposed establishing direct flights between Taipei and Shanghai to create "a golden business triangle of Northeast Asia" with Shanghai and Tokyo.

Direct flights between *Songshan and Hongqiao airports were launched on Monday.

Songshan Airport has been in decline after the high-speed rail system became operational, Ma said at the Presidential Office, while adding that Taiwan must continue development.

On the "fifth freedom of the air," Ma said it was not urgent to negotiate the matter with China because the number of flights and transfers were more important.

The fifth freedom of the air refers to the right of an airline from one country to land in a second country, then to pick up passengers and fly on to a third country, where the passengers finally disembark.

Meanwhile, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin, who will be seeking re-election in November, and his DPP opponent, former premier Su Tseng-chang, traded barbs over Songshan Airport yesterday.

Su told reporters yesterday that he did not think the airport met the requirements to become an international airport.

On Monday's launch of direct links between Songshan and *Hongqiao airports, Su said he had heard public complaints that the aging municipal airport's facilities were "too old and disorganized, while airplane tickets were too expensive."

"For 20 years, Songshan Airport has been in a constant state of almost being relocated," Su said, adding that as a result, the airport could not even match up to China's third-tier airports.

One of the election pledges by former premier Frank Hsieh during his DPP-backed run for mayor in 2006 was for Songshan airport to be moved out of the city and the existing site to be turned into a municipal park.

Su, however, denied advocating the removal of Songshan Airport, saying its location in the center of Taipei was convenient and that Taipei City should not have to rely solely on Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

Instead, he said he would listen to public opinions on how to improve Songshan Airport.

On Su's comment that he would listen to public opinions on the airport, Hau said: "The former DPP government wanted to abolish the airport ... I am glad that Mr Su realized that a majority of people oppose abolishing the airport."

Hau also promised to push for improvement at the airport and brushed off Su's criticism of its current condition, saying Su had opposed developing the airport when he served as premier during the DPP administration.

He said the Ministry of Transportation and Communications had budgeted NT$600 million (US$18 million) for reconstruction of the airport, adding that the city government would cooperate with the Civil Aeronautics Administration in expanding the airport to accommodate a larger number of passengers.
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Old June 19th, 2010, 12:03 PM   #40
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I think that Songshan to Hongqiao is very convenient for flights, it cuts the hour trip from Shanghai to pudong airport, and the hour trip from Chaing Kai Shek airport to Taipei. But i think it would be nice to have a park there, as taipei is desperately in need of a park. The problem I have no idea where they would relocate to, there isnt much flat land in that area
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