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Yunnan 'silicon valley' kicks off construction
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2006-04-11 10:45

Asia's biggest construction project of highly pure multi-crystal silicon has started in Qujing City, as part of the plan to build a "silicon valley" in South China's Yunan Province, said Xinhua news agency.

The total investment will amount to 10 billion yuan (US$1.25 billion).

After the first phase is complete, at a cost of 2.5 billion yuan, the facility, invested by a Yunnan company, will be capable of producing 3,000 tons of multi-crystal silicon annually. But the report didn't say when the first phase will be built.

The annual output is expected to reach 10,000 tons in three years, with sales of 50 billion yuan a year, Xinhua said.

Multi-crystal silicon is a major component in solar batteries, accounting for 80 percent of the cost. Yunnan Province boasts rich reserves of high-quality silex. The province used to only produce and export silicon in raw form, as it couldn't produce it in multi-crystal silicon form.

The new project is expected to end China's long history of import dependence on the silicon product. China previously imported 95 percent of the finished silicon product for solar batteries and chips.

According to Xinhua, China's demand for multi-crystal silicon was 3,800 tons in 2005, but in 2004 China produced only 60 tons of the multi-crystal silicon.
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