December 2015: Taiwan Society in Brief

To Save Face, Shun Ting Hsin, Says NTU

Ting Hsin Industrial Oil and Fat Co. was acquitted by the Changhua County District Court in November of all charges stemming from a food safety scandal last year that accused the company of producing oils for food processing from tainted materials.

The court rejected charges that Ting Hsin had imported from Vietnam fats rendered from diseased pigs, citing lack of sufficient evidence. The court further found that the company’s food oil had been purified and made safe for human consumption, regardless of the quality of the source materials. Prosecutors had sought 30-year prison sentence for company chairman Wei Ying-chung.

The acquittal sparked a public outcry and prompted National Taiwan University (NTU) to lead a boycott against Ting Hsin products. In announcing support for the boycott, NTU President Yang Pan-chyr expressed concern that the acquittal will lower international confidence in Taiwan’s products.

London Firm Wins Terminal 3 Bid

The London branch of international architectural firm Rogers Stirk + Partners, headed by renowned architect Richard Rogers, won the bid to design the new Terminal 3 at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. The company, which is working in partnership with local architectural firm Fei and Cheng Associates and engineers from the Arup Group, impressed the jury with its “innovative planning and design.”

The 640,000-square-meter terminal is expected to be completed by 2020 and will nearly double the airport’s terminal capacity, handling some 45 million passengers annually. The entire project will cost an estimated US$1.5 billion. The airport is undergoing a series of upgrades and expansions, and the plan to transform the airport and its environs into a commercial and residential hub, dubbed the Aerotropolis, is controversial but remains on the table.

AmCham Firms among Leading Innovators

Media giant Thomson Reuters last month released its 2015 list of the Top 100 Global Innovators, based on the companies’ volume of patents, the success of the inventions, the degree of patent protection across the globe, and the downstream impact of the inventions. Of the 100 companies, 32 are members of AmCham Taipei through their Taiwan subsidiaries or branches. They are 3M, Abbott Laboratories, Air Products, Alcatel-Lucent, Alstom, BASF, Becton Dickinson, Boeing, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Dow Chemical, DuPont, Emerson Electric, Ericsson, ExxonMobil, General Electric, Google, Honeywell, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Lockheed Martin, Medtronic, Micron, Microsoft, Nike, Novartis, Oracle, Philips, Qualcomm, Roche, Samsung, Sony, and Symantec. One Taiwanese company, fabless semiconductor firm MediaTek Inc., also made the list.