Taiwan Business in Brief – May 2022

The Green Jade, Taiwan's first domestically produced crane vessel for offshore wind power installations, made its debut at a launching ceremony on April 3. Photo: CNA

By Courtney Donovan Smith

Taishang Factories Disrupted by COVID-19

Taiwanese manufacturers in China, particularly those based in Shanghai and neighboring Kunshan, have suffered plant closures and supply chain issues due to China’s “dynamic zero-COVID” policies and the extended lockdown of the Shanghai region, widespread disruptions to trucking within China, and delays at the port of Shanghai.

Dozens of companies were ordered to cease operations during the initial lockdown, but many resumed limited operations in the mid-to-late April period. In many cases, factory workers were forced to live in “closed-loop” conditions that prohibited them from leaving the plants. Some workers refused to comply, and internal supply chain issues in China limited the ability of many firms to fully restart production.

Many factories, such as Foxconn’s Kunshan plant, had initially been allowed to continue operations but were put back into lockdown being hit by a COVID-19 outbreak. Some of the better-known companies impacted by supply chain problems and lockdowns included Foxconn, Quanta, Giant, Unimicron, Pegatron, and Compal. Many announced delays in product shipments to clients.

Offshore Wind Industry Makes Tangible Progress

On April 3, Kaohsiung-based CSBC Corp. held a launching ceremony for Taiwan’s first domestically produced crane vessel, Green Jade, to be used for offshore wind farm projects. The 216.5-meter-long ship is the world’s second largest. The NT$7.5 billion heavy-lift and installation vessel will be operated by CDWE, a joint venture between CSBC and Belgium-based Dredging, Environmental, and Marine Engineering NV. It will be able to transport wind turbines, jackets, components, and structures in a single shipment.

Later in April, Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas, together with local partner Tien Li Offshore Wind Technology, unveiled the first domestically built wind turbine blade at their 210,000-square-meter facility in Taichung. Consisting of locally produced materials, the blade weighs 35 tons, measures 85 meters in length, and will be installed later this year on a 9.5MW turbine for the Changfang offshore wind project of Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP). Production of the turbine was completed two years ahead of schedule.

Capping off a milestone month for the industry, Danish giant Ørsted announced that its Greater Changhua Offshore Wind Farm – which it refers to as “Taiwan’s biggest offshore wind farm” – began delivering power directly to the national power grid, four years after work on the project first started. The company declined to specify how much power is currently being provided to the Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) but said that once the wind farm is fully operational, its total of 111 wind turbines will produce enough energy to supply a million households.