IN SHORT BUSINESS

BenQ heading to Slovakia

TAIWANESE electrical-engineering company BenQ is considering building a production plant for LCD monitors in Slovakia.

Other Asian firms may follow BenQ in shifting production to Slovakia. The main reason is the recent European Union (EU) reclassification of LCD DVI monitors from the category of computer accessories to TV sets, thanks to which a 14-percent duty will apply.

South Korean electronics giant Samsung is currently the biggest investor in LCD monitor production in Slovakia. The firm has built a production facility in Galanta to make laser printers, satellite sets, plasma TV sets, LCD TV sets and DVD players. It has also set up its logistics center for central Europe in the southern Slovak town.

Hyundai ImageQuest is considering building an LCD monitor production plant in eastern Europe as well. LG Philips LCD has also expressed interest in building new production capacities with lower production costs.

BenQ's intention was one of the topics on the agenda of the Taiwan-Slovak Economic Committee meeting in Taipei last week. According to the head of the Taiwan Economy Ministry's Industrial Development and Investment Section, Chu Ta-weng, the Taiwanese government supports local firms' investments abroad.

BenQ previously operated under the trade name Acer Communications and Multimedia Group. The firm employs 15,000 people worldwide and its turnover was more than USD 3.6 billion in 2003. In addition to Taiwan, it manufactures electronics in China, Malaysia and Mexico.

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