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Suzhou Becomes No.1 Manufacturing Base of Laptop Computers in the World

With the last production line consigned for laptop computers in Taiwan, moved to Suzhou Industrial Park, Suzhou replaced Taiwan as the world's largest manufacturing base of laptop computers. The relocated production line belongs to First International Computer Co., which has built a new plant in SIP to start trial production this month, making the annual production capacity 4.8 million laptops. The latest statistics from departments concerned show that the total output of laptops in Suzhou has hit 15 million in 2005, approximately 25% that of the whole world.

The eye-catching hi-tech industrial bases in the Yangtze delta region has over the years attracted investment from thousands of electronic enterprises across the world. In Suzhou, IT industry has become the No.1 industry, in which the concentration of IT manufacturers from Taiwan is particularly noteworthy. Laptop manufacturing used to be the most important industry in Taiwan for the past ten years, since 60% of the laptop computers of the world were produced by Taiwan manufacturers, among which 90% were consigned by famous brands like DELL and HP. The recent years saw a continued upsurge of investment in Suzhou by IT enterprises of Taiwan, and as a result, more and more laptop manufacturers of established fame in Taiwan gathered in Suzhou. Of the top ten laptop manufacturers of Taiwan, 9 have settled down in Suzhou, including Kinposh, Twinhead, Mitac, etc., mostly in kunshan, SND, and SIP, thanks to the sound industrial foundation and the superiority of IT industrial chain in Suzhou.

The establishment of laptop computer manufacturing system in Suzhou has inspired many laptop enterprises from Taiwan, Japan, and Korea, and the recent transfer of the production line of First International Computer to Suzhou became a new focus of attention. Zhang Li, Deputy Secretary-general of Taipei Chamber of Computer Industry, told reporters that the relocation of First International Computer's production line signified the completion of the transfer of laptop production from Taiwan to the Mainland, and that focus of the enterprises in Taiwan would be switched marketing and sales and R&D. The process of transfer actually started years ago. As early and 2002 and 2003, Inventech, Twinhead, Clevo, and Uniwill had begun their investment in Suzhou. In 2003, Uniwill Computer, one of the top ten in Taiwan, completed the construction of 55,000 sq.m. new plant in SIP and expanded its production capacity to 2 million laptop computer a year. When the whole premises are built, Uniwill's annual capacity will rise to 7.2 million laptops. Besides the Taiwan enterprises, Samsung of Korea moved its laptop production line from Korea to Suzhou last May.

Apart from considerations of production cost and concentration of industry, an important factor for the relocation of laptop manufacturers from Taiwan to Suzhou is that consigning tycoons of laptop computers like IBM and Toshiba hope to have the products directly delivered in China to save customs clearance fees and to keep the goods in closer range of customers.

Sept. 23, 2005

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