(AP) -- Chinese officials have invited Taiwanese companies to supply selected mainland cities with ultra-bright, energy-saving LED lights, the latest in a series of big business deals between the rivals.
At a two-day conference that ended Wednesday, Chinese delegates asked leading Taiwanese light-emitting diode makers to participate in a mainland project to light up 10 cities with cutting-edge LED street lights.
Wu Qing, an official of Heilongjiang Province, said Taiwanese makers can supply the lights in Harbin, capital of the northeast Chinese province known for its long winter nights.
Cooler than standard bulbs, the LED lights could also be installed to light up sculptures in Harbin's annual ice festival, she said.
Wu was among some 80 Chinese officials and business people who attended the Taipei event, one of several conferences that have taken place recently in both Taiwan and China to promote business cooperation.
Companies from Taiwan and China are moving ever closer as investment barriers fall between the sides under Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou's initiative to build closer economic ties.
Ma wants Beijing and Taipei to set aside consideration of the island's political status and focus instead on developing their economies. Beijing still considers the self-ruled island a part of its territory six decades after it split from the mainland amid civil war.
Li Jinmin, director of China's Institute of Semiconductors, said LED is one of the most promising fields for cross-strait cooperation.
"Taiwan has the manufacturing power, while the mainland has talent and a huge market," Li said. "With the cooperation, we can jointly tackle the current energy crisis and the financial crisis."
Businesses from the two sides also signed a letter of intent to jointly develop new LED materials and technologies and possibly set up a "world-class joint venture" in the future.
Chou Wan-shun, chairman of Taiwan's I-Chiun Precision Industry Co., said Taiwan currently makes high-end and China low-end LEDs, and their cooperation could help them challenge world leader Philips Electronics NV of the Netherlands.
Taiwan's LED industry generated NT$54 billion ($1.6 billion) in revenues last year, second only to Japan, according to the Taiwan government.
The industry produces illuminating appliances that consume less energy and have longer life spans.
In addition to outdoor and automobile lighting, LEDs are used in cell phones and digital cameras because of their compact size and ultra-brightness.
©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Explore further: Renewable energy companies use new clout in statehouses