Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Thursday broke ground on a light-emitting diode plant that marks one of the company's most ambitious forays into energy-saving technologies.
The factory and an attached research centre, located in the Hsinchu Science Park in northern Taiwan, will require investment of 5.5 billion Taiwan dollars (170 million US dollars), the company said.
"The project marks an important milestone for the company's entry into green energy," the world's leading contract microchip maker by revenues said in a statement.
The plant is scheduled to begin production in the first quarter of 2011, it said.
The investment came after the chipmaker in December bought a 20 percent stake in Motech Industries, the island's biggest solar cell manufacturer, for around 193 million US dollars.
The application of light-emitting diodes has increased in products such as commercial signs and flat screen televisions, as calls grow for efficient energy to cope with global warming.
The technology has existed for years, but recent advances have made it more likely that light-emitting diodes can in some cases even replace traditional light bulbs.
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