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Firms in Hsinchu Science Park lay off 496 workers in October

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The groundbreaking ceremony of the X base.

Firms stationed in the Hsinchu Science Park, which houses major tech companies in Taiwan, reported laying off a total of 496 employees in October amid weakened global demand, Hsinchu Science Park Bureau Director-General Wayne Wang (王永壯) said Monday.

Wang said at a press conference that a total of 48 companies in the science park laid off employees in October, including one hard disk supplier which let 241 employees go after deciding to close its plant due to falling demand.

Wang said other companies reported sporadic layoffs as they adjusted to weakening demand.

The official, responding to media coverage of the layoffs over the weekend, said that although the global economy was struggling with high inflation and interest rates, recession remained unlikely.

He said many companies in the Hsinchu Science Park are requesting to expand, adding that construction of the first software building in the 36-hectare "X" base -- which will be a hub for the development of emerging technologies such as precision healthcare and generative AI -- is scheduled to be complete in May 2024 and will spark a hiring drive.

Chen Tzong-chyuan (陳宗權), deputy head of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), which oversees Taiwan's three major science parks -- Hsinchu Science Park, Central Taiwan Science Park and Southern Taiwan Science Park -- said at the news conference that despite the layoffs, the number of employees at the Hsinchu Science Park at the end of October rose 2 percent from a year earlier to 176,504.

In the first 10 months of this year, 1,605 workers in the Hsinchu Science Park were laid off, less than 1 percent of the total number of employees, Chen added.

So far this year, Chen said, a total of 52 foreign and local companies have set up shop in the country's three major science parks, with their presence expected to trigger NT$352.9 billion in private investment.

Chen said the total number of people employed in all three science parks was 323,976, up from 323,113 a year earlier.

Chen said the NSTC has instructed Hsinchu Science Park authorities to provide necessary assistance to the laid-off workers and urge firms to use furlough programs where possible to cushion workers from the impacts of falling global demand.

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