More Japanese electronics jobs for Scotland

Silicon Glen: Foreign investment tops pounds 2bn and Scotland now suppl ies one-third of Europe's PC output
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The Independent Online
JOHN ARLIDGE

Scotland Correspondent

Scotland's Silicon Glen - the electronics manufacturing area between Edinburgh and Glasgow - won its second big investment of the week yesterday.

Shin-Etsu Handotai announced a pounds 160m expansion of its silicon wafer plant at Livingston, creating 235 jobs. The investment comes three days after Chunghwa, the Taiwanese picture tube manufacturer confirmed a pounds 260m investment deal at Mossend, near Glasgow.

The Japanese company, the world's largest silicon wafer manufacturer, said it was investing in Livingston because of the success of its existing plant in the town which employs 300. Constructionhas started and production should start late next year.

The company will expand its range of silicon wafers - the basic components of computer chips .The investment brings total Japanese investment in Livingston to more than pounds 1bn. Many of the wafers will be supplied to NEC, which is building a pounds 500m manufacturing plantnearby.

Together, Shin-Etsu and Chunghwa have this week announced 3,500 new jobs in central Scotland, an area blighted by the shake-out of traditional "smokestack" industries.

George Kynoch, the Scottish industry minister, said it was "another example of a company, which has already been here for a number of years, expanding its Scottish presence to take full advantage of the benefits which Silicon Glen offers."

Katsunori Kubo, Shin-Etsu's managing director, said that the European semiconductor market was expanding sharply:"The project is a vote of confidence in our local workforce and we believe it will also have a beneficial effect on the local community, for the new jobs being created are high quality and long term. This commits the company to Livingston."

Shin-Etsu's announcement is that latest in a series of investments in the area. Recent foreign investment exceeds pounds 2bn. Scotland now produces 35 per cent of all personal computers made in Europe and electronic products account for 40 per cent of Scotland's exports, worth about pounds 8bn

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