Taiwan’s Cleanroom Industry

Cleanroom technology is a necessary element in the supply chain and production line in quite a few sectors including pharmaceuticals, semiconductors, biotech, medical devices and life sciences, optics, nanotechnology, aerospace, automotive and in some cases, military development. While different standards exist across these sectors, Taiwan’s cleanroom industry stands at the forefront of innovation and global competitiveness. Mika Sahlström, Asian Insiders partner explores Taiwan’s cleanroom industry.

Cleanrooms plays a crucial role in maintaining stringent environmental conditions for various manufacturing processes and sectors. Taiwan with its robust industrial base, has witnessed significant growth in the cleanroom sector and has emerged as a pivotal player in the global market. As the demand for high-tech manufacturing and precision industries intensifies globally, Taiwan’s cleanroom industry is poised for significant growth and expansion.

Taiwan’s industrial landscape has undergone remarkable transition over recent decades, shifting from labour-intensive industries to high-tech manufacturing. The rise of semiconductor fabrication (read more here) and electronics manufacturing has fueled demand for cleanroom facilities. The government’s proactive policies, investment in research and development along with collaborations with global technology leaders has positioned Taiwan’s cleanroom industry as a global leader. The trajectory of this sector is closely related to the evolution of its semiconductor and electronics sectors, where Taiwan plays a critical role in the supply chain for American and Western tech manufacturers. Taiwan produces more than 60% of the world’s chips at present and over 90% of the most advanced ones.

With the strength of Taiwan’s cleanroom industry based on robust domestic demand and the competitive strength of Taiwan’s semiconductor and electronics sector, this is likely to move into overdrive with the recent approval of the European Chips Act in September 2023. This is based on the finding of the European Commission’s Chips Survey, highlighting that industry expects the demand for chips to double by 2030 and that Europe faces challenges in both meeting this demand as well as ensuring the future security of the European chip-making sector. This intense focus on the European chip ecosystem will lead to increased demand in every aspect of chip design, testing and production. In total, more that EUR 43 billion of policy-driven investment will support the Chips Act until 2030, to be matched by long term private investment.

The opportunities presented by future-forward thinking, along with significant looming competition from China ensure that Taiwan’s cleanroom industry must continue to maintain a technological advantage in areas such as advanced filtration systems, including high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) and ultra-low penetration air (ULPA) systems along with standard-setting outgassing systems. Major players are also developing advanced real-time monitoring technologies as well as cleanroom automation and robotics to reduce human engagement and intervention within cleanroom environments.

Cleanrooms are required to meet common global classification standards as well as industry-specific requirements. These determine levels of cleanliness and are defined by the allowed amount of particle count and size along with other aspects such as rates of air changes, levels of acceptable humidity and so on. The main system of classification is laid out by the International Standards Organisation with ISO classifications applying to cleanrooms based on their sector and uses. Some cleanroom applications must also comply with special standards such as cGMP, these tailored towards unique threats facing their processes and uses.

While Taiwan’s cleanroom industry has developed closely alongside their electronics sector, their precision technology allows positioning for applications in the pharmaceuticals sector, where the control of air pressure, temperature, calibrated humidity etc is required. Strict controls also are required in the development of gene therapies, stem cell research, cancer research and other critical life sciences. Taiwan’s cleanroom industry is developing a larger footprint in biotech, life sciences, medical and pharmaceuticals with extended applications in cell culture, genetic and and tissue engineering, biosensor and diagnostic device research, microbiological research and biologics production, genomics and proteomics research, molecular biology, analytical chemistry as well as development and production of inhalable and injectable medications. The rapid growth of the Indian pharmaceuticals sector (read more here) provides another key market for Taiwan’s cleanroom industry.

Asian Insiders offers experience and know-how in Taiwan and in Taiwan’s cleanroom industry. With expertise in foreign market entry and in supporting global market entry strategies, Asian Insiders offers a no-obligation feasibility or market discovery conversation. Contact Jari Hietala, Managing Partner: jari.hietala(at)asianinsiders.com or Mika Sahlström, Taiwan Partner: mika.sahlstrom(at)asianinsiders.com

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