Here’s a fun little game:
Have a look at the various manufactured goods around you and see how long it takes to find something with “Made in Taiwan” stamped on it.
At the office, it took me less than two minutes to locate an item (a Linksys router) manufactured on the tiny Pacific island. That was after one product with “Made in the U.S.A.” (a bottle of whiteboard cleaner) and half a dozen (some plastic knick-knacks, a lamp and the office garden gnome) with “Made in China.”
This may not seem surprising, but when you consider the relative economic and geographical size of Taiwan compared to manufacturing giants like the U.S. and China, it is rather remarkable.
Indeed, Taiwan is full of surprises when it comes to manufacturing in general and the machine tool industry in particular.
1) Taiwan Is the World’s Fifth-Largest Exporter of Machine Tools
Germany remains the world’s largest machine tool exporter, followed by Japan, Italy and the People’s Republic of China. Taiwan has averaged $4 billion in machine tool and accessory exports per year for the last three years. In 2015, nearly 80 percent of the country’s total machine tool output was exported to 138 countries worldwide.
2) The U.S. Is The Second-Largest Export Market for Taiwanese Machine Tools
In 2015, the United States imported $378.81 million in Taiwanese machine tools in 2015, making it the second largest export market for Taiwanese machine tools after the People’s Republic of China. Last year, Taiwan supplied the U.S. with 11 percent of its new machining centers and 10 percent of its lathes and turning centers, nearly tying Italy for third place in machine tool imports sold in the U.S.
3) Taiwan Is Home to the World’s Largest Machine Tool Manufacturing Group
More than 1,500 small- and medium-sized machine tool and accessories manufacturers reside in a narrow 60 km x 14 km (37 mi x 9 mi) strip of land known as the Dadu plateau in central Taiwan. The Fair Friend Group (FFG) incorporates 10 of these companies with another 44 overseas, including well-known brands such as FEELER and MAG. In total, FFG operates 54 manufacturing plants in 10 countries, making it the world’s largest machining center manufacturing group, according to FFG.