Gov. Norm Bangerter's recent trip to the Far East paid dividends - Thursday he announced that Compeq Manufacturing Co. Ltd., Taoyuan, Taiwan, will build a plant in Salt Lake City where multilayered printed computer circuit boards will be manufactured.
Bangerter toured the Compeq plant during his Far East trip last week and cemented the deal, which will result in 232 employees in the first year of operation and 637 jobs in the fifth year. The company will make a $15 million initial investment that will grow to a $25 million investment by the fifth year.In a press conference in his State Capitol office, the governor said it took plenty of convincing for Compeq officials to select Utah for their new facility. Bangerter said no tax incentives were offered - only a promise of increased profits and the fact they were operating in Utah.
This marks the first time a Taiwanese manufacturing firm has been attracted to the United States through a state corporate recruiting program. Other Taiwan interests have been attracted to joint ventures by U.S. companies, according to Kirk Green, state business marketing director.
Compeq supplies circuit boards to customers that include IBM, Intel, Samsung, Unisys, NCR, Wang, Honeywell, Olivetti, General Electric and others, the governor said.
Francis H. Suitter and Brent Armstrong, principals in the law firm of Suitter, Axland, Armstrong and Hanson, have been appointed agents for Compeq's dealings in the United States, which will include construction of a 140,000-square-foot building on 15 acres in the Salt Lake International Center.
Suitter said Compeq officials chose the international center because of its proximity to the Salt Lake International Airport. Several months ago, rumors abounded that the company was looking at Springville and Provo in addition to Salt Lake City.
Armstrong said a design team from Compeq is in Salt Lake City working with the Boyer Co. to design the building. He couldn't put a time to the start of construction but said company officials are anxious to get started quickly.
Bringing Compeq to Utah was a major coup, said Green, a deal that was put together in two months. Company officials were looking seriously at Ohio and Portland, Ore., but Utah officials convinced H. W. Chen, board chairman, to visit the state before making a decision.
Chen originally favored Portland because of the large Asian population in the area, but his top executives favored Utah. When Chen visited Utah more than two months ago he said, "When my people told me they wanted to look at Utah, I told them not even a bird would lay an egg there."
But after his visit, Chen said, "Now I am telling the world this is where we will build our nest."
In a recent press conference in Taiwan, Chen said Utah was chosen for the computer facility because of efforts to develop cultural and social ties with his country, a highly educated and highly principled work force, a large number of bilingual residents, the quality of life and assistance given in the selection process.
Originally, 35 engineers will come from Taiwan to get the new plant running, but that number will decrease as time goes on, said Armstrong. The governor expects the jobs available at Compeq to be substantially above minimum wage because most of the employees are equipment operators and not assembly line workers.