Taiwan: From 5 to 100 employees and beyond!
Madrid / 11 May 2020
Offshore wind is only in its early days in Taiwan, but this emerging market offers huge potential for renewable energy. The local government has demonstrated strong commitments and support to the industry, with the goal to increase its share in the overall energy mix to 20% by 2025. Taiwan’s geography, surrounded by water and with strong winds constantly blowing in the Taiwan Strait, also makes it a perfect place for offshore wind power. These factors prompted Siemens Gamesa to support the market on its path to energy transition.
In December 2017, Siemens Gamesa’s presence on the island formerly known as Formosa began to grow. The main office in Taipei has since expanded from five employees to over 100 locally-based employees just two and a half years later.
“I joined Siemens Gamesa as a pioneer in offshore wind power, and one of the few foreign companies which decided to establish a regional hub in Taiwan. There are many opportunities ahead as the wind business is booming here, and I believe that SGRE is here to stay,” explains Louise Lin, the 100th employee. Louise will be responsible for talent acquisition in HR, and for all HR operations for Siemens Gamesa in Taichung.
But first, let’s look back to 2017. The Taipei location was meant to serve as a regional offshore hub, with focus on Sales and Service activities. Today, it has grown significantly and includes new roles in Controlling & Finance, Human Resources, and Health, Safety and Environment. It remains Siemens Gamesa’s main office in Taiwan and the company’s regional offshore wind hub.
In 2019, Siemens Gamesa opened two more permanent locations in Taichung, the pre-assembly, installation, and service hub for all Taiwanese projects.
The first one is an Operations and Maintenance facility, which will serve the Formosa 1 project. The second is a branch office in Wuqi District, which will provide administrative support to all future activities, including nacelle assembly.
James Oxbrow, the Head of Project Management for Offshore in Asia Pacific, is enthusiastic about the opportunities. “Taiwan has become one of the central growth areas for the global offshore wind industry. It is a fantastic place to live and work.” He believes the key for a successful story there is the recruitment of local talent, eager to learn about offshore wind and take part in big infrastructure projects. “The market environment in Taiwan is very different than anything we see in Europe. Dynamics in the team have to support bilateral exchange. When people are working together for the same goal, it is much easier to overcome any type of cultural difference.”
Indeed, there are 10 different countries represented in the local workforce.
Jeffery Lee, Head of Human Resources in Taiwan, backs James’ view: "If you are eager to learn and are willing to take on new challenges with a can-do spirit, then now is a great time to join a booming industry in a fast-growing company!”
In early 2020, Siemens Gamesa started the construction of a nacelle assembly facility in the port of Taichung, now on track for start of production in 2021. The facility will support local nacelle assembly for Orsted's 900 MW Greater Changhua 1&2a offshore wind projects, and will set the foundation for a larger regional offshore wind industrial base in the future.
Looking forward, Siemens Gamesa has signed contracts to supply 238 additional offshore wind turbines across 3 projects totaling close to 2 GW GW for 3 different customers. This is enough capacity to power an estimated 2 million Taiwanese households.
Although offshore wind is still in a developing stage in Taiwan, the market is growing exponentially. Siemens Gamesa is taking advantage to increase its scope and the size of its local organization. The company is planning to hire additional people by 2022, largely to work in the new nacelle assembly facility in Taichung.
There is still a lot of talent to be discovered and integrated into the Siemens Gamesa team in Taiwan over the coming years, and for sure the addition of Louise, the 100th employee, will be essential in getting it done!