Wed, Sep 17, 2003 - Page 10 News List

Conference aims to draw more capital to country


Taiwan has attracted 174 foreign investment projects valued at NT$136.49 billion so far this year, Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-hsiang (施顏祥) announced yesterday.

Among the 174 foreign investments Taiwan has garnered, 107 projects worth NT$66 billion have been carried out, while the rest have been underwritten by foreign investors, he said.

"Although foreign investment has decreased in recent years due to pull from China, I think Taiwan is still appealing to foreign investors in the Asian region," Shih told a press conference held yesterday to update information associated with the 2003 Taiwan Business Alliance Conference.

The government is looking to secure another 264 would-be investment projects valued at NT$61.4 billion by year end.

"We believe more foreign capital will be delivered during the conference, as companies were highly interested in attending the conference," Shih said.

The four-day conference is to be held at the Taipei International Convention Center beginning Oct. 19. It is designed to woo more technical cooperation and fresh capital from foreign investors.

Foreign investment in Taiwan has consistently fallen in the past few years: from US$7.6 billion in 2000, to US$5.13 billion in 2001, and to US$3.27 billion last year, according to ministry statistics.

To date, 694 trade representatives from companies worldwide have signed up for the conference, many more than the ministry's original anticipation of 600 participants. Among those representatives, 213 are from Taiwanese companies, while the others are from foreign or multinational firms.

In addition, the ministry has also invited several prominent business leaders to speak during the conference.

To address the subject of Taiwan's favorable investment environment, the ministry also invited foreign companies operating in Taiwan to share their experiences of doing business here.

"For our company, the most valuable asset Taiwan has is its highly educated and industrious workers," said Wang Chang-yi (王長怡), CEO of the US-based United Biomedical Inc (UBI).

Viewing Taiwan as an excellent laboratory for the bio-tech sector, Wang established UBI Asia here in 1998. Wang said he hopes the government will press for the passage of related laws to allow biotech or pharmaceutical firms to proceed with drug tests and other projects here.

Yuichi Ejiri, chief operating officer of Sony Network Taiwan Ltd (So-net Taiwan) also lauded Taiwan's investment environment citing its quality workers, its legal system and proper help from the government as contributing factors.

So-net, which was set up in August 2001, has now attracted over 330,000 members in Taiwan for its broadband service.

"I believe our business will get better, as the government is promoting broadband network and digital content, despite the fact that the fixed-line sector has not yet been opened to private telecommunication operators, Ejiri said.

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