The Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA, 外貿協會) said yesterday that local companies had received orders worth US$2.5 billion from Chinese companies since May 31, when the first Chinese purchase group visited Taiwan.
The figure is expected to reach US$8.1 billion for the entire year as a result of follow-up orders and more visits by Chinese purchase groups, TAITRA said in a statement.
The remarks came amid market speculation about the real impact that China’s domestic-oriented stimulus packages — including subsidies for farmers to buy consumer electronics such as air-conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines, water heaters, personal computers, mobile phones and microwaves — will have on Taiwanese firms.
Last week, the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) reported that despite Beijing’s subsidies to rural provinces for the purchase of consumer electronics, Acer Inc (宏碁) and Taiwan Sakura Corp (櫻花企業) were the only two Taiwanese companies that managed to sell anything to Chinese consumers during the first half of the year.
Citing statistics from China’s Ministry of Commerce, the paper said that Acer sold 208 PCs, while Taiwan Sakura distributed 13 water heaters in China. Those figures were infinitesimal when contrasted with the 9.61 million total units of consumer electronics sold in China during the period, for a value of 16.23 billion yuan (US$2.38 billion).
The Chinese government’s data showed that a total of 5.42 million refrigerators were sold in the first hakf of this year. Of this number, Chinese home appliances brands Haier Group (海爾) and Hefei Meiling Household Appliances Co (合肥美菱) took up 37 percent and 10 percent of total sales respectively, while domestic rival Sampo Corp (聲寶電子) was completely left out.
Furthermore, Lenovo Group Ltd (聯想) and the computing arm of Haier each sold 48,000 and 30,000 PCs respectively, data showed.
The semi-official TAITRA said the reason Taiwanese brands lagged behind their Chinese competitors was attributable to their rather small distribution networks in China.
But TAITRA said the arrivals of Chinese purchase groups created business opportunities for local component suppliers of liquid-crystal-display panels, integrated circuits and modules, as well as cellphones, computer components and accessories, plastic and chemical products, textile products and handicrafts.
TAITRA said another Chinese purchase group is scheduled to visit Taiwan on Aug. 19, focusing on mechanical, petrochemical and electronic components and automobile parts.