Taiwanese enterprises are eyeing the booming services, green energy and agricultural industries in Shandong, hoping to ride on the fast growth of the eastern Chinese province.
For the first nine months of this year, 129 proposals from Taiwanese firms to invest in Shandong were approved, with total investment rising 56.4 percent from the same period last year to US$1.11 billion, Shandong Province Vice Governor Cai Limin (才利民) said.
Cai presided over a Taiwan-Shandong business investment forum in Jinan yesterday. The forum was part of a four-day Taiwanese fine products fair organized by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council and the Shandong provincial government.
Cai said Shandong — the -second-most populous province with the third-highest GDP in China — is moving toward a service--oriented economy and therefore offers ample growth opportunities for Taiwanese businesses.
Among the Taiwanese firms that have invested in the province are Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc (日月光), Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海), Shining Building Business Co (鄉林) and Yulon Group (裕隆).
TYC Brother Industrial Co (堤維西), a Tainan-based vehicle lamp manufacturer, is confident it could ride on the next green energy wave in China.
TYC general manager for China Richie Chen (陳冠錡) told the Taipei Times on the sidelines of the forum that the company had earmarked a five-year budget of US$100 million for expansion in China.
Half of the amount will go into setting up a new plant in Kunshan, Jiangsu Province, where it will conduct design, research and develop as well as produce LED bulbs that are widely used in street lamps.
“There are 20 million street lamps in China that are to be replaced because the country is going green and focusing on energy efficiency,” Chen said, adding that TYC would not miss out on this potential cash cow.
The other half of the investment budget will be used to expand its network of assembly facilities across China over the next five years. This will enable TYC to deliver end products faster to customers in China, Chen said, adding that talks with some provincial governments were under way.
While Taiwanese firms such as TYC are eager to tap into China’s burgeoning markets, their Chinese peers said Taiwan has much to offer — including creativity and technological know-how — and both should further enhance future business ties.
For one, Shandong Commercial Group Co (山東省商業集團) — more commonly known as Lushang Group (魯商集團), with Lushang meaning Shandong enterprises — has enjoyed great rapport with Uni-President Enterprises Corp (統一企業), Taiwan’s largest food maker.
Lushang and Uni-President set up a joint venture, “Unimart” (山東統一銀座), in 2005 to explore the minimart business in Shandong. Unimart now has 138 outlets in the province.
“In Taiwan, logistics service providers are able to deliver products within four hours to retail customers. This speedy delivery is what Shandong businesses can learn from Taiwan’s logistics know-how,” Lushang president Ji Xiangqi (季緗綺) said.
Set up in 1992, Lushang is a major Shandong conglomerate with businesses covering hotels, retail, drug manufacturing and travel.
It employs more than 150,000 people, with sales and profit reaching 25.6 billion yuan (US$3.83 billion) and 2.35 billion yuan respectively last year.
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