President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who was elected to a second term on Saturday, needs to take action instead of listening to more advice, one of Taiwan’s most prominent businessmen said yesterday.
“President Ma has already received too many suggestions,” said Terry Gou (郭台銘), chairman of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), the world’s largest contract maker of consumer electronics, when asked by the media if he had any economic advice for Ma ahead of his second term.
“As long as the direction is right, just do it, and do your utmost to achieve it,” he said on the sidelines of the company’s year-end party in Taipei.
Gou emphasized the importance of reforming the economy and creating opportunities for younger generations to start enterprises.
“Once you start doing it, you can adjust your methods. Even if you make a mistake, you can always correct it,” he said. “President Ma also understands this, but he tends to listen too much.”
A good president, Gou said, needs to be a statesman to run an election, an entrepreneur to manage the government, an economist to negotiate with China and a strategist to make decisions.
Gou also said Taiwan needs to speed up efforts to adjust and transform its industrial structure to cope with the changing global economic environment.
China, Japan and the US are all making changes to their industrial structures and Taiwan should follow suit and catch up with them, he said.
“We need to take action now,” Gou said.
Hon Hai plans to expand -investment on both sides of the Taiwan Strait this year. After the Lunar New Year holiday, the company plans to hire 600 new employees, mostly engineers, for a new factory in the Central Taiwan Science Park in Greater Taichung that will develop intelligent robotics and automation equipment.
It will also cooperate with local universities and the government in the area, Gou said, adding that he plans to make Greater Taichung a leading global center for automation, precision machinery and other sophisticated machine tools.
While capitalizing on Taiwan’s talent and technology, the company will also make use of the labor force and market in China, he said.
Hon Hai, which manufactures iPhones and iPads for Apple Inc, mostly in factories in China, is trying to cut its operating costs in the face of rising labor costs in China by using automated equipment and intelligent robots.
“In my opinion, China will still be the world’s factory in the next 10 to 20 years,” he said.
Gou said he hoped the Taiwan-China investment protection pact being negotiated could cover intellectual property rights, saying that a mutual standard should be set so that businesses can enjoy fair competition.
Meanwhile, other business leaders said Ma should pay greater attention to Taiwan’s trade relations with its regional partners and emerging countries during his second term, rather than increase Taiwan’s trade volume with China.
General Chamber of Commerce chairman Lawrence Chang (張平沼) said on Saturday that the government should focus on enhancing the “quality” of Taiwan’s trade with China, instead of increasing the volume of such trade, which is already high.
“Taiwan should take its trade with Southeast Asian countries and emerging nations more seriously,” he said.
National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises chairman Roscher Lin (林秉彬) also said that since Taiwan already enjoys a high trade volume with China, it would be difficult, as well as “unhealthy,” for the government to try to increase this volume.