With the government slated to open up more local sectors to Chinese investment next month, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday said it aimed to attract more than US$200 million in investments this year.
The government started opening select sectors in stages to Chinese investors in the middle of 2009, but as of the end of last year, aggregate investments had only reached US$146 million.
Ling Chia-yuh (凌家裕), director-general of the ministry’s investment services department, told a press conference that the response from Chinese enterprises had been lackluster in the first two years.
In the middle of 2009, the government lifted a ban on Chinese investment in 205 sectors, including textiles, plastics and handsets, marking the first time Chinese capital was allowed access to Taiwanese companies.
The second phase was launched in March last year, affecting 42 sectors, including panels and semiconductors, tools and machinery, as well as services.
Ling said although Taiwan has yet to attract any investment in anchor sectors, such as panels and chips, the ministry has approached major Chinese players and “the feedback was positive.”
He said the ministry would continue to solicit support from Chinese companies and hopefully clinch deals this year.
The government last month said it was considering opening more infrastructure projects to Chinese firms in a third-wave opening that would be announced next month.
Chinese firms might be allowed to build subways, roads and stations, among other projects. They have already been given the green light to participate in 20 infrastructure projects that include convention centers.
The government last month also approved two major state-controlled Chinese banks’ applications to set up branches in Taiwan — marking the first two major Chinese investments in Taiwan this year.
The Bank of China (中國銀行) and the Bank of Communications (交通銀行), China’s third and fifth-largest lenders by assets, were authorized to invest US$40 million and US$51 million respectively in their branches in Taiwan.
Separately, the ministry said it had set this year’s foreign investment target at US$9.2 billion. It had set a lower target — total foreign investments last year reached US$9.53 billion — in the face of macroeconomic uncertainties, the ministry said.