Business leaders yesterday called on the government to help the nation’s service sector make use of China’s fast-growing domestic demand after Beijing vowed a day earlier to double its per-capita income in eight years.
The government is less aggressive in opening up the service industry to Chinese capital, which can hold stakes in 97 percent of domestic manufacturing firms, but can only hold 51 percent of service providers, the General Chamber of Commerce (全國商業總會) said in its annual position paper.
“The government should step up its efforts to remove legal barriers that slow bilateral trade flows, especially in the service sector,” the chamber’s chairman Lawrence Chang (張平沼) said.
China is transforming from the world’s factory into a major end-market and Taiwan must take advantage of the transition in light of its geographic closeness, Chang said.
He also suggested the government set up a task force to handle cross-strait service flows as the matter now involves different departments, whereas the Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) can take almost complete charge of firms in the manufacturing industry.
China and Taiwan may soon reach a consensus over easier market access to bilateral service providers after the leadership reshuffle in China settles, the chamber said.
The IDB yesterday said the ministry is to invest NT$14.8 billion (US$507 million) in six service sectors by 2020 to improve the nation’s economy. The service sectors accounts for about 70 percent of the nation’s GDP.
“The investment project is aimed at helping information service providers, designers, digital content providers, wireless Internet service providers, healthcare providers and intelligent automation and system engineering providers double their sales by 2020,” IDB Deputy Director-General Lien Ching-chang (連錦漳) said.
He said the projected investment is part of the government efforts to increase the nation’s GDP and transform the country’s industrial structure from a manufacturing to a service-oriented economy.
According to MOEA data, Taiwan’s design industry generated NT$66 billion in sales in 2010, and the number of designers has increased from 23,000 in 2008 to 29,000 last year.
“Among all the service sectors, we think the design industry still has the most potential,” Lien said. “We hope our project can help sustain the design industry’s growth momentum and accelerate its integration with other service sectors, such as information services and digital content providers.”
IDB will release a list of companies to be supported under the project by the end of this month, he added.