Fri, Dec 01, 2017 - Page 12 News List

German firms in Taiwan eye growth

ASIAN PRESENCE:A German Trade Office Taipei survey showed that German businesses in Taiwan seek to tap into the local market and hire the nation’s hard-working talent

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Fewer German companies in Taiwan consider the business environment friendly, although many have achieved or exceeded their business target for this year and would continue to invest in the nation, a survey by the German Trade Office Taipei showed yesterday.

A majority, or 57 percent, of German firms said they would be able to reach or exceed their business target for this year, a big increase from 38 percent last year, the office’s executive director Axel Limberg told a media briefing.

The improvement came from a global economic recovery, benefiting Taiwan’s economy, which depends heavily on exports of electronic components used in mobile and computing devices.

Most German companies in Taiwan are involved in the sale of machinery equipment, electronics, chemicals, automotive parts, and other goods and services, Limberg said, adding that about 60 percent of them have established a presence in Taiwan for at least 15 years.

While 59 percent of respondents this year considered Taiwanese authorities to be business-friendly, that figure is lower than the 63 percent posted in last year and in 2015, Limberg said.

“We see room for improvement in areas such as applications for product certification, although the issues are not very serious,” Limberg added.

Automotive gadgets already approved in Germany are subjected to further or Taiwan-only tests or certifications, which not only delay their arrival but also raise costs for local consumers, Volkswagen Group Taiwan managing director Terence Johnsson said.

Most German firms operate in Taiwan to tap into the local market or build their presence in Asia, the survey found.

Others set up operations here to be close to their suppliers, cut production costs, and expand their research and development capability in Taiwan, it said.

Taiwan could help advance self-driving technology given its leadership in the development of high-performance processors, Johnsson said.

As in previous years, finding and retaining qualified staff, especially those in senior positions, pose the biggest headache for German companies in Taiwan, with nearly 70 percent citing the issue as the No. 1 challenge, the survey said.

Merck Taiwan’s managing director Dick Hsieh (謝志宏) said the global material supplier is expanding its facilities for research and development in Taiwan because the nation’s employees are talented and hard-working.

Respondents said they hope the government would draw up more consistent and reliable industrial policies so they can operate with better clarity and direction.

Jim Tai (戴英傑), managing director of Remondis, a global waste management company, said different authorities tend to have different interpretations of environmental protection codes, slowing the firm’s effort to help and adjust.

Still, 72 percent of German firms would continue investing in Taiwan and 47 percent expect the economy to improve next year, the survey said.

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