Tue, Oct 09, 2018 - Page 12 News List

Ministry downplays fall in foreign investments

By Ted Chen  /  Staff reporter

President Tsai Ing-wen, left, attends the opening ceremony of the Taiwan Business Alliance Conference in Taipei yesterday. The conference is held annually by the Ministry of Economic Affairs to promote investment in the nation’s economy.

Photo: CNA

The Ministry of Economic Affairs yesterday downplayed a steep annual decline in new investments by foreign companies, attributing it to a change in priorities.

This year’s Taiwan Business Alliance Conference — the ministry’s annual investment promotion event — attracted about NT$54 billion (US$1.75 billion) in investment commitments from foreign companies, compared with NT$106.3 billion last year.

Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) said that this year’s showing is comparable to the amount of foreign corporate investment in South Korea in the first nine months of this year.

The decline is skewed by a high comparison base last year, when commitments included capital-heavy renewable energy projects, Department of Investment Services Director-General Emile Chang (張銘斌) told a news conference in Taipei.

“We are focusing on software rather than hardware this year,” Chang said, adding that investment figures would exceed current estimates as projects progress through approval processes.

A number of multinational firms have also voiced concerns about disclosing their investment bids due to regulations, Chang said, adding that about 13,000 new jobs would be created thanks to the investments.

Of the 23 foreign companies that have signed letters of intent with the ministry, nine would be making their first investments in Taiwan, totaling NT$12.68 billion.

While this year’s investments are concentrated in the retail and services industries, such as a NT$10 billion project to build a hotel by Japan’s Mitsui Fudosan Co, global semiconductor and renewable companies have continued to expand their commitments in Taiwan, the ministry said.

In particular, this year’s semiconductor investments are aimed at filling gaps in Taiwan’s supply chain in terms of materials, technology and equipment, Chang said.

The ministry would also continue its efforts to convince the world’s biggest semiconductor suppliers to expand their footprint in Taiwan to meet the need for major expansions by local companies, such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) and Winbond Electronics Corp (華邦電), Chang said, adding that Deutsche Post DHL has also announced a plan to expand its logistics service capacity specifically for the semiconductor industry.

This year’s smaller investment figures also reflect a shift toward talent cultivation, as rapid growth in artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and other cutting-edge technologies have led foreign companies to establish development centers to meet anticipated workforce demands, Chang said.

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