Wed, Jan 30, 2019 - Page 12 News List

Firms favor ASEAN over China for investment: survey

By Kao Shih-ching  /  Staff reporter

More Taiwanese companies are favoring Southeast Asia over China for overseas expansion to dodge US-China tensions, a survey by Standard Chartered Bank Taiwan Ltd (渣打台灣銀行) showed yesterday.

Based on responses from 400 local firms, 33.2 percent of respondents said that they regard ASEAN member states as the best destination for investment, while 23.4 percent chose China.

“China used to be the top choice for local firms when considering overseas expansion, but this is the first time ASEAN members triumphed in the survey,” China Credit Information Service Ltd (CCIS, 中華徵信所), which cooperated with the bank to conduct the survey, said in a statement.

North America was voted as the third most-favorable investment destination by 17.7 percent of respondents, followed by Europe with 15 percent, northeast Asia with 10.7 percent, India with 8 percent and the Middle East with 4 percent, SCB Taiwan said.

Regardless of their size, two-thirds of respondents were upbeat about revenue growth in foreign markets this year, while 10 percent gave a negative outlook, the bank said.

However, Taiwanese firms expressed reservations about new overseas expansion, with only 56.3 percent of respondents saying that they were willing to invest abroad, down from 70 percent in previous surveys, the bank said.

Meanwhile, 41.1 percent of respondents said that they would invest in Taiwan, also lower than previously, it said.

Local firms held back from new investment amid uncertainties derived from the US-China trade dispute, protectionism, the changing pace of the US Federal Reserve’s rate hikes and oil price volatility, the bank said.

Asked why they are considering expansion overseas, most respondents ranked technology research first, followed by data digitalization, setting up new divisions, investing in Internet-of-Things and cloud-based technologies, investing in artificial intelligence and big data, and mergers and acquisitions, the bank said.

Most of the 400 firms that took part in the survey had already invested in Vietnam, followed by Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, the survey showed.

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