Eleven Taiwanese companies based overseas yesterday pledged to invest a total of NT$67.55 billion (US$2.28 billion) in the nation to help lift the economy.
Representatives from the 11 companies based in China, the US and South American countries signed letters of intent with Minister of Economic Affairs Chang Chia-juh (張家祝) at the 2013 Taiwan Business Alliance Conference in Taipei.
The proposed investment amount was 78.7 percent higher than the NT$37.8 billion the ministry secured from 20 companies last year.
E United Group (義聯集團), the biggest investor among the 11 companies, plans to pour in more than NT$60 billion in hotels, department stores, hospitals and other tourism-related businesses in Greater Kaohsiung, the ministry said.
Bicycle maker Giant Manufacturing Co (巨大機械) plans to invest NT$4 billion to establish a new product research and development center and manufacture bicycle components in the Central Taiwan Science Park in Greater Taichung, the ministry said.
Food producer Great Wall Enterprise Co Ltd (大成長城) will spend NT$900 million to establish two new poultry slaughterhouses, while cosmetics product packager Tair Jiuh Enterprise (台鉅企業) will invest NT$560 million to expand its assembly lines in Greater Tainan, the ministry said.
Other companies include salon chain Jourdeness International Co Ltd (佐登妮絲), bicycle component maker Joy Industrial Co Ltd (久裕興業), beauty product developer Thai Ho Group (太和生技), tea and coffee chain store La Kaffa International Co Ltd (六角國際), genetics test conductor Generics Development Corp (基因科技), cookware manufacturer Crown Fancy Corp (鼎王) and flight school Privilege Aero LLC.
In other news, Chang said that electricity rates would rise as planned next month by an average of 8.49 percent, rejecting a proposal by opposition lawmakers to postpone the price hike.
The rate hikes are set to hit heavy users, especially businesses, to help reduce losses that state-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) has incurred over the years.
Chang attributed the losses mainly to the sharp increase in fuel costs in recent years, but also acknowledged the need for improvement in the company’s management.
All taxpayers may have to bear the responsibility for making up the difference if Taipower’s operating costs cannot be covered by the new rates, Chang said.
The rate hikes next month will affect households using more than 500 kilowatt-hours of electricity each month and businesses using over 1,500kWh a month.
The government estimates that would leave 85.7 percent of households and 80.2 percent of small businesses unaffected.