Foreign firms plan US$3.5bn investment

GOOD CLIMATE::Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing’s and Winbond Electronics’ plans to build new factories are an endorsement of Taiwan, President Tsai Ing-wen said

Staff writer, with CNA

Sat, Oct 07, 2017 - Page 12

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and 22 foreign companies yesterday signed letters of intent at a Taiwan Business Alliance conference in Taipei, with the companies pledging investments of NT$106.3 billion (US$3.5 billion) over three years.

Last year, 66 foreign companies signed on for NT$166 billion worth of investment.

The investment plans are expected to create 1,516 jobs, said Deputy Economic Affairs Minister Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫), who noted that based on data from letters of intent signed in the past few years, the investment commitments were usually achieved within three years.

"The achievement rate has been at over 90 percent," Kung said on the sidelines of the conference, implying that the investment pledges signed yesterday will mostly become reality.

Companies from Japan, Germany and the US participated in the signing, the Department of Investment Services said.

The potential investment mainly comes from the “green” energy, machinery equipment and electronics materials industries, the department said.

German-based vehicle inspection company DEKRA AG pledged to expand its presence in Taiwan to Internet of Things and Internet of Vehicles related inspection services.

California-based BioLegend Inc, which develops and manufactures antibodies and reagents for biomedical research, has promised to increase its investment, while wind power firm wpd AG is planning to invest in Taiwan’s onshore and offshore wind farms, as well as the solar energy industry, the department said.

Speaking at the conference, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) urged foreign investors to inject funds into Taiwan by taking advantage of the nation’s sound fundamentals, saying that now is a good time to invest.

The nation’s GDP is forecast to grow 2.11 percent this year and 2.27 percent next year, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said.

A Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) plan to build a NT$500 billion 3 nanometer fab in Tainan and memory chipmaker Winbond Electronics Inc’s (華邦電子) plan to invest NT$330 billion in a Kaohsiung factory are an endorsement of Taiwan as a good investment destination, Tsai said, adding that she believes that investors can benefit from good business opportunities in the nation.

The government has launched its “five plus two” industrial development project integrating existing industrial strengths with new industries in a bid to make Taiwan more competitive in the global market, Tsai said.

The “five’ industries prioritized under the program are the Internet of Things, “smart” machinery, biotechnology, “green” energy and national defense, while the “two” are a circular economy and new agriculture.

The Cabinet has set up a national investment company — Taiwania Capital Management Corp (台杉投資管理) — to speed up the pace of local investment in areas such as railway construction, renewable energy, water resources development and digital technology, she added.

Foreign investors can use Taiwan as a springboard into the Asia-Pacific market, including ASEAN, at a time when Taiwan is pushing its New Southbound Policy, Tsai said.

The policy is aimed at enhancing Taiwan’s relations with countries in Southeast Asia, South Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

The ministry has held the annual investment gala to solicit foreign investment for the past 14 years.