Mon, May 20, 2002 - Page 4 News List

Taipei tops competitiveness study

HIGH MARKS A National Policy Research Foundation study that put the city ahead of other municipalities in Taiwan was met with mixed reactions from civic officials


Metropolitan Taipei outpaced all other cities and counties in Taiwan in terms of economic vitality, government efficiency and quality of life, according to a study released yesterday.

The inter-city competitiveness study, conducted by a research team led by National Chengchi University professor Lin Chu-chia (林祖嘉), was financed by the National Policy Research Foundation, a KMT-affiliated think tank.

The study evaluated the competitiveness of all Taiwan's 23 cities and counties based on official tallies recorded in 2000. It gauged three major indexes -- economic vitality, government efficiency and quality of life.

Economic vitality comprised several factors, including income, finance, employment and consum-ption; government efficiency was measured in terms of traffic, land price, crime rate, labor administration and budget planning; and quality of life was based on population, residence, literacy, education, medical services, crime rate, public safety and environmental protection.

According to the study, Taipei City outshone Taiwan's other cities and counties studied in all of the three indexes, with the capital city receiving a score of 89 in economic vitality on a scale of zero to 100, 71 for government efficiency, and 65 for quality of life. Overall, Taipei City received a score of 75 points in its competitiveness rating.

Kaohsiung came in second with an overall score of 54.

Hsinchu City, which hosts the nation's high-tech industry heartland -- the Hsinchu Science-based Industrial Park -- ranked third overall in the study. Taipei County, the nation's most populous constituency, ranked ninth, with a score of 41 points, while Yunlin County finished at the bottom of the list, with a score of 23 points.

The rating was met with mixed reactions, with officials from certain cities and counties expressing doubt about the study's fairness.

Speaking at a news conference in which the study results were released, Taipei County Deputy Commissioner Lin Hsi-yao (林錫耀) said he is convinced that the rating study will have a strong psychological impact on city and county officials as this is an era when everybody attaches great importance to competitiveness.

Lin said he couldn't understand how Taipei County, a crowded industrial area, was able to outpace Ilan County, which is known for its credentials in environmental protection and tourist industry development, in the quality of life category. "Perhaps, the selection of indexes was flawed," he said.

Liu Pei-tung, director of the construction department of the Kaohsiung County Government, also expressed his doubts as to whether the study results truly reflect a city's or county's overall competitiveness because the study apparently did not take into account basic differences between rural and urban areas.

Taichung County Deputy Commissioner Chang Chuang-hsi and Shen Sung-ti, director of the Yunlin County Government's planning office, said that the roles of a city and of a county are different.

"It would be missing the point to compare their competitiveness in terms of the same standards and indexes," Chang said.

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