Fri, May 30, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Greater Taichung is the nation’s top city, forum’s poll shows

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

The Taiwan Competitiveness Forum rated the nation’s five main cities in terms of economic performance and found that Greater Taichung excelled in financial soundness and economic growth.

The group evaluated Taipei, New Taipei City, Greater Taichung, Greater Tainan and Greater Kaohsiung on their “economic strength” and concluded that Taichung has done an outstanding job in promoting GDP growth, employment growth and attracting immigrants, as well as having the smallest debt per capita and the lowest unemployment rate.

The group said it endorsed Greater Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) in the year-end mayoral election.

Lee Wo-chiang (李沃牆), a professor of banking and finance at Tamkang University, compared the five cities in terms of their economic and financial development.

“Taichung’s GDP growth [in 2011] was 45.77 percent, which was the highest among the five cities. It also had the highest employment growth rate [during the period 2009 to last year] at 7.8 percent,” Lee said.

According to Lee’s chart, the GDP growth rates in Taipei, New Taipei City, Greater Tainan and Greater Kaohsiung were 15.25 percent, 9.88 percent, 35.24 percent and 29.32 percent respectively, while the employment growth rates were 6.4 percent, 7.7 percent, 6.2 percent and 5.1 percent respectively.

“Taichung had the lowest unemployment rate last year with 4.1 percent and the least debt per capita at NT$20,000, which is in stark contrast to Kaohsiung, which owed NT$90,000 per person,” he added.

Unemployment in the other four cities was 4.2 percent in each case, Lee said.

Lin Chieng-fu (林建甫), an economics professor at National Taiwan University and the forum’s convener, praised the development he said he has seen in Taichung.

Lin said that the standard the city looked to is no longer Taipei and Kaohsiung, but Hong Kong and Singapore.

“Hu has been in office for 13 years and some people are a bit tired of him and have become inured to his humor and global vision. These are factors that have lowered his approval rating and we want to defend him against the unjust bias,” Lin said.

Nieh Chien-chung (聶建中), a professor of banking and finance at Tamkang University, said that a change of leader might return the city to a “countryside city.”

“It would be a pity to change leader now as a lot of plans would be called off if a new government takes over,” said Hsu Chen-ming (許振明), an economics professor at National Taiwan University.

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