Wed, Nov 07, 2018 - Page 4 News List

New Southbound Policy: Local firms given branding support

GLOBAL AUDIENCE:The government is helping local firms develop brands so that they can take on bigger and well-established rivals in southbound markets

By Kayleigh Madjar  /  Staff reporter

An ECOVE Environment Corp employee works at an energy-from-waste plant in an undated photograph.

Photo courtesy of ECOVE Environment Corp

With the announcement of the New Southbound Policy more than two years ago, the government signaled its dedication to helping Taiwanese businesses expand beyond the Greater China market. Whether they were already moving south or aspired to do so, companies have begun to see the results of this promise.

The figures alone evidence the policy’s success: From January to August, trade with the 18 targeted nations rose 5.5 percent from a year earlier, according to the Executive Yuan’s Office of Trade Negotiations.

However, the successes go beyond the bottom line — a key facet of the policy is its focus on long-term development and efforts to “forge a sense of economic community,” and government agencies have responded with an array of resources to achieve these goals.

As a sector that combines people-to-people exchanges with economic cooperation — two of the policy’s main strategies — the service industry has a central role to play in its success, but it faces an array of challenges.

Most Taiwanese businesses are small to medium-sized enterprises that face stiff competition in markets dominated by large companies that control business channels and have well-developed branding, said Lien Yung-chih (連勇智), a former director-general of the Commerce Development Research Institute’s Marketing and Consumer Behavior Research Division, in an interview with International Community Radio Taipei (ICRT).

To address these challenges, organizations and agencies are offering branding and networking services to companies looking to operate abroad.

One such program, the second-phase “Branding Taiwan” campaign by the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Industrial Development Bureau, collaborates with the institute and other groups to help outward-looking companies develop brands that could better appeal to global audiences.

Since 2016, it has prioritized companies that are looking southward or are in a “five plus two” sector, according to its calls for submissions.

The “five plus two” industries refer to the development of an “Asian Silicon Valley,” smart machinery, green energy technology, biomedicine and national defense, as well as new agricultural business models and a circular economy.

Few companies fit these criteria better than ECOVE Environment Corp (崑鼎), which used to be known as KD Holding Corp.

A subsidiary of global engineering services provider CTCI (中鼎集團), the environmental services provider has since 1999 become one of Taiwan’s leaders in developing a circular economy, focusing on energy from waste (EfW), waste management, resource recovery and solar power.

ECOVE operates seven EfW and two industrial and special waste treatment plants in Taiwan, and two EfW and one industrial and special waste treatment plant in Macau, in addition to offering consulting services in China, but it is also looking to expand its EfW business into southbound countries.

“ECOVE has continuously followed EfW business development progress closely and has kept seeking EfW business opportunities in New Southbound countries,” the company’s sales department said.

It bid for the Singapore No. 6 EfW project and is involved in an EfW project in Kuala Lumpur, in addition to the consultation and technical services it provided for some small waste incinerators in Malaysia, Vietnam and India.

However, “awareness is still not enough [in the] global market. In order to expand international business, we decided to launch the ECOVE brand and renew [the] official Web site, uniform and service cars with the new corporate identity,” ECOVE chairman J.J. Liao (廖俊喆) told a news conference last year.

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