New investment in China by Taiwan’s listed companies totaled NT$11.7 billion (US$389.1 million) for the whole of last year, the lowest over the past decade, as companies turned conservative amid US-China trade tensions, the Financial Supervisory Commission said yesterday.
New investment peaked in the second quarter at NT$33.2 billion, up from NT$4.1 billion in the first quarter, but slowed in the third amid escalating trade tensions to NT$5.8 billion, commission data showed.
Taiwanese firms cut their investment in China by NT$31.4 billion in the fourth quarter, despite announcement that the US and China planned to prepare a “phase one” agreement in October and finalize a deal in December, the data showed.
At NT$11.7 billion, new investment last year not only plummeted 93 percent from NT$183.9 billion in 2018, but was also a fraction of the average of NT$174.1 billion invested per year from 2010 to 2018, the data showed.
Firms making new investments in China were primarily in the computer and electronic components industries, but even those industries saw a decline in Chinese investment, Securities and Futures Bureau Deputy Director Sam Chang (張振山) told a news conference in New Taipei City.
Many firms seem to have moved out of China due to high volatility caused by the dispute, Chang said.
Last year, 1,198 companies — 670 listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange and 528 listed on the Taipei Exchange — invested in China, the commission said.
Taiwanese companies last year also turned conservative toward investment in other markets, as their combined new investments in overseas markets, apart from China, totaled NT$155.7 billion — the lowest over the past decade, commission data showed.
Some companies transferred their bases of production from China to Southeast Asia, while others simply delayed new investment amid high uncertainty, the commission said.
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