Taiwanese companies should look to Mexico to diversify their production exporting to the US market and enhance risk management in supply chains, Taiwan Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (TEEMA, 台灣電子電機公會) chairman Richard Lee (李詩欽) said yesterday.
Lee was speaking at the TEEMA Global Networking Forum, which focused on Mexico, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the EU as investment hotspots for Taiwanese businesses.
“The advantage of manufacturing in Mexico is the proximity to the US market,” Lee said. “I’m not discounting the possibility of future made-in-US projects, but first we should maximize our Mexican production.”
Photo: Lee Ya-wen, Taipei Times
Lee said that 50 to 60 percent of TEEMA members’ products are made in China, with 20 to 30 percent manufactured in Taiwan or Southeast Asia.
“It is an inevitable trend that global supply chains are becoming more fragmented. It is advantageous to manufacture as close to the market as possible in multiple locations, rather than rely on a central supply chain,” he said.
“Mexico, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are excellent investment destinations for Taiwan, but in time I also expect Mexicans, Czechs and Slovaks to invest in Taiwan,” he added.
Describing trade relations between Taiwan and the forum’s featured destination countries as “keen,” Lee said that TEEMA hopes to promote formal agreements to “solidify the strategic position” of Taiwanese companies hoping to invest there.
“Businesses would like to see the signing of agreements that protect their interests,” he said.
The one-day forum was dedicated to discussing Taiwan-Mexico investment opportunities in the morning, and Czech, Slovak and EU opportunities in the afternoon.
Lee, who is also the former chairman of contract electronics manufacturer Inventec Corp (英業達), responded to questions about investing in India in the wake of a riot last week at a Wistron Corp (緯創) iPhone factory in the country.
“Inventec invested in India years ago, but we were forced to pull out because of problems with our local partners. It caught us totally off guard,” said Lee, who remains on the board of Inventec.
Saying that most Taiwanese businesses that have found success in India supplied the local market, Lee encouraged Taiwanese businesses to see India as an emerging potential market rather than a manufacturing hub.
“Given our experiences, I would say India could be a market for us within five to 10 years of patient development,” he said.
“Taiwan-India relations need to be taken to the next level, but in the meantime, there are other places where we can consolidate our strategic position,” he added.
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