Taiwan’s economy has flourished thanks to the hard work of entrepreneurs and is poised to take advantage of supply chain restructuring among other opportunities, speakers at the Global Taiwan Business Forum in Kaohsiung said yesterday.
The forum was also attended by former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo.
From the beginning, it was Taiwanese businesspeople who took the initiative to seize global opportunities, Vice President William Lai (賴清德) said in his opening address to the forum organized by the Liberty Times (sister paper of the Taipei Times).
Photo: Sam Yeh, AFP
Through their efforts, Taiwan has become the 25th-largest economy in the world and the ninth-largest trading partner of the US, with a pivotal position in global supply chains, he said.
Even amid the challenges posed by US-China trade tensions, the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Taiwan has posted impressive results, reporting 6.57 percent GDP growth last year — an 11-year high, he said.
These challenges — as well as shifting production bases and China’s use of its economy as a political tool — have alerted democracies to the need for a more secure, reliable global supply chain, in which Taiwan must play a part, Lai said.
Photo: Lee Hui-chou, Taipei Times
Taiwanese businesses over the past 30 years have relied on cheap Chinese production, but that strategy is no longer feasible given the weaknesses inherent in China’s exports and its real-estate-reliant economic model, Lai said.
The answer is to partner with other democracies to restructure the supply chain, which many Taiwanese businesses have already started doing, he added.
“Businesspeople have always been the drivers of Taiwan’s economy,” Liberty Times Group chairman Andy Lin (林鴻邦) said in his speech.
Photo: Lee Hui-chou, Taipei Times
Taiwanese have invested all over the world, with total investment reaching almost US$400 billion since 1952, he said.
From the trying early days without export markets, to today’s worldwide presence, businesspeople have been “important representatives of Taiwan’s competitiveness,” Lin said.
Amid current challenges, through the “pioneering efforts of businesspeople — together with the diligence, technical expertise and innovative potential of the Taiwanese — we can create an economic miracle in Taiwan,” he added.
Two business leaders also talked about their views on supply chain restructuring and the move toward carbon neutrality.
As an autoparts maker, Hota Industrial Manufacturing Co is shifting its production to electric vehicles in keeping with the global trend, chief executive officer Holly Sheng (沈千慈) said.
The number of electric vehicles produced globally by 2025 is expected to be seven times as many as last year, with every other new vehicle being electric, she added.
Taiwan has a complete supply chain for electric vehicle components from batteries to the most advanced chips, as well as original design manufacturing experience, placing the nation in an advantageous position, she said.
Sheng was upbeat on global supply chain restructuring, saying that it would bring “more predictable opportunities” to Taiwan.
The issue of carbon neutrality has transformed from an environmental matter to an economic one, with the potential to reshuffle economic winners and losers, China Steel Corp president Wang Shyi-chin (王錫欽) said.
The government has instructed heavy electricity users to move toward using only renewable energy and plans to impose a carbon tax, making the move toward carbon neutrality “urgent, rapid and serious,” he said.
Additional reporting by Lin Ching-hua
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