TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Taiwanese agritech company said Tuesday it would invest GBP£1,800 million (NT$758 million) in the UK over the next two years and build a vertical farming pilot factory at the National Agri-Food Innovation Campus in York.
Graham Stuart, UK minister for investment of the Department for International Trade, announced this investment project along with the president of YesHealth Agri-biotechnology, Winston Tsai (蔡文清), at the company's high-tech farm in Taoyuan City.
“This is only the latest announcement in a pattern of mutual trade and investment that has flourished between our economies over recent years,” said Stuart, adding Taiwan and the UK would have huge opportunity for cooperation in biotech, AI, infrastructure, as well as green energy in the future.
“Britain is open for business,” emphasized the minister while referring to the fact that the UK had welcomed many technology companies from Taiwan.
Speaking of the possibility of a trade agreement with Taiwan as Britain is leaving the European Union, Stuart said the trade talks between Taiwan and the UK had always “provided a very productive environment” which could be a foundation for the bilateral relationship to go forward.
Praising YesHealth's farm as “a model for the agriculture of tomorrow,” Stuart said the 14-story, vertical farm was Asia’s largest indoor farm producer.
“While it is at its early stages, it has global implications,” said Stuart, adding the farm “is the first such company to expand into the UK market.”
U.K. Minister Graham Stuart visits the YesHealth iFarm in Taoyuan (Taiwan News)
On the other hand, the YesHealth president attributed his reason for choosing the UK as the company’s first overseas base to the fact that the consumption and demand of vegetables in the UK had been high. “The British people love salads,” added Tsai.
Tsai said he looked forward to seeing the success of such investment which could be a starting point for the company’s further expansions in Europe or the Middle East.
Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦), who attended the press conference to show his support for the Taiwan-UK cooperation, said British companies had long had collaboration with the private and public sectors in Taiwan, adding, "I hope the minister's visit to Taiwan will further enhance the exchanges and collaboration between the two countries."
Prior to the trip to the farm, Stuart also had a short rendezvous with Eugene Chien (簡又新), a former foreign minister of Taiwan and sitting chairman of the Taiwan Institute for Sustainable Energy, in Taipei where they rode YouBike together as a way to promote environmentally friendly transport systems.
U.K. Minister Graham Stuart (center), former Taiwan Foreign Minster Eugene Chien (簡又新) (second-left), and Deputy Representative at the British Office Taipei Andrew Pittam (right) (Taiwan News)