Taiwan uses US-China trade war to bring 40 companies back home

Tsai government nears goal of bringing 50 companies and NT$250 billion in investment back to Taiwan

Taipei skyline at night.

Taipei skyline at night. (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Taiwan has been making the most of the U.S.-China trade war by successfully luring back 40 Taiwanese companies and is on a pace to quickly surpass its year-end a goal of 50 firms and NT$250 billion (US$8 billion).

As the tariff war kicked in last year, many Taiwanese companies found themselves caught in the crossfire with their costs at factories in China skyrocketing, suddenly making Taiwan much more appealing. Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) capitalized on this opportunity by starting the "Invest Taiwan" campaign last year to incentivize Taiwanese companies to return from China.

The Tsai administration says that overseas compatriots and foreign entrepreneurs invested NT$536.5 billion in Taiwan last year, an increase of 31 percent over the previous year, reported TVBS.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) Invest Taiwan office reports that in the past four months, it has generated NT$200 billion in returnee investments. At this rate, the country will easily meet it's year-end goal of NT$250 billion by the end of May.

Thus far, 40 companies have undergone credential assessments this year, according to a MOEA official, making the year-end goal of 50 companies already within reach.

Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Delta Electronics (台達電子) appears to be making the biggest single investment at US$1.8 billion, according to a source who spoke on the condition of anonymity to Bloomberg. MOFA hinted that a new investment by a "major electronics manufacturer" would bring 7,000 and 8,000 jobs to Taiwan.

In September of last year, bicycle giants Merida and Giant decided to scale down their China-based production of high-value items destined for the European Union and the U.S., relocating more work to Taiwan. Network manufacturer Inventec also announced that it was leaving China and repositioning its production in Taiwan.

In November of last year, three major Taiwanese tech suppliers, including iPhone assembler Pegatron Corp (和碩), laptop maker Compal Electronics Inc. (仁寶), and Apple Supplier Inventec (英業達) announced that they were all shifting manufacturing to Taoyuan, according to Bloomberg. Meanwhile, Quanta Computer Inc. released a statement earlier that month about the company’s decision to acquire an 11,000-ping property in Taoyuan’s Guishan District, adjacent to its headquarters, at a price of NT$4.28 billion (US$137 million) from a subsidiary of CENPRO Technology (中環科技).

If Taiwan maintains its current pace of incoming investment, by the end of the year, it could surpass the previous record of US$15.4 billion set during the President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) administration in 2007.

However, if the trade war comes to a swift end and the terms of the deal result in lower costs in China, then the return of companies to Taiwan may begin to slow.

Updated : 2021-01-20 02:51 GMT+08:00