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Chinese punishment set to drive Taiwanese businesses home

Expert says Taiwan at critical moment when doing business in China involves high stakes

Chairman Douglas Hsu of Far Eastern Group. 

Chairman Douglas Hsu of Far Eastern Group.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan is expected to see a wave of returnee investment spurred by Beijing's politically motivated sanctions on Far Eastern Group, said Taiwanese business expert Hsieh Chin-ho (謝金河).

The Far Eastern Group, a Taiwan-based conglomerate with business interests spanning petrochemicals, textiles, construction, retailing, financial services, and communications, has been penalized by China over what it claimed were business violations.

The high-profile case is widely seen as Beijing’s retribution against Taiwanese firms it perceives as having links with “stubborn pro-Taiwan independence” forces while making a profit in the Chinese market. “Those doing business in China know very well they should not fund independence advocates,” warned Zhu Fenglian (朱鳳蓮), spokesperson for Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office on Wednesday (Nov. 24).

Far Eastern has been fined a total of RMB 474 million (US$74 million) for breaches of law in five provinces, Zhu said in a news briefing.

While Far Eastern Chairman Douglas Hsu (徐旭東) is hardly considered someone with “green” leanings, a color associated with the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, “In China your color is not your call, but arbitrarily decided by the authorities,” reckoned Hsieh.

The business expert and commentator believes the incident is likely to spark a fresh wave of Taiwanese companies relocating back home. Already, such a trend has been happening amidst the U.S.-China trade conflict over the past three years, with 1,047 Taiwanese firms injecting over NT$1.4 trillion (US$50.4 billion) of investment in their home country, he pointed out.

This could be a turning point for Taiwan, whose economy has been struggling amid an acute talent drain and wage stagnation partly due to the outflow of corporate investment, Hsieh noted. But challenges lie ahead, he cautioned, as returnees will surely face woes in search of water, electricity, talent, and land as well as issues regarding Taiwan’s global status.

Updated : 2021-11-30 18:33 GMT+08:00