Economic Daily News: Taiwan's plight reflected in decreased investment

2017/06/26 18:28:52 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
CNA file photo

CNA file photo

In the first five months of this year, inbound and outbound investment, whether in terms of projects or amount of money involved, decreased sharply.

The number of projects and money involved in foreign and overseas compatriot investment in Taiwan was down by 6.4 percent and 35.2 percent, respectively, compared with the same period of last year.

The number of Chinese investment projects and money was down 17.0 percent and 6.2 percent, respectively.

The number of Taiwan's outbound investment projects and the amount involved was down 18.6 percent and 35.5 percent, respectively.

The number of Taiwanese investment projects in China showed an increase of 120.6 percent, but the amount of money involved decreased by 24.4 percent.

As investment stimulates demand and creates jobs, we are naturally concerned about the figures.

Since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) assumed office in May 2016, major business and industrial groups have repeatedly expressed that the most important challenge faced by them is the "lack of five things" -- water, electricity, land, talent and technology -- while funding for them is ample.

But the figures show that Taiwan's investment environment is still bad, and continues to deteriorate.

Recent remarks by Terry Gou (郭台銘), head of Hon Hai Precision Industry, that his group "will not return to Taiwan unless necessary," best reflect the voices of the tycoons.

The fact is that Hon Hai is trying hard to buy Toshiba unit, and an investment of US$7 billion in the United States is in the works. Its investment in China has not stopped. Why did he make the remarks?

In the meantime, we've witnessed the paradoxical phenomenon of excess saving rates in Taiwan, meaning that Taiwan's businesses have ample funds, and will invest if there are good opportunities, but they are simply not interested.

Their unwillingness to invest is mainly because there is still no answer to the "five lacking" problems.

Another paradoxical phenomenon is that while the momentum of inbound and outbound investment is weak, Ho Mei-yueh (何美玥), a former economics minister and currently national policy adviser to the president, is leading a 140-member delegation representing 84 Taiwanese businesses to the United States to assess possible investment there and attend the Select USA Investment Summit.

Information received so far has shown that the amount of money Taiwanese businesses could invest in the United States this year has reached US$34 billion, covering the areas of petrochemicals, steel, textiles and electronics.

We cannot help but ask why the government wants to take its businesses to the United States for investment and create jobs for Americans.

Why can it not solve the investment problem in Taiwan, why can it not induce businesses to invest directly in Taiwan and create job opportunities for Taiwanese?

As to whether our government is supporting "select the U.S." or supporting "select Taiwan," the answer is self-explanatory. (Editorial abstract June 26, 2017, by Lilian Wu)


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