As a key gateway to international markets, Taipei City is the first stop for numerous foreign enterprises wishing to invest in Taiwan. These enterprises have recognized the immense market potential and view Taipei City as a vital hub of the Asia-Pacific economy. According to statistics published by the Investment Commission of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, large investments of overseas Chinese and foreign capital in Taipei City, which accounts for the highest market share in Taiwan, increased from US$ 4.098 billion in 2014 to US$ 8.337 billion in 2019. Despite the far-reaching impact of the pandemic in 2020, Taipei City still attracted overseas Chinese and foreign investments amounting to US$ 5.092 billion in 2021. These outstanding results in the field of investment solicitation clearly indicate that foreign businesses view Taipei City as the first choice for investments in Taiwan and a perfect springboard for entering the Taiwanese market.
Creation of a Perfect Business Environment and Fostering the Ability to Attract Foreign Investments
With a view to facilitating investments by foreign enterprises in Taiwan, the Taipei City Government set up the Invest Taipei Office (ITO) in September 2016 to provide assistance to enterprises wishing to invest in Taipei and thereby accelerate the momentum of the Taipei economy and encourage enterprises to establish a presence in Taiwan. With the aim of facilitating the provision of a sound business and trade environment, Taipei City Government has adopted various programs including the 4+1 Industry Park Project for the deployment of business environments, Nangang biotech cluster, Neihu Technology Park Version 2.0, Beitou Shilin Technology Park, Shezidao Eco-project and Innovation park of Yuanshan Expo venue with the ultimate goal of boosting industrial development and economic growth in Taipei City through solicitation of investments.
Statistics released by the Taipei Startup Research Center reveal that Taipei City, the capital of Taiwan, has garnered over 70% of all overseas Chinese and foreign investments and features a cluster of close to 70% of all foreign businesses in Taiwan. Its efforts and achievements in this area have been widely lauded by the international business community. In addition, ITO has provided professional services for a total of 1,860 investment consultation projects from 2016 to the end of October 2022. As for project categories, business matching accounted for the lion’s share at 45.22%, followed by industry investments (32.06%), talent exchange (10.25%), technological cooperation (9.18%), and other (3.29%). The Office's efforts have resulted in the genesis of 204 investment projects with a total value of US$ 905 million, successfully transforming Taipei City into a cradle of investment. Taipei City has earned positive marks in international markets numerous times for its achievements in the creation of business and trade environments and commercial guidance, which is a source of motivation for the city to persist in its bid to further perfect investment environments for foreign-owned enterprises and turn Taipei into the ideal place for such enterprises to put down roots in Taiwan.
Large-scale Foreign Investments Bear Testimony to Taiwan's Immense Potential
According to statistics released by the Investment Commission of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, foreign enterprises have expanded their investments in Taipei City on an ongoing basis since the establishment of ITO. In the period from 2016 to the end of September 2022, foreign investments in the city reached US$ 45.69 billion, while investments in other parts of the country totaled US$ 23.12 billion. Investments in Taipei constitute 65.5% of all investments on the island, turning Taipei into the area with the highest concentration of foreign investments. Further analysis reveals that the top 5 foreign enterprises in terms of total investment volume among all companies of 36 different nationalities that have invested in Taipei City for seven consecutive years are from the Netherlands, Japan, British Virgin Islands, Denmark, and British Cayman Islands. These five companies invested a total of US$ 12.86 billion, US$ 4.451 billion, US$ 4.402 billion, US$ 4.280 billion, US$ 3.748 billion, respectively. The diversity of nationalities of foreign businesses in Taiwan clearly demonstrates the inclusivity of the investment environment in Taipei City. Despite cultural differences, enterprises are willing to raise their investments in Taipei, thereby turning the city into the top location for companies from different nations wishing to establish a foothold in the Taiwanese market.
As a result of one-stop services provided by ITO in the fields of resource integration and business opportunity matching, local talent has been successfully recruited for numerous foreign businesses. In addition, renowned enterprises and international brands such as Mitsui Fudosan, East Japan Railway Company, IKEA, H&M, Don Don Donki, Apple (Taipei Xinyi A13 flagship store), and Burger King have settled in core commercial districts of the city. These foreign businesses have been able to create commercial value through ITO’s assistance and rapid links to local markets.
In addition to the aforementioned diversity of nationalities, an analysis of the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics, Executive Yuan reveals the following about the origins and industry categories of overseas Chinese and foreign investments in Taiwan associated with the Investment Commission of the Ministry of Economic Affairs in the period from January to September 2022: Denmark accounts for the largest share at 28.8% (US$ 3.21 billion), followed by the British Caribbean with US$ 1.87 billion, Japan with US$ 1.5 billion, Australia with US$ 1.14 billion, and the Netherlands with US$ 860 million. As for the main industry categories, finance and Insurance tops the list with an investment volume of US$ 4.81 billion. Wholesale and Retail Trade, Electricity and Gas Supply, Machinery and Equipment Manufacturing, and Information and Communication are ranked 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th with US$ 1.62 billion, US$ 1.44 billion, US$ 780 million, and US$ 420 million, respectively. It is therefore evident that industries all over the world have discovered the potential of the Taiwanese market which is a highly coveted global investment target.
Overseas Chinese and foreign investment data for the first nine months of 2022 reveals that investments of the top-five ranked foreign businesses from Denmark, the Netherlands, and Japan involve the fields of "offshore wind power" and "finance and insurance", which creates opportunities for green transformation and digitization of financial services in Taiwan. Enterprises with large investments in Taiwan include Orsted Taiwan Limited, CI Changfang Limited, Hai Long Holdings, and Tokio Marine Newa Insurance. All of these companies are incorporated in Taiwan. An analysis of the administrative districts where these foreign businesses are registered shows that they mostly select the Xinyi, Songshan, or Zhongshan Districts as their investment locations. The ultimate goal is to penetrate the Taiwanese market through investments in Taipei. At the same time, economic benefits spill over to other local enterprises in Taiwan. Furthermore, partnerships between local and foreign firms foster and expand economic growth.
Foreign Wind Power Companies Promote Supply Chain and Technological Localization
In recent years, the energy industry has seized opportunities generated by the trend of green energy transformation with the goal of net-zero carbon emissions. The Danish offshore wind power developer Orsted, CI Changfang Limited, and the Netherlands-based Hai Long Holdings have reinvested US$ 3.21 billion, US$ 350 million, and US$ 740 million, respectively, in Taipei City in 2022. As a result of these investments (Orsted's being the largest in size), Taipei City has turned into a major base for green energy development in Taiwan.
Orsted set up its Asia-Pacific Headquarters in 2016. The size of its staff increased from 2 in 2016 to 170 in 2021. With a view to facilitating effective deployment of offshore wind power in Taiwan, Orsted will maintain its commitment to cultivating local talent to bolster supply chain localization. According to the implementation results of the Offshore Wind Supplier Assistance Fund announced by Orsted on October 19, 2022, a total of 40 Taiwanese enterprises have been enabled to upgrade their technologies and join the supply chain. 108 talented local professionals have successfully completed the Offshore Wind Power Basic Safety Training (BST) organized by the Global Wind Organization (GWO) due to assistance provided by the fund. Finally, 82 welding technicians have received guidance in the acquisition of high-end welding licenses. In addition, the fund has subsidized accelerated technology upgrades and transformations of nine Taiwanese SMEs. Adopted innovative technologies include a remote welding control assistance system, unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV), satellite positioning, and sea-floor measurement technology. Investments by Orsted in Taiwan generate benefits in the fields of technology upgrades, talent cultivation, and cross-industry cooperation in addition to further bolstering and upgrading of the local supply chain of the offshore wind power industry.
Japanese Insurance Company Embraces Digitization and Expansion of Local Alliances
In the recognition of huge potentials of the gradually maturing Taiwanese insurance market, Japan-based Tokio Marine Newa Insurance has set up its headquarters in Taipei City. The company has adopted five patents (personnel dispatch system, accident site guidance system, automatic project classification system, auxiliary decision-making system for claims, and automated customization platform) in its efforts to provide local customers in Taiwan with customized insurance services. In September 2022, Tokio Marine Newa Insurance formed an alliance with Tokio Marine and Yulon Group in addition to raising its capital to US$ 245 million. This alliance aims to develop a more diversified Usage-based Insurance (UBI) market in Taiwan by harnessing property insurance products and the automobile industry chain.
Taipei City, which is located in the heart of the Asia-Pacific commerce and trade region, plays the pivotal role of an industrial and commercial hub and focal point of culture. In the face of challenges posed by globalization and regional economic integration, the development of the city is increasingly intertwined with foreign investments. With a view to fulfilling its role as a bridge connecting Taiwan to the world, Taipei City is locked in on corporate HQs, innovative R&D centers, new technology industries, and the knowledge-based service industry as its main targets of investment solicitation. The city therefore strives to build a more attractive investment environment to provide an incentive for businesses to invest in Taiwan. The ultimate goal is to turn Taipei City into an international capital of trade and commerce with an impressive cluster of foreign enterprises.