More and more European companies are investing in Taiwan

Thanks to the skilful handling of the pandemic, Taipei has become a reliable and expanding market. Europeans are interested in its burgeoning technology and renewables sectors. Investments in the island grew by 10.6 per cent this year. The French and Germans are leading the way. Diplomatic slap falls on China (with the help of the EU).

Taipei (AsiaNews) – European companies are increasingly interested in Taiwan as a reliable and expanding market, despite the negative effects of the pandemic and the trade (and geopolitical) war between China and the United States.

Thanks to the skilful handling of the coronavirus emergency, the island's economy is one of the most dynamic in the world. The rapid containment of COVID-19 will allow Taiwan to return to pre-crisis employment levels much sooner than many other countries.

Recently, during an investment forum held in Taipei, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen noted that the European Union is the first foreign investor on the island, with NT$ 1 trillion (US$ 34.2 billion), 25 per cent of Taiwan’s all time total inbound investment. This is a five-fold increase since 2016’s cumulative total of NT0 billion (US$ 7.2 billion)

Overall foreign direct investment in Taiwan rose 10.56 per cent from January to June this year from a year earlier. By contrast, the UN Conference on Trade and Development estimated that foreign direct investment will fall 40 per cent this year worldwide.

Tsai expects more Europe-Taiwan cooperation in artificial intelligence, 5G mobile technology and data protection systems.

More than 200 French firms already operate on the island, and are ready to strengthen their collaboration with local counterparts, especially those engaged in information and communication technology and semiconductor production.

Northern European firms also want a share of Taiwan’s offshore wind energy market. Taiwan plans to have 20 per cent of the its energy to come from renewable sources by 2025.

From Germany, the giant Siemens is set to expand a wind turbine parts assembly project in the central Taiwan city of Taichung. About 250 German firms operate in Taiwan, where they have invested 4 billion euros (US$ 4.66 billion) to date.

Due to its size, the island cannot be an alternative to China; however, the latter is increasingly viewed with suspicion by Europeans for its unfair practices. Taiwan can thus offer a market where EU companies can diversify their investments.

This trend is enhanced by the ever-closer ties the Union is building with Taiwan. Thanks to European aid, Taipei yesterday celebrated a (rare) diplomatic victory over Beijing, after a global alliance of mayors decided to stop referring to Taiwanese cities as part of China.

For mainland China, Taiwan is a “rebel” province, and has not ruled out the use of force to retake it.