Mainland—Best Place for Taiwan Investment

"I came to the mainland eight times on fact-finding trips 14 years ago and decided to invest in China. Since the company has started turning a profit eight years ago, our business has been continuously expanding," said Hsieh Ronggui.

One of the earliest Taiwan businessmen to invest in the mainland , Hsieh Ronggui, 63, says he feels that he has been very lucky. Mr. Hsieh recently rented three booths in the Taiwan investors’ area at the ongoing 4th China Investment Trade Symposium for his textile, shipping and trade companies.

"At the time, I was mainly in the textile business because Taiwan's land prices were high, labor was insufficient, salaries were high…there was hardly any way to stay in business. But after coming to the mainland, we were back in business. So, I've brought a lot of friends to the mainland and they've discovered that the mainland's economy is developing very quickly, the market is huge, social stability is not a problem, plus a lot of policies have been passed to protect the interests of Taiwan businessmen. Like me, they've transferred all of their operations to the mainland," said Hsieh, a former committee member of the Fujian provincial Taiwan Business Association. He says that he has brought in more than 70 Taiwan enterprises to the mainland.

In the first half of this year, Taiwan investments into China's mainland have increased by 31.2 percent over the same period last year. To date, there are more than 45,000 Taiwan enterprises on the mainland, with a contracted investment volume of US$46.66 billion and more than US$25 billion in actual investment. The mainland has become the largest destination for direct Taiwan investments.

The 4th China Investment Trade Symposium has attracted most if not all Taiwan enterprises. The 350-plus booths in the Taiwan investors’ area were booked a long time ago. Nearly 200 Taiwan groups and enterprises, including the heavy-hitters Yulong Group and President Group were at the symposium and nearly 4,000 Taiwan businessmen were in attendance, setting a record for attendance at the symposium. On the first day alone, Taiwan businesses signed contracts worth more than US$400 million, which far surpassed the figure in previous symposiums.

The newest survey shows that the improving investment environment on the mainland is one of the major factors in attracting investments from Taiwan businesses. Although the Taiwan authorities have set up a variety of barriers, most Taiwan businesses still come to the mainland.

Mr. Lin, a Taiwan businessman who has attended this symposium for three consecutive years, felt that since the economic reforms began 20 years ago, China has opened up to the rest of the world, cultivated a large group of talent with technology and management skills and its legal system is narrowing the gap with international standards. He said, "All of these factors will be reflected in China's advantages, such as low cost, abundant labor and huge market. As entry into the WTO nears, Taiwan businessmen are feeling that the mainland is the best place to invest."

After attending the symposium last year, Mr. Lin came to the mainland to invest for the first time. He set up a company in Fujian province to manufacture and distribute sporting goods. What surprised him was that the local government "spent less than three days approving all of the various regulations."

As more businesses are moving to the mainland, Taiwan businessmen are also bringing their families back to the mainland. In early September, the first two schools approved for children of Taiwan businessmen in Shenzhen and Dongguan in Guangdong province started classes. This shows that Taiwan businessmen are very at ease about their children going to school and living in China's mainland.

Mr. Hsieh who spends most of his time in China said, "I've pretty much been everywhere in China's mainland. The public safety here isn't bad. My wife and four children originally lived over here to help me with my business. They're all used to living here."

For many Taiwan businessmen, the biggest problem is the restrictions on direct links across the Straits. Mr. Lu, a Taiwan businessman, said that in one year, his company spends more than 1 million yuan alone on shipping and sending personnel back and forth.

(People's Daily)

In This Series



Web Link