Coronavirus outbreak could accelerate industrial upgrading: minister

Taipei (CNA) The ongoing spread of a deadly new coronavirus originating in the Chinese city of Wuhan offers an opportunity for industrial upgrading in Taiwan, Economics Minister Shen Jong chin (???) said Thursday.

The global outbreak of the disease will encourage Taiwanese businesses to review their production and manufacturing capacity in China and consider moving back to Taiwan, Shen said, adding that such a move would promote industry upgrading in the country.

Similar relocation plans could also be embraced by foreign investors, and a reshuffle in the global supply chain will help Taiwan reposition itself as a hub of high end manufacturing in the Asia Pacific, Shen said at a press conference at which the German Trade Office Taipei presented the results of a business confidence survey.

With that in mind, the government will work to help Taiwanese businesses utilize automation, digitization and smart applications in production, according to Shen.

Such an industrial upgrade would further help trade relations between Taiwan and countries like Germany, highly advanced in offering industrial 4.0 solutions, which promotes the computerization of manufacturing.

Meanwhile, the German office said the survey of 251 German companies operating in Taiwan between Oct. 23 and Dec. 3 last year found they are generally confident about Taiwan’s economic outlook.

Around 40 percent of the companies are planning investments within the next two years in Taiwan, slightly higher than in 2017 and 2018, which stood at 38.5 percent and 39.4 percent, said office director Axel Limberg.

However, Limberg said the Taiwanese government needs to take further action to preserve Taiwan’s attractiveness to foreign companies, as only about one third of the German companies were able to achieve their business targets in 2019.

“External factors such as the global economy and cross strait relations have dampened the mood among companies,” Limberg said, stressing that to offset those effects, it is important for the government to address problems such as import restrictions and bureaucracy.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel