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Overseas Taiwan firms invest nearly NT$200 bil. in Taiwan

TAIPEI--Taiwan has attracted almost NT$200 billion (US$6.60 billion) in investments from Taiwanese investors operating overseas as of the end of March, government statistics showed Saturday.

Since the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) kicked off a program in November 2012 to encourage Taiwanese investors to invest more in the local economy, the ministry has approved 43 applications to pour NT$198.23 billion into the country.

The government provides necessary assistance to the businesses. For instance, under the program, companies that set up headquarters or a research and development center in Taiwan are allowed to hire foreign workers to comprise up to 40 percent of its total workforce, a higher percentage than previously allowed.

The MOEA said the investment statistics indicated the ministry will soon achieve its goal of attracting NT$200 billion in funds from overseas Taiwanese enterprises back home.

The overseas Taiwanese firms which have kicked off or will start their investments in the country included tire maker Kenda Rubber Industrial Co., metal casing producer Catcher Technology Co., smartphone camera lens supplier Largan Precision Co., and integrated circuit packaging and testing services provider Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc.

The ministry said the investments from the 43 projects are expected to create 30,223 new job openings.

Out of the 43 investment projects, 13 are from the electronics sector. These projects will inject NT$140.8 billion in funds into Taiwan, making the sector the largest investor in the MOEA's program. The investments from the electronics sector are expected to create 18,021 new jobs.

However, in the first quarter of this year, the ministry only received three applications from overseas Taiwanese firms, and the amount of investment from the projects will reach only NT$7.4 billion, down almost 90 percent from the investments during the same quarter last year.

The MOEA said the sharp decline in investments showed many overseas Taiwanese firms have become hesitant about coming back to Taiwan as they have faced difficulties in finding a piece of land appropriate for their plant. In addition, overseas Taiwanese have concerns about a shortage of talent and laborers in Taiwan.

Largan, for example, has found it very difficult to secure a piece of land big enough for it to build a plant and that's why its NT$10 billion project remains pending.

Adam Lin, CEO of Largan, said his company has urged the government to help it find the land it needs. He said he is afraid that a good investment opportunity will be lost if the investment project remains stalled.

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