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HTC not only cause of sluggish domestic GDP gains: DGBAS

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Shih Su-mei (石素梅), minister of the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS, 主計處), yesterday stated that while it mentioned HTC in a recent economic growth forecast, it did not attribute Taiwan's poor economic performance to the beleaguered handset maker's tumbling global sales figures.

Shih stated that Taiwan's economic growth is hampered by a myriad of challenges, including rapidly receding domestic investment as well as the heightened international competition faced by Taiwan's companies.

The DGBAS last Friday slashed Taiwan's gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast for this year to 1.74 percent, below the 2-percent benchmark that President Ma Ying-jeou had earlier hoped to reach in the final month of 2013. GDP growth next year was also expected to flounder at a discouraging 2.59 percent, according to an update from the DGBAS last Friday.

During a Legislative Yuan session yesterday, a lawmaker remarked that worldwide export volumes grew by 2.9 percent in 2013, while Taiwan posted a meager 0.4-percent improvement. In light of the aforementioned figures, the lawmaker stated that the DGBAS' prediction of a 3.1-percent growth in Taiwan's exports may be grossly optimistic.

In response, Shih stated that the DGBAS does not fashion its forecasts based solely on international export volumes. Citing historical statistics, Shih stated that Taiwan recorded a 12.3-percent improvement in export volumes in 2011, exceeding the global average of 6.1 percent. In 2012, Taiwan's exports grew by 2.3 percent, while the global average was measured at 2.7 percent, Shih continued. Based on these figures, there is little correlation between Taiwan's export performance and worldwide averages, she said. Shih concluded that Taiwan's export performance is ultimately determined by enterprises' ability to compete in the global market, which may be hampered or facilitated by the amount of domestic investment, and that the government does not place blame on any single private enterprise for the nation's economic performance.

Meanwhile, following reports that her company was mentioned in the nation's latest GDP forecast update, HTC Chairwoman Cher Wang (王雪紅) yesterday pledged that with the support of the people, Taiwan's only enterprise specializing in handset-making will surmount its current challenges. Incidentally, Chen Deming (陳德銘), president of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS, 海協會), had praised HTC for its prowess in design and research and development, listing it as among Taiwan's top brand names during a Sunday, Dec. 1 visit to the company's headquarters.

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