Words by Li Chiao-Chi Translated by Anna Yang
Photos provided by Wu Chih-Hsueh, Business Weekly
Making Taichung’s products visible by association (前店: storefront), strengthening industrial techniques and capabilities (後廠: back factory) and creating a rich city with the support of laws and initiatives (自由港: free port)
‘Developing a strong, wonderful Taichung’ is Taichung City Mayor Lu Shiow-yen’s vision, as she promotes her plan to ‘make Taichung’s products visible by association, strengthen industrial techniques and capabilities, and create a rich city with the support of laws and initiatives’. The main goal of this plan is enhancing Taichung residents’ living quality and boosting Taiwan’s second-largest city’s economy in order to attract foreign investment.
Taichung is central Taiwan’s only special municipality, giving it the benefit of a convenient geographical location between major northern and southern cities. Taichung’s ability to attract many global companies has also made it an East Asian hub for business and trade. In addition, representatives of Taiwan’s main local businesses and industries have competed to position themselves in this city, thanks to the flourishing development of Taichung’s agriculture, tourism, service, and cultural and creative industries.
Aggressive action benefits innovation
Taichung City Government Economic Development Bureau Director Kao Si-Hsiang notes that Taichung’s tremendous economic advantages have boosted its population and expanded its quality of life. Taichung’s population, which became Taiwan’s second-highest in August, 2017, exceeded the 2.8 million mark in November, 2018. More importantly, the overall unemployment rate in the city has remained the lowest for three consecutive years and is now lower than the average for the Six Special Municipalities in Taiwan. Its population continues to rise while residents share a stable living quality and are willing to support the society’s needs, making Taichung a city that is undoubtedly competitive.
In order to put Taichung in the global spotlight, Mayor Lu is promoting administrative policies that include improving the city’s overall economic environment by boosting industrial connections, enhancing an economic power-up plan, and strengthening the flow of information. All of these are designed to fulfill her vision for a flourishing city.
Making Taichung’s products visible by association: One-stop strong-force service
The exact idea behind a “storefront” concept is strengthening Taichung’s investment and marketing capabilities, with a focus on efforts to solicit international orders for Taichung products. In order to achieve this, all investment obstacles should be removed, as “enterprise-building service”, “investment promotion committee” and Taichung investment website are created. All of these will help make the city a more attractive and convenient destination for high-value investment.
Taichung is located in central western Taiwan and boasts a pleasant climate and an abundance of industrial resources, which has helped it attract investment by top-level international businesses. The city has also enjoyed publicity through international exhibitions, exchanges and visits, and visits by foreign dignitaries. Taichung’s aggressive marketing will increase its exposure to the world and continue to bring more large-scale business opportunities.
In addition, the region around Taichung’s Dadu Mountain is an important production base for Taiwan’s machinery industry, which encompasses six major industries–machine tools and mechanical components, the photovoltaic solar panel industry, bicycles and bike components, woodworking machinery, hand tools, and the aerospace industry. Therefore, Taichung City Government plans to build the Shuinan International Convention Exhibition Center and create international-standard B2B/B2C Pavilions to implement the mayor’s vision for the city.
Strengthening industrial techniques and capabilities: Industrial changes and upgrades
Taichung is home to an abundant industrial chain that includes machinery, hand tools, agricultural products and cultural and creative entrepreneurs. Mayor Lu’s “back factory” policy entails the development of the Science Park and centers for all product industries to create a positive cluster effect, as well as promote product upgrades to international standard for the highest cost-performance ratio.
Many industrial parks have already been established in Taichung’s Taiping, Tanzi, Shengang and Dali districts. In the future, these will be joined by new industrial parks in Wuri District’s Xinan and Dali District’s Tucheng, ensuring that Taichung is not only a livable city, but also an economically flourishing city.
Free port: Creating a rich city through the support of laws and initiatives
Taichung’s convenient location is complemented by its seaport, airport (Taichung International Airport) and connections to the Taiwan High Speed Rail and other public transportation networks, making it an easy gathering point for business people.
Taichung International Airport currently gives the city air links to and from Hong Kong, Macao, Vietnam, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, and major Chinese cities such as Xiamen, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Nanjing, Tianjin, Ningbo, Wuxi, Meizhou, Haikou and Sanya. Planned additional air routes for the future will expand air transportation even further.
Taichung Port is Taiwan’s best free trade zone offering the benefit of being with in Taiwan’s national territory but beyond its customs jurisdiction, even as tax incentives aim to attract even more business people, companies and investment to Taichung.
Taichung’s comprehensive transportation network includes the Taiwan HSR, which brought over 22.11 millions visitors to Taichung in 2018. Approximately 60,000 travelers use the Taichung HSR Station in Wuri each day, exceeded only by Taipei’s HSR station, making Taichung a key rail hub that joins Taiwan’s western coastal cities together.