The Taoyuan Aerotropolis is Set to Take Off

The Aerotropolis is more than a beautiful plan; it is the key to driving the Taiwan economy to new heights.

Taoyuan City Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan

Taoyuan is the gateway to Taiwan and a key aviation hub for the Asia-Pacific region. In an era of increased global competition, airport-centered economic activity has become one of the main engines of urban development. Taoyuan is an airport city, and its Taoyuan Aerotropolis project is moving forward to spur momentum of an “airport city economy” and help drive Taiwan’s economic resurgence.

The Taoyuan Aerotropolis project, which will involve total investment of more than NT$500 billion and create economic value of at least NT$2.3 trillion, passed its urban planning review on March 27 and has now been officially launched.

Under the principle of giving priority to industrial investment, in April 2020 the Taoyuan Aerotropolis will begin accepting applications for investment in the priority sector of its industrial zone. Preference is being given to six industries: cloud computing, international logistics, aviation-related, biotech, smart mobility, and green energy. With its development of low pollution, low water-usage, low energy-consumption, and high value-added industrial sectors, the Aerotropolis will not only serve as a distribution center for Taiwan’s technology industries, but will also represent a technologically incredible smart city for the future.

According to the development plan for the Taoyuan Aerotropolis’s planning zone, the total land area for the Taoyuan International Airport and designated area in the vicinity comes to 4,565 hectares. Together with other surrounding land, the overall scope covers an even larger area.

The prime motivation for the Taoyuan Aerotropolis is to assist industry in meeting its needs – quite different from the spirit behind traditional land development projects. Over the coming two years, the Taoyuan City government will first work out a land acquisition plan based on existing investor interest and two-way communication with land-holders. For the first phase, the Taoyuan City government will also earmark an 83-hectare priority investment area within the industrial zone. This will expedite the construction process for the needed public infrastructure and to create more job opportunities for Taoyuan.

To this end, the Taoyuan Aerotropolis Corp. held a “Start the Future” industry forum on October 26 at Taoyuan’s Monarch Hotel to launch the project, with industry representatives and expert scholars invited to deliver presentations and share their insights as panelists. The event successfully attracted more than 290 attendees, enabling them to understand the latest trends in industry planning.

VIP guests included Director-General Wu Hsin-hsou of the Ministry of the Interior’s Construction and Planning Agency, Acting President Hsiao Po-jen of the Institute for Information Industry, Deputy Taoyuan Mayor Wang Ming-de, Taoyuan Aerotropolis Corp. Chairman Yu Chien-hwa, Asia Silicon Valley Development Agency Executive Director Cheng Cheng-mount, StarLux Airlines President Glenn Chai, DHL Taiwan Vice President Lu Jia-dong, Taoyuan International Airport Corp. Deputy General Manager for Operations Tan Chao-bi, National Chiao Tung University President Mau-chung Frank Chang, and other dignitaries from industry, government, and academia.

Taoyuan Aerotropolis Corp. Chairman Yu Chien-hwa

Speaking during the forum on the topic of “Seizing the Advantages of Hub Transportation and Sharing the Prosperity of Civil Aviation in the Asia-Pacific,” Star-Lux President Chai stressed Taiwan’s position as a hub in the center of the Asia-Pacific region, the area of fastest growth in the world for both passenger and cargo volume, and the most appropriate location for transshipment between Southeast Asia and the North American market. At present there is still room for growth in the proportion of transit passengers among arrivals at the Taoyuan airport.

In addition, StarLux plans to recruit 300 employees by the end of this year and to expand its employment to 8,000 by 2030. Chai said the airlines hope the government can help resolve land issues and complete infrastructure construction as soon as possible to accelerate development of the Taoyuan Aerotropolis. Those steps will drive the growth of industry in the area surrounding the airport; create job opportunities and tax and tourism revenues; and enable Taiwan to position itself as the Asia Pacific operations center, he said.

DHL’s Lu, speaking on “Using Innovative Technology and Personalized Processing to Create a New Look in International Logistics,” noted that in 2015 cross-border transactions accounted for 15% of e-commerce business, but that by 2020 the figure will reach 22% glob-ally. This market growth presents a huge challenge for the government in terms of customs clearance and for the private sector in logistics capability. To help meet these challenges, DHL Taiwan has adopted innovative practices utilizing green-energy-based, smart logistics for the sake of sustainable operations. The mid-term goal is to have 70% of the company’s vehicles running on green energy by 2025, with zero carbon emissions by 2050. For example, electric cargo bikes have been introduced in DHL’s own logistics park, and the relevant government regulations have been loosened to permit truly green, smart logistics.

Taoyuan Aerotropolis enjoys a unique geographical position and is optimistic about Taiwan’s future aerospace advantages. The Aerotropolis plans to re-integrate Taiwan into the international arena through the combination of soft and hard advantages, combined with smart innovation and an excellent hardware environment – thus spurring economic innovation and new opportunities for business growth.