Taiwan Aerotropolis Quickens Investment Drive as Engine for Industrial Upgrading

桃園航空城公司總經理許又銘

The Taoyuan Aerotropolis is the largest infrastructure project undertaken in Taiwan since the “Ten Major Infrastructure Projects” of the 1970s. With expected total investment of more than NT$500 billion (US$16 billion), it will create NT$2.3 trillion (about US$75 billion) in economic value, generate 20,000-30,000 job opportunities, and bring concrete benefits to both the aviation and other industries in the area.

Taoyuan’s location gives it an especially advantageous position in terms of international logistics operations. The Taoyuan International Airport is situated at the center of the network of major cities in the Asia-Pacific, with an average flight time of about 2.55 hours to those destinations. In addition, Taoyuan possesses a vast shipping hinterland close to the Port of Taipei, as well as convenient transportation connections consisting of freeways, the High-Speed Rail system, and the Airport MRT. With the advantages of proximity to both seaport and airport, as well as being a Free Trade Zone, the Aerotropolis will play the role of both “front-shop-back-workshop.”

In terms of industrial strength, Taoyuan’s industrial production value is nearly NT$2.6 trillion, ranking it first in Taiwan. The industrial scope covers electronics, semiconductors, computers, mobile phones, displays, LED, plastics, precision machinery, chemicals, automobiles and auto parts, food, textiles, and others.

In 2010 the Taoyuan Aerotropolis Corp. was established to serve as the exclusive marketing and promotion agency for the Taoyuan Aerotropolis. Another important milestone was reached in March 2018 when the Ministry of Interior’s Urban Planning Commission reviewed and approved the urban development plan for the Aerotropolis.

Hsu Yu-ming, General Manager of the Taoyuan Aerotropolis Corp., notes that in order to accelerate the Aerotropolis’ progress in land acquisition, Taoyuan City Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan has adopted the principles of openness and transparency, holding 30 public hearings in 2015 and 2016 to provide full explanations to residents of the area. The Mayor has embraced the four principles of respect the majority, protect the minority, reduce the affected land area, and speed up development.

The Taoyuan Aerotropolis Corp. has been calling on potential investors in six priority industries, including cloud computing, international logistics, aviation-related business, biotechnology, smart vehicles, and green energy – all in line with current international development trends.

According to the corporation’s reports on these visits, the priority industry with the strongest intention to locate in the Aerotropolis is international logistics. It also requires the largest amount of land. The majority of companies in the industry expect to make the move within one or two years. In the smart vehicle sector, most manufacturers indicated an interest in relocating to the Aerotropolis after three years. They also expressed hope that the Aerotropolis would add road-test facilities for autonomous vehicles to its future infrastructure development plans.

Cloud computing enterprises are mainly looking at 3 to 5 years into the future for setting up in the Aerotropolis. In the aviation-related industry, since the parent company is generally a foreign company or joint venture, the decision-making process for investment in the Aerotropolis will need to start earlier. The green energy companies expect to serve customers in the future across sectors in both the smart vehicle and energy fields, creating a special model zone for symbiotic cooperation.

Based on the characteristics and transportation conditions of each section, the Aerotropolis is divided into five major development areas, one of which is a Special Industrial Zone. Hsu Yu-ming believes that since industry will drive the development of other areas of the city, the Aerotropolis’ Special Industrial Zone should be accorded priority. The enterprises operating in the zone will bring in sufficient people to spur the provision of housing, medical care, and other related needs.

Taoyuan Aerotropolis Corp. holds at least one large-scale seminar every year, in addition to about 30 smaller seminars conducted by private enterprises. Following the approval of its urban development plan, the Taoyuan Aerotropolis Corp. also took the initiative to communicate with 55 companies in the second half of last year. This year’s promotion will be even more active.

Hsu Yu-ming notes that in response to the needs of enterprises, the Aerotropolis has earmarked priority industry-specific areas and expects to start seeking investment in those areas in the second quarter of next year. Recently, many companies have expressed interest in the Aerotropolis plan, with the hope that all investment conditions can be specified as soon as possible.

The Taoyuan Aerotropolis Corp. last year carried out studies regarding those investment conditions, and this year we hope to reach a final decision to be sent to the government for approval and then passage into law. Hsu Yu-ming suggests that if companies see appropriate development opportunities in the priority industrial zone, the evaluation study could be started earlier to accelerate the timetable.

To help ensure that corporate investment is combined with the cultivation of talent, the Taoyuan Aerotropolis Corp. last year signed six Memorandums of Understanding. Since 2010, it has signed 21 such Memorandums, including MOUs with domestic and foreign educational institutions, logistics associations, the Taiwan Architecture Center, China Airlines, etc.

In Hsu’s opinion, future development of the Taoyuan Aerotropolis will require the joint efforts of industry, government, and academic circles. In addition to the need for land, companies will require a lot of professional talent after establishing themselves in the Aerotropolis. That is why the Taoyuan Aerotropolis Corp. is actively signing cooperation agreements with well-known schools at home and abroad. In the future it will assist enterprises in applying for licenses and otherwise completing procedures for setting up in the Aerotropolis.

Regarding the Aerotropolis vision, Hsu Yu-ming says he hopes that the future production value and employment population of the Taoyuan Aerotropolis Industrial Zone will contribute to the prosperity of Taoyuan and Taiwan, enabling the Aerotropolis to be the “engine driving the next wave of economic development.”

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