Taiwan Business in Brief – October 2019

Construction Loans Hit Seven-Year High

Taiwan’s Central Bank on September 25 reported that the balance of construction loans in August reached NT$1.9 trillion, up NT$20.5 billion from July, for a year-on-year increase of 11.4%. The bank credits the spike in loans to the return from China of numerous Taiwanese businesspeople who are now looking to open new factories and offices in Taiwan.

MOEA in recent months has introduced a slew of investment incentives to Taiwanese businesspeople forced to relocate their operations as a result of U.S.-China trade tensions. So far, 140 companies have returned all or part of their operations to Taiwan. The combined investment has totaled NT$592 billion, far surpassing MOEA’s original goal. Another 20 companies are slated to return in the near future.

Taiwan and U.S. Ink Agricultural Deal

The 2019 Taiwan Agricultural Trade Goodwill Mission, a delegation of Taiwanese agricultural importers, met with U.S. representatives in Washington, D.C. in mid-September, where they signed a deal to purchase US$3.7 billion in corn, soybeans, grains, and beef from farmers across the U.S. The Taiwanese delegation then embarked on a week-long visit to several states to sign individual partnership agreements.

Taiwan is the eighth largest importer of agricultural goods from the U.S., but still sits far behind China, the U.S.’s top market for farm goods, in terms of import volume. Given the decrease in trade between China and the U.S. brought on by the continuing trade war, the new deal with Taiwan is a welcome development for many U.S. farmers who have been affected by the change in trade patterns.

Lamigo Monkeys Sold to Rakuten

Taiwanese professional baseball team the Lamigo Monkeys has been sold by its previous owners, domestic shoe and apparel company La New, to the Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten. Rakuten’s purchase of the team is part of a global strategy to bring attention to its brand, which has also included partnering with a popular Spanish soccer team and with the NBA’s Golden State Warriors. While a significant 6 million Taiwanese use Rakuten’s online services, overseas sales account for only a small portion of the company’s total revenue.

Although the Monkeys are Taiwan’s most popular baseball team, the team has been losing money, something the new owners hope to reverse. They have promised to retain all current administrative staff and keep the team in Taoyuan, but plan to change the team’s name.