The Rundown: Macquarie EV Deal, TSMC No. 3, and Income Inequality

A weekly snapshot of Taiwan business news stories brought to you by CommonWealth and AmCham Taiwan’s TOPICS

Macquarie and Kaison Sign MOU for EVs

Macquarie Capital, an Australian-listed institutional investor that has been operating in Taiwan for 17 years, announced on August 18 that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Taiwan electric bus giant Kaison Green Energy Technology Co., starting a new chapter in the development of Taiwan’s electric vehicle (EV) industry.

Kaison stated that under the MOU, it will cooperate with local firm Energy Moana Technology Co. Ltd. on several projects, which include developing Taiwan’s EV charging infrastructure, as well as various pure electric commercial vehicle and electric scooter markets. 

Energy Moana noted that through this collaboration, the companies can quickly complete the domestic construction of fast-charging stations and accelerate new product development.

TSMC Maintains Spot as World’s No. 3 Chipmaker

According to semiconductor market research firm IC Insights, Samsung surpassed Intel in Q2 this year, once again becoming the world’s largest chip supplier.

IC Insights indicated that Samsung’s production value in the second quarter totaled US$20.3 billion, exceeding Intel’s by US$19.3 billion and making it the global semiconductor industry leader. The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) held its position as the world’s No. 3 chipmaker, while United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) moved up a spot, becoming No. 9.

IC Insights noted that the combined production value of the world’s top-10 semiconductor firms in Q2 came to US$95.5 billion, a 10% increase from the previous quarter. As demand for computer memory and storage have increased, Samsung’s production value is expected to grow another 10% in Q3, reaching around US$22.3 billion and widening the gap between it and Intel.

Pandemic Leads to Increased Income Gap, Reduced Spending in Taiwan

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused serious economic disruption, which has included increased income inequality in Taiwan. Based on the results of the Directorate-General of Budgeting, Accounting and Statistics’ (DGBAS) new “Survey of Family Income and Expenditure,” the average disposable income of each Taiwanese household in 2020 was NT$1.08 million (US$38,627), a 1.9% increase from the previous year.

However, the income of the highest-earning 20% was at least 6.13 times higher than the lowest-earning 20%, compared to 6.1% in 2019. This constituted the largest increase in income inequality in Taiwan in eight years.

The DGBAS stated that if the government had not provided subsidies to disadvantaged groups, the disparity would have been even larger, with the top 20% making 7.43 times more than the bottom 20%.

In addition, the average spending per household last year was NT$815,000, a year-on-year decrease of 1.7%. The average savings per household was NT$265,000, a 14.8% rise from the previous year. The DGBAS said that the primary reason for the higher savings rate was the diminished spending on leisure, travel, and transportation expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This edition was translated from the original Chinese by Jeremy Olivier.