Taiwan Business in Brief – October 2021

Premier Su Tseng-chang introduces the government's "Quintuple Stimulus Voucher" program. The new vouchers, valued at NT$5,000, will be distributed starting October 8. Photo: Executive Yuan

Gogoro To Go Public on Nasdaq

On September 16, Gogoro announced plans to launch an initial public offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq Stock Market in the first quarter of 2022 via a merger with Poema Holdings Corp., a U.S.-based special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). The deal puts Gogoro’s enterprise value at US$2.35 billion and adds US$550 million to its balance sheet. The merged entity will carry the name Gogoro Inc. and the ticker symbol “GGR.”

Gogoro, a Taiwan startup, mainly builds electric scooters and manages a battery-swapping network across Taiwan utilized by its riders. With over two thousand battery-swapping stations in Taiwan, Gogoro’s network has allowed its riders to exchange old batteries for new ones over two million times. Comparing this system to competitors such as Honda and Kymco, research firm Guidehouse Insights has ranked Gogoro as the number one battery-swapping company in the world.

This summer, Gogoro partnered with India’s Hero Motocorp and with China’s Yaeda and Dachangjiang Group (DCJ) to expand into those two markets. The startup also entered a strategic partnership with Foxconn to scale up production of its electric vehicles and battery-swapping ecosystem.

Local Chain Louisa Launches Taiwan IPO

On September 17, Louisa Coffee went public on the Taipei Exchange at NT$118 (US$4.25) per share, closing at NT$160.5 on September 29.

Louisa currently runs 524 stores in Taiwan, more than any other coffee chain on the island. The chain has steadily grown since it was founded in 2006, including during the pandemic. It has acquired a reputation as a place to socialize and order affordable specialty coffee. Nevertheless, the company’s low prices depress its revenue margins – Taiwan-based 85C Bakery Cafe and Starbucks garner two and five times more revenue than Louisa, respectively. Looking ahead, the newly listed company has made plans to open more stores by university campuses and expand to overseas markets in the region.

New Stimulus Voucher Program Begins

Taiwan’s government will distribute a new round of stimulus vouchers starting October 8. The “Quintuple Stimulus Vouchers” are valued at NT$5,000 each and will expire on April 30 next year. 

The government set aside NT$120 billion to provide one set of vouchers to nearly all of the island’s residents in the hopes of uplifting the hard-hit retail sector. Vouchers can be used at department stores, restaurants, street markets, entertainment events, hotels, and other businesses. Stores do not need to provide change for voucher payments.

Last year’s “Triple Stimulus Vouchers” program successfully boosted the retail sector amid pandemic-related losses, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Worth NT$3,000 each but with a cost of NT$1,000 to redeem, those vouchers were said to have helped induce record sales in the retail sector from August to November following five consecutive months of negative growth.

This year, voucher values have increased while the barriers to receiving them have been lowered, with more secondary vouchers available for special purposes. NDC Minister Kung said he expects these vouchers will be more successful than last year’s and stated that they might boost Taiwan’s 2021 GDP growth to over 6%. Survey data from Taiwan’s yes123 job board shows that as a result of the voucher announcement, businesses are more willing to hire new employees and raise wages.

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