The Rundown: Geothermal Plant Starts Up, Foxconn Bid for Chip Center Accepted, and Kaohsiung Proposes Hoarding Tax

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

First Commercial Geothermal Plant Goes Online

The Cingshuei Geothermal Power Plant, Taiwan’s first commercial geothermal power-producing facility, began operations on November 23. The plant’s most significant feature is its ability to produce a 24-hour supply of renewable energy.

The 4.2MW plant is capable of meeting the energy demands of around 10,000 small households. Fabulous Power Co, one of the plant’s co-owners, has initiated phase two of the drilling plan for the plant, which is set to increase its power production capacity to 9.5MW.

Vice President William Lai, who spoke at the plant’s opening ceremony, said that the project is an important step for Taiwan’s renewable energy development, as well as for achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. Taiwan has an ample supply of geothermal resources, and it is expected that further cooperation will take place between the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Taiwan Power Co., and geothermal energy producers.

Foxconn to Open Chip Center for EVs in New Taipei

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., also known as Foxconn, will establish a software R&D and semiconductor design center in the Baogao Science and Intellectual Park in the Xindian District of New Taipei City. The center will help design software and hardware for smart electric cars, self-driving cars, and smart cockpits. Hon Hai estimates the plant will initially hire 250 software engineers, gradually expanding to 1,000.

New Taipei City government indicated that Hon Hai was one of six manufacturers who bid successfully to enter Baogao Park. The other manufacturers include Huacom Network, Sunbird, and Genee Tech Co. New Taipei City began a third round of bidding for investment in Baogao park in early December, and as well as applications for its business incubator. Baogao Park is situated next to the headquarters of Yulon Group and HTC.

Kaohsiung Plans Hoarding Tax to Curb Soaring Property Market

Kaohsiung’s property market has been overheating, due in part to increasing investment by TSMC investment and major construction projects in the area. On November 24, Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chi-mai stated that Kaohsiung City will introduce a property hoarding tax, noting that “houses are for living in, not for hoarding and speculation.” The proposed regulations will be sent to the city council for deliberation as early as the end of this year.

Kaohsiung city councilor Lin Yu-kai of the New Power Party, along with other city councilors, said that Taipei and Tainan should also implement a hoarding tax, in which a higher rate is applied to those who own multiple properties. Statistics show that 318 people own more than ten properties in Kaohsiung. The housing tax is currently 1.5% and does not discriminate based upon the number of properties owned.

Chen said that there are currently 1.06 million housing units in Kaohsiung, and 84,000 are non-residential properties. In order to achieve its goal of housing justice, Kaohsiung City government plans to build 15,000 social housing units, tighten controls on speculation, and strengthen lease management and rent subsidy measures.

This edition was translated from the original Chinese by Brian Tsui.