Lunch with Kaohsiung Mayor Chen and tour
The ECCT arranged a Premium Event lunch with Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) and senior officials from the Kaohsiung City Government. At the lunch, Mayor Chen gave a speech, which was followed by a presentation on Kaohsiung’s investment environment and business opportunities by Norman Liao (Tai-hsiang), Director-General of the city’s Economic Development Bureau. The lunch concluded with a Q&A session with the mayor, hosted by ECCT Chairman Giuseppe Izzo.
After lunch, the Kaohsiung City Government arranged a tour of the Smart City Summit & Expo, which was going on at the time (from 30 March until 1 April) at the Kaohsiung Exhibition Center. The tour ended with an hour-long yacht cruise of the Kaohsiung new bay area harbour, embarking from Kha Shing Pier 22.
The trip was arranged by the ECCT as part of the chamber’s ongoing efforts as a nationwide organisation to foster relations and business opportunities all across Taiwan. The lunch provided an opportunity for ECCT members to raise questions or discuss issues of concern or mutual interest with the mayor and a full delegation of senior city government officials, who were in attendance. The lunch was also attended by Hong Wen-Ling, Deputy Minister of the Ocean Affairs Council.
The follow Kaohsiung City Government officials attended the lunch: Liao Tai-Hsiang, Director-General, Economic Development Bureau (經發局 廖泰翔局長); Wu Wen-Jin, Director-General, Education Bureau (教育局 吳文靜副局長); Jou Deng-Chuen, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Labor (勞動局 周登春局長); Chang Shu-Chuan, Director-General, Transportation Bureau (交通局 張淑娟局長); Huang Joh-Jong, Director-General, Department of Health (衛生局 黃志中局長); Kao Min-lin, Director-General, Tourism Bureau (觀光局 高閔琳局長); Chang Jui-Hun, Director-General, Environmental Protection Bureau (環保局 張瑞琿局長); Chang Yen-Ching, Director-General, Department of Administrative and International Affairs (行政暨國際處 張硯卿處長).
In his presentation at the lunch, Norman Liao said that Kaohsiung was ranked 2nd among Taiwan’s special (largest) municipalities in terms of competitiveness. Business is booming as reflected in record sales in 2022, a 3.6% unemployment rate and NT$70.8 billion in private funds invested in the city in 2022. Among others, investments have been made by tech companies in semiconductor facilities, EV battery development and materials. This includes an investment by Merck in the first semiconductor material park in the world.
Manufacturing accounts for the largest portion of business sales in the city with the main contributing industries being chemical raw materials, basic metal fabrication and electronic components. Most of the remaining sales come from the service industry, including hospitality.
Kaohsiung is Taiwan’s largest commercial port by volume with container throughput of 114 million tonnes (49% of Taiwan’s total). Despite current water shortages, Kaohsiung has a diversity of sources of water. There is also an excess supply of electricity, as the city only uses about 65% of electricity generated. In terms of talent, there are 15 colleges and universities serving the city, providing 35,000 new graduates each year. There are also 86 medical institutions in the city.
The speaker went on to introduce some industry parks available to investors. The Ciaotou Science and Technology Park offers a 15% enterprise income tax credit as well as other tax and R&D incentives. The Asia New Bay Area 5G AIOT Innovation Park is Taiwan’s largest R&D and innovation trial zone with the largest 5G infrastructure private network.
In the Q&A session, the mayor gave some advice on the best places to visit in Kaohsiung and the southern Taiwan area, including the harbour area, the surrounding mountains, and easy access to Pingtung.
On a question about building a family friendly environment in the city, the mayor said that labour regulations should be relaxed to allow more foreign workers to live and work in Taiwan and the city. In the face of a labour shortage, there is also a need to increase digitalisation in manufacturing. He said that the city offers a number of incentives to help young people to start a family, as well as subsidies for childcare and medical expenses. He added that Kaohsiung has several international schools where foreigners moving to the city can send their children.