Lunch with New Taipei City Mayor Hou
The ECCT arranged a Premium Event lunch in the Banqiao district of New Taipei City (or Xinbei) with City Mayor Dr Hou Yu-ih. At the event Mayor Hou gave a presentation and answered questions from ECCT members in a Q&A session.
In his presentation, Mayor Hou gave an introduction to the city’s investment and living environment. New Taipei City (or Xinbei) is Taiwan’s most populous city with a population of just over four million people. Of the working population, 60% have a university degree or higher.
As an indication of the city’s promotion of innovation, it has won in certain categories of the IDC Smart City Asia Pacific Awards competition for four consecutive years. In 2020 the city won the award for Civic Engagement.
Xinbei city is home to 280,000 privately-owned companies and 20,000 factories as well as cultural and creative industries, such as pottery industry in the Yingge district, drums in Xinzhuang and dye in Sanxia. The city also has many museums and tourist attractions such as the Yeliou Ocean Park and hot springs in Jinshan and Wanli.
In terms of industry development, Mayor Hou is promoting the so-called “three-dimensional industrial park” in New Taipei City whereby investors are given incentives to build multiple story facilities and thereby increase overall floor area. According to the mayor, this has been successful in a 10-fold increase in total floor area in the park. He reported that a total of 37 investment cases have been reviewed and passed, with investments of NT$31.6 billion, and another 10 cases are still pending (after having been delayed by the pandemic).
Meanwhile, another park, the Baogaohui Industrial Park, has attracted more than 70 companies, provides 9,600 job opportunities and generates NT$11 billion in output value.
Xinbei is also benefitting from opportunities in the so-called “zero touch” economy necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic.
The mayor is also committed to low carbon sustainable development in the city. This includes meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and increasing the use of green energy, including wind, solar and hydro-energy.
The mayor went on to cite some of the advantages of investing in Xinbei. One advantage is the city’s complex system of travel links, which have much improved over the past few years with the addition of metro rail stations and the upgrading of highways. Most recently, the new circle metro line has connected those people living on the far eastern side of Xinbei to those in the west. Thanks to these developments, the greater Taipei/ Xinbei and Taoyuan area now connects around 10 million people, all within 30 minutes of travel time.
Urban renewal is an important part of Mayor Hou’s future plans. He showed several before and after photos of areas of the city that have been already upgraded to remove illegal factories and clean up rivers.
To address the problem of a declining birth rate and the needs of young parents, the city is working to increase the number of day care facilities.
And to make the city more liveable, several parks and leisure facilities have been upgraded to provide people with green spaces along rivers, mountains and coastal areas for walking and cycling, while slides and other play facilities have been constructed for children.