Taipei-Total foreign direct investment (FDI) approved by Taiwan's government in 2019 fell from a year earlier but still hit the fourth highest level on record because of investments in the local semiconductor and renewable energy sectors.
FDI approved by the Investment Commission in 2019 totaled about US$11.20 billion, down 2.14 percent from a year earlier because of a relatively high base of comparison in 2018, the commission said.
In historical terms, however, it was the fourth highest amount since FDI was first recorded in 1953, trailing only the US$15.3 billion in investment approved in 2007, US$13.9 billion in 2006, and US$11.4 billion in 2018.
Despite the small year-on-year drop in investment value, the number of approved applications rose 13.73 percent from a year earlier to 4,118 in 2019, the data showed.
The biggest approved investment was the commitment by U.S.-based dynamic random access memory chipmaker Micron Technology Inc. to pour an additional US$2.12 billion into Taiwan.
Also, Alphabet Inc. the parent company of U.S.-based search engine giant Google Inc., received approval to invest about US$835 million in its Taiwan operations, the commission said.
With Taiwan developing offshore wind power, several foreign investors such as Yunlin Holding Gmb of Germany, Denmark's Orsted Wind Power TW Holding A/S, Macquarie Corporate Holdings Pty Ltd. of Australia and JERA Formosa 2 B.V. from the Netherlands, obtained the green light to invest a combined US$1.8 billion in Taiwan.
Approved investment from China was down 57.97 percent in 2019 to US$97.18 million, but the 143 applications for investments from China approved by the commission were up 1.42 percent from a year earlier, the data showed.
Since June 30, 2009, when the government lifted a ban on investments from China, a total of 1,371 applications from China committing to US$2.28 billion in investment have been approved, according to the commission.
Meanwhile, the commission approved US$6.85 billion in foreign-bound investment (not including China) in 2019, down 52.07 percent from 2018.
Much of the decline came on investment to non-Asia destinations, especially to holding companies in the Caribbean.
But outbound investment in countries targeted by the government's New Southbound Policy rose 16.16 percent from a year earlier to US$2.79 billion, largely focusing on Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand and Australia.
The New Southbound Policy promotes exchanges with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, South Asian countries, Australia and New Zealand in a bid to reduce Taiwan's economic reliance on China.
The commission said the increase in investment in those countries indicated caution toward the Chinese market amid trade friction between Washington and Beijing.
That was also reflected in China-bound investment approved by the commission, which fell 51 percent from a year earlier to US$4.17 billion in 2019. It was the fourth consecutive year of year-on-year decline, the data showed.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel