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CommonWealth Finance Weekly

Is Zero Consumer Inflation a Good Thing?

Consumer inflation has grown at a miniscule 0.2% since the beginning of this year. Even the Chinese New Year in February, which is commonly associated with shopping frenzy and soaring prices, failed to make more than a bump. Declining consumer confidence and decreasing exports indicate Taiwan may be at risk of heading into a recession.

World Economic Forum

Forget GDP – for the 21st Century We Need a Modern Growth Measure

Say hello to comprehensive wealth – an index that protects the natural world.

Preparing for a Brewing Storm

The U.S.-China Trade War Showdown

Forty years after establishing diplomatic ties, the United States and China are caught in an intensifying trade war that has elicited different strategies from the two sides. Are the world’s two biggest economies ready to engage in a “new Cold War”?

Prospect of Digital Renminbi

Is China About to Launch Its Own Cryptocurrency?

The US' aggressive trade policies could be accelerating China's efforts to digitalize its currency - a move that would likely have far-reaching consequences for the world.

World Economic Forum

The 2008 Financial Crisis Had Some Long-Term Effects You Might Not Have Expected

A decade after the 2008 financial crisis, the effects go much deeper than just economic stability.

Gita Gopinath

IMF's First Female Chief Economist

IMF director Christine Lagarde appointed Harvard Professor Gita Gopinath, whose work has long challenged conventional thinking on international finance. She will be IMF's very first female chief economist.

The Truth Behind ICO Roadshows

Red Blockchain Rolling in Taiwan

Chinese crypto media, capital and social communities are joining hands, moving their speculative frameworks to Taiwan after being purged from China. If they reenact their pump and dump schemes in Taiwan, taking the money and running, investors could lose their shirts, and the future of Taiwan’s blockchain industry could be thrown into jeopardy.

World Economic Forum

Is There a New Debt Crisis on the Horizon?

Recent turmoil in the global debt, equity and currency markets once again questions the viability and sustainability of the economic growth in some emerging economies. They need to revaluate the short-term debt-fueled growth model and find new ways to increase labour productivity.

Troubles in Emerging Markets

What Do the Economic Woes of Turkey, Argentina and Indonesia Have in Common?

Investors look out! Financial crises are emerging in emerging markets. Turkey, Argentina and Indonesia have experienced plummeting currencies and outflow of foreign investment. What do these countries have in common?

World Economic Forum

6 Things That Surprised Us About China in August

Emerging first-tier cities, Shifting work preference for Chinese millennials, quantum technology, yellow delivering robots, internet market expansion... Here are six things that surprise us about China in August.

Behind E.Sun’s Historic ‘Jiaoxi Meeting’

2 Pieces of Paper = 1 Smooth Succession

The succession issue has troubled many Taiwanese firms, but E.Sun Financial Holdings handled it smoothly 10 years ago. Ten years later, the company’s chairman and president divulge for the first time the back story behind why it went so well.

Here's How to Get the Most Out of Digital Investment

Huge investment is going into digital technology. Some fear this won't boost productivity as much as the steam engine, the assembly line, or the computer did in previous waves of technical change. Others are more optimistic. New research from the World Economic Forum and Accenture suggests there’s room for hope.

Paradise Papers Fallout

The Undiscovered Asian Offshore Tax Haven

CommonWealth Magazine has been scouring the Paradise Papers since their release in late 2017 and discovered that one of Taiwan’s wealthiest families has parked a large share of its assets in overseas tax havens. At the same time, Taiwan was recently ranked as one of the world’s most financially secretive countries. Is Taiwan really that deeply tied to the seamy world of money laundering and tax evasion?

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde

3 Priorities for the Global Economy

In a speech in Hong Kong ahead of the 2018 International Monetary Fund/World Bank Spring Meetings, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde called on policymakers to steer clear of protectionism, guard against rising fiscal and financial risks, and foster long-term growth that benefits everyone. Here's a transcript of her speech.

World Economic Forum

3 Things You Need to Know about the US-China Trade Dispute

Could a row over steel turn into a full-blown trade war?

Taiwan’s Economic Struggles Decoded

No Longer an Asian Tiger?

Taiwan has muddled through an extended period of relatively low growth, stagnant wages and outflows of talent to other countries. The central bank recently revealed why this is happening relative to some of Taiwan’s neighbors.

China's Growing Influence

The Challenges of Chinese Investment in Latin America

As São Paulo hosts the World Economic Forum on Latin America 2018, it is time to consider China’s important influence on economies and business in the region since the Forum's last meeting in Brazil, in 2011.

Is a Delisting Wave Imminent in Taiwan?

In late January, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd. (also known as Foxconn Technology Group) convened its first-ever extraordinary general shareholders’ meeting since listing on the Taiwan Stock Exchange in 1991, approving the IPO of a Hon Hai subsidiary in China. With its decision, Taiwan’s largest manufacturer sounded the alarm for the currently high-flying Taiwan Stock Exchange (TAIEX).

Perng Fai-nan’s Enigmatic Successor

Who is Yang Chin-long?

On February 25th, Taiwan’s long-serving Central Bank Governor Perng Fai-nan, 79, will retire, handing the baton to his protege and trusted deputy Yang Chin-long. Is Yang a Perng Fai-nan clone, as some see him? And should he even try to be?

Retirement: Challenges & Solutions

Here’s How We Can Fix Our Pension Systems

With aging populations, longer life expectancy, and declining fertility rates, retirement has become a serious issue for various nations. What can the public and private sector do to make our pension system more inclusive and sustainable?

Indonesia’s BTPN

Turning Corner Grocers into Banks

Founded in 1958, Indonesia’s Bank Tabungan Pensiunan Nasional (BTPN) used to serve retired pensioners exclusively. In recent years, the bank has invested heavily in digital transformation, turning mom and pop groceries and small shops into digital branches.

Targeting Thailand 4.0

PChome Stakes Out its Territory

The key to the ‘Thailand 4.0’ plan is digitalization, with e-commerce participation a critical element of development. Taiwan-based PChome has set its sights on the opportunities presented by Thailand’s digital transformation.

China’s Silent Soft Power

Can Alipay Conquer Asia?

In Southeast Asia, the deafening sound of road construction work reflects the fierce competition among China, Japan and South Korea for lucrative infrastructure projects. But in stores and shopping malls, the sound of Alipay transactions indicates China’s even-greater ambition to establish its home-grown mobile financial services abroad.

Chailease International Leasing

Turning Small Sales into Big Business

A Taiwanese leasing company had the highest asset growth of any leasing firm in Vietnam in 2016, topping more established rivals. To achieve the feat, it adopted a strategy that could guide other Taiwanese businesses eager to shine in the region.

Return of Hong Kong, 20 Years Later

Chinese Capital Gains Clout in Hong Kong

After the former British colony of Hong Kong was returned to Chinese rule in 1997, it became China’s accounting house. How has China taken advantage of Hong Kong in the twenty years since the historic handover, and what does the future hold?

Top 2000 Survey : Financial Industry

Profits Down among Big Firms, Forex Key Factor

With a global economic recovery finally in sight in 2017, forex risk and other potential dangers still linger. Can the financial industry navigate these turbulent waters?

Interview with Fubon’s Richard Tsai

Building a National Brand

The Fubon Group has bucked convention in growing its business, whether moving into southern Taiwan or expanding into non-financial fields. In this interview with Richard Tsai, the Fubon Financial Holdings chairman explains how the company has evolved into a national brand.

Taiwan F Shares Lose Their Luster

'Taishang' No Longer Coming Home

A series of reforms by China’s stock exchanges have tempted Taiwanese businesses in China to list IPOs there rather than back in Taiwan, leading many to worry that Taiwan’s stock markets may become marginalized.

FSC Vice Chairman Cheng-Mount Cheng

How Can TAIEX Overcome Low Trading Volume?

Although Taiwan stock exchange index had a strong showing in 2016, turnover and trading volume have hit a record low. In this interview, FSC Vice Chairman Cheng-Mount Cheng discusses what can be done to heal the market’s ills.

Micron Technology

A Taiwan-US Coalition?

Bullish about DRAM and Taiwan’s technological capabilities, Micron Technology is going forward with NT$120 billion acquisition of Inotera Memories, dashing the hopes of potential buyers in China.

MediaTek, Fubon and Foxconn

Lackluster Stock Market A Headache for Investors

Why is Taiwan’s stock exchange failing to retain strong, successful companies? Share prices are falling short of expectations, raising capital is difficult, and fewer promising companies are going public here.

2017 Forecast for Taiwan

Can Demand, Investment Rebound?

Sluggish private consumption. Stagnant domestic demand. Weak investment. These and other factors portend a challenging run for Taiwan’s economy in 2017. CommonWealth Magazine takes a look at what next year has in store for the country.

How Is TSMC Winning?

Making Every Battle Count

Since Morris Chang returned as CEO of TSMC in 2009, the company has fought off spirited challenges from its closest rivals regardless of the technology and seen its stock price soar. How has the semiconductor giant been able to sustain its success?

The Namchow Group

Laying It on the Line in ASEAN

Taiwan’s new government is pushing closer economic ties with Southeast Asia, but the Taiwan-based Namchow Group doesn’t need any prodding. It has operated there for 25 years with a record of success few Taiwanese companies can match.

Taisun International

Seizing the Initiative to Become an Industry Legend

For corporations, timing is far more important than R&D and technology. Even as Unilever, Proctor and Gamble, and Johnson and Johnson are looking to capture the emerging consumer goods market, Taisun International uses industry “time lags” to seize the initiative.

Sino-American Silicon Products Inc.

Cultivating 'Informal Channels' to Make Money from Green Technologies

Taiwanese solar power cell maker Sino-American Silicon Products Inc. was able to win a lucrative contract for a solar power plant in the Philippines because it made efforts to build trust with the locals.

Banyan Tree Group Senior Vice President Claire Chiang

A No-Nonsense Path to Entrepreneurship Success

Claire Chiang believes that the more volatile things get, the more temptations abound, one has to stick to one’s principles.

MiTAC-Synnex Group Chairman Matthew Miau

Get ASEAN Countries to 'Go North'

Matthew Miau argues that Taiwan cannot just “go south”, but that Southeast Asian countries should also “go north” to invest in Taiwan.

Acer Group founder Stan Shih

Creating a 'Silnnovation Island'

Acer Group founder Stan Shih proposes that Taiwan should evolve into a "Silnnovation Island", with the Taiwanese market serving as a model platform for the world. Following are the key points of Shih’s speech:

2016 Summer CWEF

The Way Forward for Asian Enterprises

The Brexit vote; new turmoil in the South China Sea; China full of uncertainty. At such a volatile time, the 2016 Summer CommonWealth Economic Forum focused exclusively on searching for the best forward for Asian businesses.

First Bank Security Scandal

Hacked ATMs Raise Alarms

On a July weekend, foreign thieves used malware to steal more than NT$80 million from First Bank's ATM machines. The unprecedented heist means international hackers are now targeting Taiwanese banks. Are the banks ready to fight back?

Top 2000 Survey: Financial Industry

Investment Losses Bode Ill for Economy

The financial industry, which caught a profit tailwind 2014, found itself sailing against strong headwinds in 2015. As the Chinese economy slows down and financial markets remain volatile, making money is getting harder.

2016 Top 2000 Survey

30 Years Later, Who’s on Top?

The CommonWealth Magazine Top 2000 Survey has tracked the evolution of Taiwan’s industrial history over the past 30 years, often identifying paradigm shifts in business trends before they were obvious. Here’s a look back and forward.

Panama Papers Open New Era of Megaleaks

Can Tax Havens be Rooted Out?

The publication of the leaked Panama Papers, which shocked the wealthy and powerful around the globe, became possible thanks to reporters in almost 80 countries, coordinated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). CommonWealth Magazine, which has twice participated in ICIJ investigations, presents a first-hand account of the epochal impact of the Panama Papers.

Panama Papers

Spurring Taiwan to Action on Taxes

Though there were no smoking guns related to Taiwan in the Panama Papers, the renewed attention on the global use of tax havens to avoid taxes could finally spur Taiwan's Legislature to action on long-stalled anti-tax avoidance amendments.

When Japan Throws Open Its Doors

Challenges in Store for Taiwanese Companies

Voices are growing louder in Japan that advocate an injection of foreign investment to rejuvenate ailing Japan Inc. The world is watching with bated breath how Taiwan’s Foxconn fares with its proposed takeover of Japan’s Sharp. Will Foxconn be able to open a new chapter in bilateral corporate cooperation?

Tsuyoshi Nojima :

Foxconn-Sharp Courtship ‘a Cultural Issue’

Veteran journalist and long-time Taiwan watcher Tsuyoshi Nojima says it is hard for older Japanese to accept the proposed acquisition of Sharp by Foxconn.

2016 CWEF

The Coopetition Era: Heaven or Hell?

Facing a new wave of unemployment, new technologies and new climate disruptions, Asia is struggling to rekindle growth. The challenges posed by this new era of cooperation and competition were the focus of the 2016 CommonWealth Economic Forum.

The Rise of FinTech

Can Taiwan Make Up for Lost Time?

FinTech – financial technology – has become a hot trend in finance, but Taiwanese business schools have been slow to recognize its growing importance. A few prominent institutions are trying to change that, hoping they’re not too late.

Bank SinoPac

Bank 3.0, Shattering and Preserving Tradition

Sinopac is making strides in adapting its banking services to the always-connected society of today.

The Secret behind Burberry, Coach and Victoria’s Secret

Does anyone connect Taiwan’s ancient capital of Tainan, famous for its majestic temples and delicious snacks, with fine fabrics and advanced functional textiles? Yet global fashion brands such as Burberry and Coach as well as lingerie maker Victoria’s Secret all source their fabrics here.

Taiwan’s Manpower Crisis

Wanted: Software Engineers

As businesses evolve quickly to cope with a rapidly changing world, Taiwan’s higher education system has become rigid and even obsolete, exacerbating a shortage of software engineers that could threaten the country’s Internet and high-tech sectors.

Cathay United Bank

In Hot Pursuit of ‘Asia Cup’

When Cathay United Bank made an US$80 million loan in Myanmar, it stunned financial circles there. What did such a bold move for this traditionally conservative bank say about its ambitions in Southeast Asia?

The Great Deflation

Taiwan: Escaping the China Trap

Amid concerns that China's attempts to boost slowing economic growth and stem capital outflows could cause a global recession, Taiwan's dependence on the Chinese export market is coming back to haunt it.

Top 2000 Survey: Financial Industry

Recovery, Deregulation Lead to Boon

The global economic recovery brought higher stocks and bonds profits, while relaxed regulations have encouraged financial interests to get off the island and embrace the greater Pacific region.

Xiang Songzuo

China's Fiscal Policy Dilemmas

Xiang Songzuo, chief economist at the Agricultural Bank of China, holds forth on China's fiscal predicament, government controls and the future of the yuan.

Housing Justice

Legislative Loophole Hurting Reform

Legislation was passed in 2011 to register actual real estate transaction prices in Taiwan but it was watered down in cross-party consultations. As calls for revisions mount, can a better system be devised and passed?

Exclusive Interview with Bark Taeho

Korea-China FTA Below Expectations

Seoul and Beijing announced in November 2014 that they had effectively reached a free trade deal, worrying many in Taiwan. Former Korean trade official Bark Taeho offers some perspective on the pact and its potential impact down the road.

The China Dilemma

Chinese Partners: A Blessing or a Curse?

The number of Chinese investors taking stakes in Taiwanese companies has risen dramatically in recent years. Have the deals helped the Taiwanese partners thrive or dealt them fatal blows?

The 1% vs. the 99%

Taiwan's Vast Wealth Gap

Taiwan's rich-poor divide is at an all-time high, with the top 1 percent of income earners enjoying most of the gains of economic growth. The situation is unlikely to change unless Taiwan overhauls its outdated tax system.

Ping Wang:

Taiwan Needs Radical Tax Reform

In this exclusive interview, tax reform expert Ping Wang makes the case for a long overdue overhaul.

Top 2000 Survey: Financial Industry

Dawn of the Golden Era

On the back of financial deregulation and regional integration, the future has never looked rosier for Taiwanese banking, as financial institutions move to conquer new markets and take on the challenges of electronic finance and globalization.

Economics Minister Chang Chia-juch:

Taiwan Can't Say 'No' to Free Trade

In this exclusive interview, Taiwan's Minister of Economic Affairs argues candidly that while free trade agreements are bound to hurt, bowing out of them is not an option.

Demystifying ECFA

The Early Harvest List, 3 Years On

Exclusive cross-strait trade figures throw doubt on the notion of a free trade agreement whose "benefits outweigh the drawbacks." What are the true results of ECFA?

QE Tapering

Which Emerging Economies Will Survive?

The post-QE era has commenced. The world's emerging markets that sparkled with opportunity yesterday are now facing economic distress. Which countries are most at risk? And is Taiwan in the clear?

Budget Nightmare Forces Financial Reform

Every politician dreads raising taxes in an election. Yet that's exactly what Taiwan's cabinet is seeking to do. Worsening government finances are making reform imperative, now. But who will they benefit, and who will they hurt?

2014 CommonWealth Economic Forum

The Power of Change in Asia

International luminaries from industry, academia and government gathered in Taipei to share their wisdom on the triple themes of "Taiwan's Way Ahead," Regional Economics and Trade" and "Me and My Dreams."

Offshore Tax Havens

Taiwan's NT$300 Billion Drain

While Taiwan loses billions in tax revenue to overseas tax havens, the rest of the world is chasing down its rich tax dodgers. Why is Taiwan still taking a hands-off approach?

Offshore Tax Havens

Where Taiwan's Billionaires Stash Their Cash

Are the offshore dealings of Taiwan's billionaires legal wealth management, or do they border on financial crime? Leaked information on companies, trusts and tax haven funds gives us a glimpse of the financial dealings of the super-rich.

Economics Minister Chang Chia-juch:

Long-term Battle for Economic Recovery

In this exclusive interview, Taiwan's Minister of Economic Affairs considers the perils facing the island in the emerging international economy, the remedies the government can offer, and what industry needs to do on its own.

Incheon Free Economic Zone

Smart, Green, Spanking New

South Korea has a grand ambition: to build the commercial hub of Northeast Asia. But with investment lagging behind expectations and fierce competition from both China and Japan, can they make good on their bold plan?

Taiwan's New Economic Zones

Deregulation, but No Strategy

The Taiwan version of "free economic zones" involves dispersed resources, unclear positioning and "virtual" zones that amount to little more than deregulation and tax breaks. Is this the panacea for all the island's woes?

Malaysia's Economic Zones

Burying the Hatchet, Climbing the Ladder

At Port Klang, Malaysia's ambition rings clear: to challenge Singapore's claim as the premier entrepot of Southeast Asia. Yet in Iskandar, Malayia is allying with its old foe, for the greater good of regional domination.

Chasing Taxable Income Worldwide

Around the globe, large multinationals and rich individuals legally exploit asymmetrical regulations and avoid paying trillions in taxes. But the hunt is on, as international bodies devise means to make them pay their fair share.

Big Companies, Low Taxes

The Secrets behind the Shortfall

Taiwan's government is desperate for revenues, but the country's corporations pay lower tax rates than salaried workers. Many use the same overseas tax dodges that Apple made famous, and lawmakers are helping them get away with it.

Snapping Up ASEAN Banks

Titans of Taiwan Finance Head South

More and more Taiwanese banks are setting up shop in Southeast Asia, establishing comprehensive regional networks in a quest to become "supra-regional" banks. What are the hurdles, and the rewards?

Fubon Financial Chairman Daniel Tsai

Aiming to Be Financial 'Pride of Taiwan'

Fubon Financial has led Taiwan's financial holding companies in net profit four years running and has gained the deepest foothold in China. In an exclusive interview Daniel Tsai reveals his personal goals and aspirations for the company.

Top Service Enterprises 2013

The Big Crossover

Striving to carve out bigger slices of the same consumer pie, retailers expanded into one another's territories, brick-and-mortar stores went virtual, and hoteliers put on the glitz for top tourist dollars.

2013 Top Financial Institutions

Overseas Shift Leads to Record Profits

Bucking trends, Taiwan's financial sector has surged to its highest profitability since the global financial crisis, largely driven by opportunities farther afield, in China and Asean.

Taiwan's Economy in 2013

Urgently Needed: Investment Injection

Taiwan's domestic economy and exports both stalled in 2012. This year, a soft recovery is expected, but investment will ultimately decide the country's economic fate.

Kenda Rubber Industrial

Return of the Tire Maker

After moving production to China in 1988, Kenda quickly became the third largest bicycle tire maker in the world. Yet last year they moved their car tire production back to Taiwan. Given the higher costs, why did they insist on returning home?

Taiwan's Unfair Tax System

Helping the Rich Get Richer

NT$17 trillion in new wealth was created in Taiwan's equity and property markets from 2006 to 2010, but very little of it was taxed, a not-so-subtle indication of how far Taiwan's tax system has gone awry.

Gold Collar Seniors

A Force for Social Change

Taiwan's baby boomers are redefining the meaning of "old" and forming a powerful and affluent "gold collar" wave, ready to help younger generations create a new economic miracle.

The New Start-up Wave

Creating a Gourmet Silicon Valley

First came the high-tech boom in the '80s, then the boom in the '90s. Now, a culinary boom has arrived in Taiwan, spawning a surge of investment in gourmet start-ups.

Taiwan's Economic Outlook

Answering the Big Questions

With the global economy in turmoil, what are the prospects for Taiwan's economy in the coming six months? Which export markets are still growing? And where is the job market still on the upswing?

Cross-strait Payment Services

Raking in the Renminbi

In the newest development in cross-strait financial services, Chinese buyers can now pay online for products and services purchased in Taiwan. Small Taiwanese online vendors are seeing their sales go through the roof.

ZTE Chairman Hou Weigui

Racing the West Head to Head

One out of every 23 mobile phones worldwide is made by China's ZTE Corporation, the world's fourth largest handset manufacturer. But ZTE chairman Hou Weigui is just getting started.

The Silk Road of E-commerce

China Redefines the Rules

China's Taobao online retail network has higher sales than China's five biggest brick-and-mortar retailers combined. It's a big pie, but access to this new "silk road" means following China's e-commerce standards.

Finance Minister Christina Liu

Sticking Up for Tax Fairness

In this exclusive interview, Christina Liu discusses why she felt compelled to step down as Taiwan's finance minister, and why she feels the country has failed to tax fairly.

Top 100 Financial Institutions

Winds of Change Rattle the Top

In 2011 Cathay Financial Holdings regained its throne as Taiwan's top financial holdings group, and Bank of Taiwan fell from the Top 10 for the first time, as state-run banks lost their competitive edge.

Hiwin President Eric Y.T. Chuo

Forging a Global R&D Alliance

In an exclusive interview, the chief executive of precision machinery maker Hiwin Corp. shares the strategy that led to an R&D empire spanning Germany, Britain, Russia, Israel and Japan.

CommonWealth Economic Forum

Ting Hhsin International Group Chairman

Ting Hsin International Group chairman Wei Ying-chiao shares his strategy for conquering the China market.

Edward Po and Ivan Hong

Where the Bosses Learned the Ropes

Your first job is the start of your whole career, priming the pumps for all that follows. Two successful Taiwanese executives share the secrets they learned when cutting their teeth.

B Talent, A+ Results

From the Bench to the Big Time

From that first day on the job, cultivating good fundamentals is the key to climbing the ladder. Are you ready for the journey from benchwarmer to superstar?

The Jeremy Lin Phenomenon

What Businesses Can Learn

Knicks guard Jeremy Lin reversed his team's fortunes in a matter of days. His exploits may have a message for companies scrambling to find or nurture the right people for specific roles.

Lessons in Community Relations

Why Good Neighbors Do Better Business

Community protests halted work at Catcher Technology's plant in Suzhou. But by making a favorable public impression, Master Kong has become China's number-one noodle brand. For Taiwanese enterprises operating in China, good community relations are not optional.

Domestic Demand Reshuffles the Deck

2010 Most Admired Company Survey

Taiwan's growing domestic demand has invigorated the market. And in an unprecedented move, Fubon Financial Holding voluntarily relinquishes its top spot.

Taiwan Makes a Stand in the Talent War

2011 Most Admired Company Survey

Taiwan's top-level talent is being seduced away by high pay offers, forcing the country's most admired companies to use emotional appeals to hold on to their prized executives. Is the strategy working?

2011 Taiwan's Top Corporate Citizens

Shattering the Myths of Corporate Social Responsibility

In its fifth annual survey of Taiwan's CSR landscape, CommonWealth Magazine reveals the common strategies that have allowed companies to thrive and help sustain Taiwan's beauty.

Keeping 'Made In Taiwan' in Taiwan

Manufacturing Scrambles for a Future

Manufacturing is in transition, as people can no longer accept the loud, polluting factories of the past. CommonWealth Magazine takes a look at where the sector is headed in Taiwan.

CEPD Minister Christina Liu

The Strategy behind Investment Promotion

In her year heading the Council for Economic Planning and Development, Christina Liu has been aggressively promoting investment, but she has attracted her share of criticism. What's the real economic strategy she's got in mind?

Taiwan Business Bank Chairman Peter Lo

A 'Down-to-Earth' Comeback

Two years ago Taiwan Business Bank stood out mostly for its lackluster performance. But since veteran banker Peter Lo took the helm, the industry laggard has moved to the front of the class. The secret? A sincere, down-to-earth management style.

China's Young Consumers

E-commerce Rewrites the Rules of Retail

Shrewd online shopping strategies and a growing taste for luxury have made China's youth key players in the country's shifting paradigm of consumer behavior.

Top 100 Financial Enterprises

SME Borrowing Drives Bank Earnings

In 2010, Taiwan's financial sector was back on a roll, as SME lending became the new big thing, for the first time accounting for more than half of all business lending among Taiwan's domestic banks.

The Age of Value Marketing Has Arrived

The sales and profits of Taiwan's top 1,000 companies hit three-year highs in 2010. The secret to their success? Winning customers' hearts in an age when consumers are pricklier than ever.

The Future Kinmen

Paradise or Mirage?

Chinese investors are making far greater inroads into the outlying island of Kinmen than Chinese troops did over half a century ago. But are their ambitious projects the real deal or simply a mirage?

Taiwan's Future Leaders

Financing a Renaissance

EasyCard Corp. chairman Liu I-cheng is sowing the seeds of the electronic economy, but his true passion is helping put Taiwan's name on the map.

New Investment Wave

Japanese Companies Catch Taiwan Fever

Japanese investment in Taiwan soared 67 percent last year to US$400 million, and more companies have plans to jump in. What is it that’s drawing them to Taiwan?

Sumitomo Electric, Asahi Glass

Making Taiwan Their Springboard to China

Sumitomo has picked Taiwan as its first overseas production base. And Japan’s largest glass maker AGC is setting up a new furnace for flat panel glass substrates in Taiwan instead of China. What are the advantages informing their strategies?

Lean Startup: Vpon Mobile Ad Network

Harnessing an Army of Apps

In Taiwan only two websites are big enough to make money from advertising. But two 30-something guys have devised an alternative route, bringing together many small developers and harnessing a power akin to a swarm of soldier ants.

President Ma:

Taiwan aims to be Asia's higher education hub

The government in Taiwan is forging the island into a higher education center in Asia, aiming specifically at attracting college students from Southeast Asia and Chinese language learners from around the world, President Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday.

Rising Consumer Confidence

Taiwan's Robust Rebound

Taiwan's businesses were the first to feel the economic recovery. Now, it is being felt in the labor market, with higher wages spurring rising consumer confidence.

Private-Sector Investment

Taiwan's Service Sector Surge

In the wake of the financial meltdown, Europe and America are still in the doldrums, but Taiwan's private-sector investment surged 32 percent in 2010, marking a 45-year high, the second highest in history in terms of absolute value. Will 2011 be just as good?

The Industrial Standards Battle

China Sets the Rules – How to Win the Game?

Promoting its own standards and rewriting the game rules across a range of industries, China hopes to go head-to-head with the leading standards of the West. Once China can "call the shots," how can Taiwan reap the rewards?

The Beef Bowl Wars

Japanese Consumers Take the Low Road

Once denizens of a primary battleground for top-quality branded goods, the Japanese are now tightening their belts. Yoshinoya's new low-end Beef Bowl speaks volumes about the Japanese market's sea change.

Eric Chen

China's Trillion-Dollar SME Bonanza

Taiwan's "godfather of forex," now deeply engaged in China's burgeoning commercial banking sector, ponders the grand harvest that potentially awaits Taiwanese banks in China, and the strategies necessary to succeed there.

Soaring Consumer Prices

China's Perilous Inflation Threat

China is facing such high inflation that some of its citizens are shopping in Hong Kong for their daily needs. How much of a threat do soaring prices pose to China's economy – and its regime?

Uni-President Hankyu Department Store

President Chain Store's Ultimate Battle

President Chain Store Corp. recently opened its second shopping mall in Taiwan. Why is it so determined to enter the department store fray when its 7-Eleven convenience store business is so successful?

Momo Department Store

What is Fubon Up To?

Enjoying success with its TV and Internet shopping ventures, the financial group Fubon has gone brick-and-mortar, with its Momo Department Store. Is Fubon creating a consumer paradise, or just aiming too high?

Global Economic Perils:

Black Swans Alighting?

The global economy is just starting to recover from the 2008-2009 financial crisis, but dark clouds that could send the economy spiraling downward remain on the horizon.

Taiwan vs. South Korea:

Why Is Taiwan Lagging Behind?

Over the last decade, South Korea has pulled ahead of its rival Taiwan. Why has South Korea been able to graduate from the "Four Little Dragons of Asia," achieving a per-capita GDP 20 percent higher than that of Taiwan?

2010 Top 1000 Enterprises

Thriving through Flexibility

The global financial crisis claimed plenty of casualties in Taiwan, but its top enterprises brandished one critical asset that helped many of them thrive: flexibility.

Taiwan's Recycling Industry

Profits Mount for Green Giants

Newly ascendant recycling businesses are no longer simply selling scrap, but extracting prized materials like gold, in the process becoming one of the stronger concept stocks bucking the downturn.

Tightening Belts, Squeezing Out Profits

Top 100 Financial Enterprises

In 2009, Taiwanese insurers reaped windfall profits from booming investment markets fueled by low interest rates, while banks squeezed meager profit out of "savings." In 2010, challenges continue to loom large.

The CommonWealth Economic Forum

A New Stage for Asia

In January 2010, the elite of the Asian economic establishment came together in Taipei to discuss the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, in an annual forum with Asia as its focus.

Deck: Panelists discuss green economy, cross-strait financial cooperation

Tax Cuts Wrong: Morris Chang

Morris Chang, chairman and CEO of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), yesterday urged businesses to rely on entrepreneurship -- instead of tax breaks -- to achieve continued growth and success.

The CommonWealth Economic Forum Begins

The CommonWealth Economic Forum, a series of discussions on economic prospects for China, Asia as well as the entire world, will be held today and tomorrow in Taipei.

President Ma envisions a 'global technology corridor,' of which Taiwan is a member

Economist Cites China, Conflict in Views as Trends

China's dominance in the world stage and a tug-of-war between economic optimists and pessimists will be two major economic trends this year, said Daniel Franklin, Executive Editor of The Economist, yesterday.

Taiwan’s Domestic Consumption

A Lopsided Liftoff

Robust at the top but anemic at the bottom, Taiwan’s rebound in domestic consumption resembles a bird with a lame wing – vigorously flapping, but failing to fly high in the sky.

GIC Deputy Chairman Tony Keng Yam Tan

Asia's Most Mysterious Investor

In this exclusive interview, Dr. Tan gives his insights on the global economy in the aftermath of the financial crisis, and the opportunities for Asian banks.

ICBC Chairman Jiang Jianqing

Finding a Cross-strait Strategy for Financial Services

With Jiang Jianqing at the helm, the International and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) became the world’s biggest bank in terms of market value and assets. How did Jiang, who started out as an ordinary bank teller, make it to the top of this financial giant?

The Accountant with a Good Nose for China

Silas Siu-shun Yang

When no one else was gung ho about China, Silas Siu-shun Yang daringly expanded his accounting firm into China. And when Arthur Andersen collapsed, Yang again moved quickly to grab his stricken competitor’s staff in China. Where does this seasoned China hand see new opportunities in Asia in 2010?

India's Tata Consultancy Service

The Pulse of Multinationals

Casting an eye across the globe, there is nowhere its shadow isn't cast. Its services may just lie behind that ATM card you use or that express delivery package you received. How does India's biggest information services concern intend to expand its presence in the Taiwan market?

The Greater East Asia Market

Where Does Taiwan Fit In?

ASEAN is now Taiwan's second largest export market, making Taiwan's participation in an integrated East Asia essential. The next five years will determine whether that happens.

FSC Chairman Sean C. Chen

Sites Set High for China MOU

In this exclusive interview, the chairman of Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission explains the government's objectives in negotiating formal financial industry ties with China.

Taiwan's Foreign Insurers

Life beyond the High-yield Game

Disengaging from a money-losing battle with local insurers over market share, how can Taiwan's foreign insurers find a strategy to survive in tight quarters?

Flawed Economic Indicator?

GDP's Three Big Blind Spots

Taiwan's work ethic has underpinned strong GDP growth, but life hasn't gotten much better for ordinary Taiwanese people in the past decade. What is it that this major economic indicator is not telling us?

The Next Golden Decade

Taiwanese Style Service Making Inroads in China

From department stores to health care, Taiwanese companies are poised to tap into China's soaring urban spending power to launch the service industry's next golden decade.

Taiwan's Unknown Competitors

The Red Banks Are Coming

Twenty years after the end of the Cold War, the communists' banks are about to set foot in Taiwan. Far larger than their Taiwanese counterparts and reflecting China's national will, these new entrants in Taiwan's financial sector are potentially tenacious foes.

2009 Top 100 Financial Enterprises

Hit by the Tsunami, Half in the Red

Taiwan's financial industry posted its highest revenues since 2000, yet profits were lower than companies can afford. Battered by the financial tsunami, the financial industry has hit rock bottom and is fighting hard for its survival.

New Outbreak of 'China Fever'

Taiwan's Investors Buy Renminbi, but Risks Abound

Taiwan's hot money is flowing out of the country, pushing renminbi deposits in Hong Kong to 60 times their 2004 total. But betting on the Chinese currency as an investment is not without its risks.

Skyrocketing Interest Rates – The New Risk

As the recession continues, Taiwan's banking system is actually overloaded with money, and looking like a pressure cooker ready to blow. Some experts already warn of accelerating inflation and soaring interest rates.

Hong Kong's Yen for the Yuan

The Renminbi Has Arrived

China's currency, the renminbi, is making strides in international markets and now coexists with the Hong Kong dollar in the former British territory. Will Taiwan be the next to fall under its spell?

The Renminbi Has Arrived

China's Currency Conquers the Mekong

The renminbi has infiltrated Southeast Asia, is increasingly accepted internationally, and may one day directly challenge the U.S. dollar. What opportunities and challenges will this bring for Taiwan and the world?

Song Hongbing

The Currency Wars – How Can Taiwan Prevail?

In an exclusive interview, top Chinese financial expert Song Hongbing, author of the controversial book Currency Wars, declares the decline of the dollar, and speculates on the chaos to come.

Ailing Insurers Hold Taiwan Hostage

In Taiwan's murky insurance industry, a number of companies have depleted their capital stock but continue to operate without regulatory management. And insurance holders like you and me are left in their stranglehold.

Top Insurance Regulator Tien-mu Huang:

We Lack the Resources to Take Over Troubled Insurers

The director-general of the FSC's Insurance Bureau talks frankly about the health of Taiwan's insurance industry and the limitations of government intervention.

Taiwan's Insurance Industry

Left Stranded

Nearly 10 million policyholders have been left stranded in Taiwan as foreign insurance companies sell what they can and hit the high road. How can Taiwan patch the fissures in its damaged insurance edifice?

FSC Chairman Sean Chen:

Returning Financial Management to the Fundamentals

Faced with a global financial crisis, how will Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission establish its credibility? Incoming chairman Sean Chen talks about navigating the obstacle-strewn path ahead.

Fubon Group

The Art of Expanding during a Downturn

Often dismissed as overly conservative, Fubon now stands out for daring to expand when others contract, becoming the first Taiwanese financial institution to set up shop in China.

Taiwan in the Economic Storm

A Sound Vessel Travels Troubled Seas

Thanks to a solid financial base, Taiwan has so far remained largely undamaged by the recent financial meltdown. But concerns over the fundamentals of Taiwan's economy are slowly surfacing.

Riding Out the Economic Storm

The global economic tsunami has washed away capitalism's prosperous heyday, leaving individuals, companies and governments, including Taiwan's, wondering what values and directions to embrace for the future.

'Rootless' Taiwanese Companies

Ready for Rotten Weather

Pummeled by the global economic storm, many "rootless" Taiwanese companies registered overseas are coming back to the island. And some, having sought shelter and hoarded supplies, were ready for the onslaught before its arrival.

Offshore Tax Havens

Paradise Besieged

While the Taiwanese open their eyes to the hidden power of money laundering, the veil is being lifted from offshore tax havens around the world, as these hush-hush sanctuaries of secrecy face heightened scrutiny.

Taiwan's Inflated Real Estate Market

How to Buy a House in a Bubble

After record low interest rates, a luxury property boom and the opening of links with China have floated the real estate market to historic highs, is Taiwan now plagued with a property bubble? And how can an ordinary mortal purchase a home?

Taipei's Middle Class Moves Out

It's Springtime in the Suburbs

More and more of members of the middle class are joining an exodus from the city, trading a long commute for cheaper home prices. Is the move worth it?

Taiwan's Top CEOs:

Facing Up to Tough Times

With the world economy in the doldrums, 80 percent of the CEOs of Taiwan's biggest companies are pessimistic about 2008 profits, and 46 percent see rough times ahead for the stock market. What can they do to reverse the tide?

Will Inflation Trigger a Bankruptcy Wave?

The world economy has barely absorbed the fallout from the U.S. subprime crisis, but the next threat is already looming: inflation. In the 1970s two oil crises led to stagflation, bankruptcy and unemployment. Will history repeat itself?

Higher Fuel and Utility Rates

Taiwan Tightens Its Belt

The effects of rising oil and electricity prices are proving far-reaching and long-lasting, as people from all walks of life in Taiwan enter a new era of energy saving and carbon reduction.

Shanghai Commercial & Savings Bank Ltd.

Spanning the Cross-strait Financial Divide

Long seen as a prodigy of Taiwan's banking industry, SCSB has posted growth better than 20 percent every year since 2000. How do they do it?

A Storm Weathered, a Showdown Awaits

Top 100 Financial Enterprises

After enduring a consumer debt crisis, Taiwan's financial sector enjoyed broadly higher profits last year. Looking ahead, the China market poses even greater risks and challenges.

Inflation, Government Policy Squeezing SMEs

The Alarming Decline of Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises

Taiwan has suffered a net monthly loss of nearly 1,000 small- and medium-sized enterprises over the past 12 months, as these vital cogs in the economy join the ranks of the 'disadvantaged.'

Yageo vs. Ta-I, Powerchip vs. Macronix

Acts of M&A Theatre With No Winners

Two classic examples of major hostile takeovers offered the public a glimpse of how management missteps combined with angry retaliation from the target company can burn both parties.

Global M & A Mania Hits Taiwan

Path to Paradise or Ticket to Hell?

The global merger and acquisition fever is accelerating in Taiwan, with M&A values up six-fold from 2004. What’s behind the flurry of activity in recent years, and who are the players behind the scenes?

Insider Trading

From CEO to Convict

In Taiwan, the maximum penalty for insider trading is similar to that for rape or kidnapping, but the law is rife with gray areas that have CEOs terrified. What exactly is "reasonable" social justice?

Asian Regional Economy

Commodities and Capital Goods Forever

Looking forward, it may be resources, capital and heavy industries, rather than traditional export industries, that drive the Asian regional economy.

International Capital

Where Does the Tide Flow?

The collapse of the US sub-prime mortgage market set off crises in France and Britain, and sent stock markets south all over the world. The vast flow of capital, complex and interconnected, gathers force like a storm, but where is it heading?

Acquisition of Gateway

Acer Shows Its Teeth

With its acquisition of Gateway, Acer has made its presence felt in the U.S. market, snatched the world number-three position from rival Lenovo, and declared itself a truly global enterprise.

Taiwan's Biotech Outbreak

With a new law loosening restrictions on capital and personnel, and a focused infusion from the National Development Fund, Taiwan?s biotechnology industry stands on the threshold of fertile growth.

Yageo Chairman Pierre Chen

Rewriting the Game Rules for Private Equity Funds

Pierre Chen leads a multifaceted life, attaining more than single-track business success. In a rare, exclusive interview he talks about Yageo's future, including its unprecedented partnership with a foreign PEF.

New Accounting Rules for Employee Stock-sharing

Swan Song for the High-tech Gold Rush?

What kind of employer can get employees to love their jobs? Four companies have won the Happy Workers Awards for winning the hearts and minds of their workers.

Consumer Prices

Everything's Going Up... But What's Really Going On?

Oil, milk, instant noodles... They all seem to have gone up overnight and elevated the cost of living. But are consumer prices in Taiwan really on the rise?

The 'M' Strategy

China Makes Its Move on Southeast Asia

As China’s position in the global economy rises, its power is extending southward. This newfound relationship of mutual support with Southeast Asia holds deep strategic implications.

ASEAN on the Rise

The New Asian Gold Rush

One of the earth's most complex regions, ASEAN is also currently the world's hottest market. Four major trends are behind this sizzling South Sea Fever.

Top 100 Financial Enterprises

The Struggle to Stand Out

For Taiwan's financial industry, 2006 was a year for post-disaster reconstruction. In this highly competitive market, Taiwanese businesses must now seek to break free from the existing herd mentality and create new value.

FSC Chairman Hu Sheng-Cheng:

Extending the Value Chain of Taiwanese Banks

In this exclusive interview, the new chairman of Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission shares his insights on foreign investment in Taiwan's banks.

Interview with Standard Chartered

McCabe and Wu Muse on Merger

The CEO of Standard Chartered Bank in Taiwan and the chairman of HIB talk about what makes a successful merger, and the importance of international consolidation in the future of Taiwan's banks.

Far Eastern Group CEO Douglas Hsu

Businesses Can Do More for the Environment

From planting trees, to riding bicycles, to devotedly saving energy throughout the many enterprises he directs, the Far Eastern Group’s Douglas Hsu has a green side the world rarely sees.

Standard Chartered-HIB Merger

Two Corporate Cultures Unite, by Meticulous Design

Mergers are delicate affairs - their success depends largely on winning the hearts of the acquired company's staff. And Standard Chartered has gone to great lengths to bring Hsinchu International Bank into its fold.

Taiwan's Banking Sector Goes International

A "hird stage" of financial reform is quietly revolutionizing Taiwan’s financial sector. Local Taiwanese conglomerates-widely reviled during "econd stage" financial reforms-are being edged out by a wave of powerful, deep-pocketed foreign giants.

'Express Enterprises'

Fast, Flexible and Making a Fortune

Able to fill an array of orders with efficiency, precision and a low overhead, Taiwan’s "express enterprises" are the new darlings of the stock market and, increasingly, the secret inside the world’s latest lightweight gadgets.

Has the Stock Market Kidnapped Its Corporations?

Capital decreases, dividend distribution, spin-offs, mergers and acquisitions... listed companies are using a huge bag of new tricks in the capital market. But why?

Personal Finance

Four Investment Wizards Share Their Tips

As we begin a new year on the Chinese Lunar calendar, four of Taiwan’s most successful personal finance experts share their best investment secrets.

United Microelectronics Corporation

A Capital Decrease? Good Defense, Good Offence

A capital decrease at UMC and an increase at UMC-invested HeJian Technology in China... Is UMC pulling out of Taiwan? Or does it have something else up its sleeve?

The Rebar Scandal

Financial Oversight: Swords against Guns

When Rebar Group CEO Wang You-theng embezzled billions from his own conglomerate, sparking a bank run, the response of government supervisors was tardy and passive. What lies at the root of the problem?

The Rebar Scandal

Financial Supervision: Syndromes and Solutions

Recriminations have abounded since financial regulators recently took control of three dysfunctional Taiwanese banks. But what are the system’s underlying ills? And what are the cures?

TCB Chairperson Removed

When Professionalism Hampers Party Politics?

The removal of Sean Chen as chairperson of Taiwan Cooperative Bank may well be a glimpse at a much bigger trend. With no room for professionalism, just what type of future is there for Taiwan’s financial reforms?

Yannick Company

Empire-building Is No Piece of Cake

From a humble cake shop in a small coastal town, Yannick has blossomed into a patisserie chain with millions in annual sales. What challenges did it face on the way?

85。C Cafe Challenges Starbucks

Ordinary Joe Versus the Yuppie

With a 30 percent market share of the Taiwanese coffeehouse/bakery industry, three-year-old 85C is putting the squeeze on Starbucks. What winning elements hide behind its shiny corner-windows?