US-China sabre rattling could be boon for TN- The New Indian Express

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The war rhetoric by China over United States Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan could be a cause of concern as Tamil Nadu is becoming an alternative destination for investments from Taiwan following Covid-19, according to a top government official. “It is a geopolitical issue and we are concerned. The spillover could be negative or positive. “Taiwanese businesses looking out to Vietnam and Indonesia will now look to India also,” said the official.

Notably, Taiwanese firms have been keen to invest in TN. Ben Wang, director general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Center, said TN is strategically placed, providing access to Australia, Africa, and South and Southeast Asia.

This could be true since TN’s Special Investment Promotion Task Force has been attracting investors from countries planning to relocate manufacturing bases from China. The State’s biggest victory during the pandemic was wooing Taiwanese electronics major Pegatron Corporation, which is one of the largest contract manufacturers of smartphones. Pegatron is the third major contract manufacturer for Apple iPhones to enter India after Foxconn and Wistron. Many electronics supply chains are here. 

Apple’s whole supply chain has come from China into India. Nike’s footwear-manufacturing supply chain, which was for American companies, is now here. We have Feng Tey as well, with leather and footwear. Currently, the State is home to 20 major Taiwanese companies, and investments from Taiwan to Tamil Nadu stand at $1.7 billion.

But Wang says Taiwan wants to look beyond the usual friendly ties with India. Wang, who has been working in Chennai to strengthen ties with India, feels businesses in Taiwan are still not aware of India or the opportunities here. He also urged India to look beyond just having good ties. “There should be more warmth and it should be shown by gestures,” he says.

Sumit Bothra, honorary advisor to Taiwan Consul General and CEO of Inspiredge, said the geo-political situation in the last few years has strengthened India-Taiwan ties. “Such events could impact or delay investments,” he said.

He added that while India has slowly re-established itself as a regional power, Taiwan has emerged as a go-to-place for technology. Given their economic prowess, along with superior technology, they bring investments to the destinations they go to, said Bothra, adding that over the years, Taiwan and India have become natural allies.

Taiwanese businessman Keng Lee, CEO of DoQubiz tech, a cybersecurity firm, said to woo investments from Taiwan, the Indian government should provide subsidies, relax labour laws, and visa rules, as is being done in the UK, US, and Japan. “We are businesses that are not conglomerates but have shaped the fortune of China and even the US. We can help turn India into an economic powerhouse,” said Lee.

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