Author: Pi-fen Lin Photographer: Chih-chieh Hu
The City Forum of “Shining Taichung”, a monthly periodical published by the Taichung City Government, invited industrial, official and academic representatives on May 17 to attend a forum to discuss the topic “Rising Commercial Opportunities in Taichung”. The industrial and academic attendees were extremely positive towards Taichung’s business outlook. In addition, the Central Taiwan Science Park, Mt. Da-Du Technology Corridor and the city government’s pursuit of several public infrastructure projects will contribute immensely to Taichung’s business prospects. The attendees expressed their high recognition for Taichung City’s effort in driving economic growth and also explained that being a core city in Central Taiwan, it shall undertake early planning and improve the amenities and regional transport network to respond to the massive flow of people migrating to the city in the future.
Jia-Chi Hsiao: Businesses in Taichung City are growing. The various statistics indicate a positive business outlook for the city. Several industrial and science parks under development will inevitably bring unlimited commercial opportunities to Taichung City.
The Deputy Mayor stated that Mayor Hu’s political goal is to cultivate Taichung to become a city of “Culture, Prosperity and International Attraction”. The aim of promoting the city’s culture and international attraction is essentially to enable the locals to make money, as the economy is central to all things and nothing can be done without it. The Deputy Mayor indicated that close to 20,000 new businesses were registered during the period from 2001 to 2005. Hi-tech firms moving to the Central Taiwan Science Park brought to the city 760 billion worth of business. Private investors purchased urban lands (80) to build the TESCO shopping center. The city government launched several public infrastructure projects and tax revenue pocketed by the city government grew by almost 10%. All the above facts indicated that commercial opportunities in Taichung are on the rise and that the business outlook is extremely positive! The Deputy Mayor also pointed out that the development plans and projects currently underway including the Central Taiwan Science Park, Wen-Shan Industrial Park, Taichung City Refined Mechanics Industrial Park and Huan Long Technological and Industrial Park will significantly influence the city’s industrial developments and bring unlimited business opportunities.
De-tao Liao: The agricultural, industrial and business sectors in Taichung City observed exceptional performance.
Mr. De-tao Liao, Director of the Economic Affairs Bureau indicated that the city’s economy comprises the agricultural, industrial and business sectors. With respect to the agriculture sector, there are currently 16,471 members in the Farmers’ Association. The total area of cultivated land is approximately 1,840 hectares, producing 0.8 billion worth of agricultural products per annum. The industry is under transformation towards fine, leisure and biotechnological agriculture. It is an essential part of Taichung’s economic network. In relation to the industrial sector, the Taichung Industrial Park occupies an area of 581 hectares and accommodates close to 890 firms. The Taichung City Refined Mechanics Industrial Park occupies an area of 125 hectares and houses around 101 firms. Privately developed Huan Long Technological and Industrial Park has an area of 38 hectares and around 34 firms. The Central Taiwan Science Park has an area of 483 hectares and around 66 firms. The above science and industrial parks are jointly referred to as the “Mt. Da-Du Technology Corridor”, of which the total land area amounts to 1,423 hectares, and is capable of accommodating 1,300 firms. A massive flow of people migrating from other cities is anticipated, bringing to the city unlimited business opportunities in real estate and various amenities. The industrial sector is indeed central to the city’s economy. Business wise, up to April 2005, there were 76,162 profit-making businesses registered in Taichung City, an increase of 16,822 businesses compared to 59,340 in December 2001. These statistics indicate that business opportunities are growing continually. Department stores and supermarket retail stores had the most outstanding performance with an annual sales turnover estimated at 140 billion while stall keepers had an estimated sales turnover of close to 30 billion. With the contribution of other businesses, the sector’s annual turnover exceeded 200 billion.
San-Min Chang: Public infrastructure promotes commercial opportunities. The city government ought to enhance basic infrastructure and improve competitiveness.
Mr. Chang expressed his view that in the past, it was difficult to sell vacant factory sites left behind by manufacturers who relocated to Mainland China. However, thanks to the development of the Central Taiwan Science Park and the government’s efforts in building public infrastructure, the city is injected with potential commercial opportunities. The supply of vacant factory sites is now scarce, indicating that Taichung’s economy is on the rise. Mr. Chang stated that Taichung is a consumption-based city and the service industry is central to its economy. The availability of customer parking is of crucial importance to any service provider. He is of the opinion that the city government shall construct more parking lots as well as provide incentives for private investors to build parking stations to facilitate the thriving development of the service industry. In relation to public infrastructure, from the perspective of the industrial sector, Mr. Chang suggested that the city government ought to ensure proper supervision and prompt payment to safeguard the interests of smaller contractors. The government shall also introduce measures to avoid tender binding to improve its integrity of efficiency, making public infrastructure projects open, fair, and transparent. In addition, to attract people from other cities to consume and move to Taichung City, the city government shall enhance the basic infrastructure and improve its competitiveness and this extends to traffic and public order.
Yi-Ping Chung: Enhance positive promotion. Unite the industries and introduce them to to the business sector and allow the Mt. Da-Du Technology Corridor to take shape and develop.
Professor Chung was of the opinion that Taichung city has accumulated a considerable foundation in globalization and refinement. The most important issue for the city at present is to find ways of connecting to the world. She suggested that the city government systematically integrate open spaces and globalize and refine the public parks as well as enhance the various amenities. Professor Chung also pointed out that finding ways of marketing Taichung City is another important task to facilitate economic development. She gave the example of the marketing event “Migrating to Taichung”, which received overwhelming feedback from other cities and counties as being very effective in marketing the city. She revealed that some hi-tech firms based in the Hsinchu Science Park have told her that they have high regards for Tacihung City’s living conditions, amenities, and consumption environment and is the first city they would consider to make future investments in. Therefore, the city government shall take advantage of this and continue to market Taichung City and enhance positive promotion. At last, Professor Chung expressed her high recognition for the city government’s performance in inducing the city’s economy achievements through the development of the Central Taiwan Science Park and the building of the Mt. Da-Du Technology Corridor. She also suggested the government unite external and park-based businesses to form a supply chain, which in turn, will enable the Mt. Da-Du Technology Corridor to take shape and develop.
Wen-Jen Shan: Make urban planning on a wider spectrum and lay out a bigger picture for Taichung City to create the city’s commercial opportunities.
Mr. Shan was of the opinion that although Taichung City is destined to become a city of “Culture, Prosperity and International Attraction”, the scope of regional planning is nevertheless too narrow. This has impeded regional developments. He suggested that the city government should undertake urban planning from the prospective of the entire “Central Taiwan” region and integrate the tourism resources of the neighboring cities and counties. The ultimate goal is to induce overall commercial opportunities as well as take into account the massive inflow of migrants from other cities in 50 years time (the population may exceed 2 million by then) by improving the existing amenities, environment and regional traffic and transport solutions. Further, analysis of related industries and the accompanying measures are also very important in promoting commercial opportunities. Early planning is of paramount importance and the city government shall strive to make Taichung City become the urban center of Central Taiwan. Mr. Shan also pointed out that in order for a city to succeed, there must be a marketing point. That is, there must be a world-class building/complex to attract overseas tourists. Transforming Taichung into a tourist attraction will immensely benefit its business developments.
Ban-Chen Wang: Talents cultivation is key to creating commercial opportunities. To be a leading city in Central Taiwan, public transport improvement is the first step to take.
Professor Wang thinks that Taichung City is full of potential and the Central Taiwan Science Park is what everyone wants. The building industry is optimistic about businesses in Taichung city thanks to the Central Taiwan Science Park. He fully agreed with Mr. Shan’s concept of making urban planning from the prospect of the entire “Central Taiwan” region and suggested that the city government shall head in this direction. In line with this concept, the very first step is to solve the public transportation issues. The city’s legislators shall assist the local government in sourcing funding from the central government for building the public transport network. Professor Wang indicated that thriving local economic developments would help retain businesses or even attract more firms to invest in the city. On the other hand, talent cultivation is the key to facilitating economic developments and creating commercial opportunities. The educational system provides a good starting point. By strategically al lying with educational institutions, our children may be trained to adopt a wider international view at a young age. In relation to industrial competitiveness, Taiwan is no longer a manufacturing heaven as labor is expensive. The city Government shall encourage and assist manufacturers to develop knowledge-based industries, integrating digital contents with virtual realty to improve industrial competitiveness.