Taiwan hopes a new program will attract $1.34bn R&D investment

Taiwan investment
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TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan hopes a new program will attract T$40 billion ($1.34 billion) of research and development investment by foreign tech companies, creating more than 6,300 jobs a year amid an upheaval in global supply chains, the government said on Thursday.

Taipei will spend more than T$10 billion in subsidies over the next seven years to attract the investment, Lin Chuan-neng, the island’s vice minister of economic affairs, said on Thursday.

“We will target three investment in three areas, which are 5G, artificial intelligence and semiconductors,” Lin told a news conference in Taipei.

“We hope to get them to Taiwan to do research and development,” he added. “We hope to boost related supply chains in Taiwan.”

The export-reliant island is home to tech behemoths like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd, the world’s biggest contract chipmaker and supplier to US tech giants such as Apple Inc.

Lin said the government wants to turn Taiwan into a “global hub for high technology” under the programme, in a bid to “seize the opportunity” amid a global reshuffle of the technology supply chain following US-China trade tensions.

The United States has taken aim at Chinese tech companies, telecoms giant Huawei in particular, as security risks.

Taiwan has close ties with the United States and has welcomed US tech firms like Alphabet Inc’s Google to operate on the island, free of the restrictions they may face in China.

Taiwan’s government is in talks with international companies for future investments, Lin added, declining to give details.

Taiwan, a key part of global technology supply chain, has been offering incentives, including tax breaks, to lure production home from China in a move to reduce economic dependence on its giant neighbour, Taiwan’s top trading partner and a major geopolitical rival.

Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang said it was an “irreversible trend” for companies to speed up divestment in China, which presented a “great opportunity” for the island.

The new program comes amid rising tensions between Taipei and Beijing, which claims the democratic island as its territory to be taken by force if necessary.

Investment returning to Taiwan from China will reach over T$320 billion this year, boosting its economy, the government said.

($1=29.8960 Taiwan dollars)

(Reporting by Yimou Lee; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Gerry Doyle)

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