Business Confidence Survey Results 2016

According to the results of a survey conducted by the German Trade Office Taipei (GTO) among 300 German companies in Taiwan from June 14th to July 20th, 2016, the majority of German companies expect the Taiwanese economy to remain unchanged while 14% believe it will be improving. The number was even more positive in regard to their own industry with 25% expecting their industry to improve in 2016. However, around one third of the companies also stated that both the Taiwanese economy as well as their own industry were worsening.

Business expectations and market evaluation

With 43% of companies exceeding or achieving their business targets for 2015 and 38% expecting to do the same this year, the overall view of German businesses towards Taiwan remains stable and positive. A third of the respondents expect their turnover to increase, while 24% expect profit to increase. Employment and investment are mostly expected to remain the same (51% and 61% respectively).

For 15% of respondents, Taiwan is one of their mother company’s top three markets in terms of turnover and profit. Half of the participants view Taiwan as their main market for revenue generation, an increase by almost 7 percentage points. This also fits with the fact that only 21% of German companies in Taiwan stated Europe or China respectively as their most important market in terms of revenue. Companies are focusing less on foreign markets from their Taiwan operation but more on the Taiwanese market itself. While German companies in Taiwan regard Taiwanese companies as top competitors in Taiwan, 61% of participants thought that competition from China was increasing.

Business Friendliness and Investment Climate

There is a high level of satisfaction when it comes to evaluating the business friendliness in Taiwan. Nearly two thirds consider local authorities as either very friendly or friendly towards their business.

The economic situation is perceived as having the most positive effect on the investment climate (28%), closely followed by the market conditions (27%). 15% of respondents plan investments in new locations in Taiwan within the next two years, while 19% are considering investments. Taipei (40%), Kaohsiung (20%) and Taichung (16%) are considered the most attractive locations for new investments. Most companies considered investments into new locations to follow key customers (63%) or in relation to obtaining better qualified staff (40%).

Business Challenges in Taiwan

Nevertheless, finding qualified staff remains the top business challenge for the third year in a row, being a challenge for 56% of the companies, but compared to last year it showed improvement. A missing industrial strategy and currency risks were also seen as challenges.

While 74% struggle to fill senior positions requiring more than 8 years of experience, only 19% report difficulties for filling entry level positions. Online job portals, referrals as well as HR service providers including headhunters are the most common recruitment channels. Job fairs and social media networks such as LinkedIn are used by around half of the participating companies.

Major Recommendations

To the Taiwanese government: German companies in Taiwan stress the importance of making the industrial strategy more visible and suggest to invite business representatives to the industrial strategy finding process. Furthermore, they also suggest to facilitate trading procedures by harmonizing standards and to strengthen the business environment to enhance internationalization (e.g. provide an English speaking business environment).

To the German government: German companies in Taiwan underline the importance of harmonization of standards through bilateral agreements. They also suggest to strengthen the governmental cooperation in different energy related fields as well as enhancing cooperation in the field of Industry 4.0.

To both governments: German companies in Taiwan suggest a stronger cooperation in the field of research and education as well the field of energy related areas.

German-Taiwanese Business Relations

According to the Federal Statistical Office in Germany, the trade volume between Germany and Taiwan amounted up to a record high of 15.6 bn. EUR in 2015. With exports to Taiwan of more than 7.4 bn. EUR, this represents a rise of almost 8% in 2015, making Taiwan Germany's fifth largest trade partner in Asia. Germany is Taiwan’s most important trade partner in Europe. In 2015, Taiwanese exports to Germany rose by 15% and reached 8,2 bn. EUR.

Today, hundreds of German companies have succeeded in Taiwan and many Taiwanese companies have successfully invested in Germany. A lot has been achieved and there is a very high potential of cooperation for the future.

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For any questions regarding the Business Confidence Survey, please contact Ms. Leonie Yang, yang.leonie(at), Tel.: 02-8758-5805.