Taiwan as an alternative
Two technology firms transfer logistics offices out of Hong Kong. It is currently difficult for Hong Kong to maintain its global appeal, as was underlined recently by the deliberations of two chip developers to move their logistics centres to Taiwan – even though a military threat hangs over the island republic.
Shortly before the year of the rabbit was due to start on 22 January 2023, word leaked out that two international technology companies are likely to leave Hong Kong. Up to now they ran most of their logistics from there, but now they want to make the leap to Taiwan.
In November Taiwan’s minister for economic affairs, Wang Mei-hua, confirmed rumours concerning the US graphics chip developer Nvidia. Later on word leaked out that the processor manufacturer Advanced Micro Devices, from Santa Clara CA, was also planning to move its logistics from the People’s Republic of China’s special administrative region to the island Republic of China – which is still claimed by Beijing. An official announcement is expected after the Chinese New Year on 22 January.
The background to the exodus, which represents a big blow for Hong Kong as an international transhipment hub, includes trade tensions between the USA and China, which have been simmering for years and have further escalated since autumn. These affect the semiconductor industry particularly strongly.
Trade wars; Covid-19
Wang Mei-hua pointed out that her government has been negotiating with Nvidia on tax incentives to facilitate the move since 2021. The company Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing is an important supplier for Nvidia, and the group has many customers amongst local computer manufacturers. The minister expects a new distribution centre in Taiwan to give domestic industry a boost too.
For Wang Mei-hua, Nvidia’s decision also proves that tensions across the Taiwan Strait won’t deter global technology players from investing in Taiwan.
The huge wave of Covid-19 that has swept through China since Wang Mei-hua’s statement is likely to fuel thoughts of emigration. With the Taoyuan free-trade zone around the capital’s airport of the same name, which will be further expanded this year, Taiwan wants to promote its sites as safe havens.