台灣銀行家雜誌第91期106.07 / Hank Huang
Chart a new course southTaiwan seeks to reboot its geopolitical position
To be sure, the surge in arrivals from Asean is a good thing, and can help to offset plunging Chinese visitor arrivals. But there is still considerable room to improve the nation's tourism offerings. Everything from catering to special dietary needs (such as those of Muslim tourists) to foreign-language ability to cultural tours can be strengthened. Taiwan should develop tailored tourism packages for Southeast Asian visitors so that they can optimize their time here and boost our tourism sector. At the same time, the Taiwan financial sector can take advantage of opportunities in Southeast Asia. This will require looking at Asean from a different perspective. Historically, it has been a place for low-cost manufacturing for Taiwanese firms. However, now as Asean's middle class is burgeoning, there are an increasing number of opportunities for Taiwanese services firms. It is important that Taiwanese companies look at Asean in a new light if they expect to tap the many business opportunities it offers. In order for the New Southbound Policy to be successful, Taiwan must take a people-oriented approach that looks for win-win opportunities; this is not a zero-sum game. Meanwhile, it is important for Taiwan to keep in mind its previous experiences investing overseas. We must deepen our understanding of the policies and economies of Asean nations.There are definitely opportunities for the Taiwanese financial sector in Southeast Asia. Yet because we don't have a comprehensive understanding of the different Asean nations, do not speak their languages for the most part, and are not familiar with their cultures, we face some considerable obstacles. At the same time, we lack an integrated platform for investing overseas, which puts us at a disadvantage compared to Japan and Korea. With this in mind, the Taiwanese financial sector should work together with the government to develop a fundamental strategy for expansion in Southeast Asia. In addition to tourism and finance, Taiwan has several other sectors which have opportunities to develop in Southeast Asia, such as the medical, agricultural, cultural and information/data sectors. If Taiwan can tap these opportunities in Asean, it will both help those countries to develop and potentially overcome its long-running economic difficulties. We hope the government will go beyond sloganeering to focus on specific goals for each stage of development in Asean that can be accomplished step by step. Beginning in the era of travel by large ships, the Taiwanese people have focused on trading with their neighbors. They also have looked to develop the best business opportunities on the island. No one wants fighting to break out, but a diplomatic war has already started across the Taiwan Strait. Under this scenario, it is imperative for Taiwan to strengthen links with other nations. We endured our diplomatic ties with the United States, South Korea and Saudi Arabia all being cut, yet we were able to recover from these setbacks and develop strong non-official ties. We face a new set of challenges now; we must forge ahead bravely for the sake of our nation's future and the memory of our forebears.