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Taiwan Wooing Property Investors In A Bid To Cash In On China's Breakneck Economic Growth

Jun 20, 2008
A new government means new enterprises, changes and opportunities in whatever country you happen to reside in. Taiwan recently changed government, and the country's incoming president, Ma Ying-jeou, has seen China's massive economic growth as the forum for his changes and enterprises. He recently invited a group of Chinese investors to the country to look at property development in Taiwan.

Leisure and tourism developments are likely to be the property with the most potential for Taiwan. It is a nearby holiday destination for the 1.3 billion citizens of China -when you consider the huge number of Chinese nationals, the president's aim of increasing tourism from China to one million per year, from its current level of 80,000 per year doesn't seem so unrealistic. Many Chinese are experiencing a newfound mobility and wealth, and Taiwan should become an important place for travel from China.

This also means that Taiwan property developments such a US$1.5 billion leisure complex in Taichung, and a US$300 million yachting theme-park complex in Pingtung should have excellent prospects for success. Taiwan currently has relatively low prices compared to real estate in major cities like Shanghai and Shenzhen, which will also help drive investment dollars to Taiwan.

Jones Lang LaSalle agrees with Taiwan's new president, saying that closer ties between mainland China and Taiwan will see increased demand for shopping malls, offices, and hotels, as well as increased investment generally. Office rental may jump up to 20% this year, and around the same again in 2009, said Kenny Ho from Jones Lang LaSalle. "The growth of Taiwan's commercial property market has been suppressed and undercapitalized because of the past severe restrictions on economic exchanges - with the change in leadership, we foresee opportunities for mainland China investment in Taiwan's property market", Ho added.

These opportunities are backed up by sound incentives - they will not disappear into thin air. Mainland companies that are investing in Taiwan are expected to receive loans from financial institutions for up to 50% of the value, with no capital guarantees necessary. Previously, mainland investors could only stay in Taiwan for 10 days at a time - now they can stay for 90 days. Entertainment facilities have also been opened up as an area for investment from the mainland.

Some of the ways the leadership change has impacted on leisure and tourism developments in the Taiwan property market include more direct flights from mainland China across the Taiwan straight planned, and more normalized trade ties. These direct flights should start from July 4. Taiwan's strategic geographical location for China has no changed, but should prove more important given the recent developments.

These positive changes in Taiwan's property market are not all speculation - there have already been some sound indicators that the future is looking rosy in Taiwan property development. Housing prices are reported to be up 30% since the election. There have also already been wide-ranging policy amendments in Taiwan, as well as related changes in mainland China. These changes are expected to bring back Taiwanese entrepreneurs who have moved to the mainland in recent years, building the country's skill base in investing and property management.

All in all , the country's leadership change is set to be the most important development in property investment in Taiwan in recent memory.
About the Author
Gregory Smyth is an independent author providing assessment and comments on leading International Property Consultants in Asia and Greater China , especially CB Richard Ellis.
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