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Promotion Of Property Development Opportunities In Taiwan

Jul 15, 2008
Taiwan's real estate market has been growing steadily more buoyant since the end of 2007. There has been steady appreciation in commercial properties' capital values, and transaction volumes have also been steadily rising. The new KMT-backed government is keen to create closer ties with mainland China to boost the island's economy, and also to promote property development in the region in general.

Property development in Taiwan has exploded in the last six years, after relaxing of rules that prevented foreign investment in the country. Taiwan's new president, Ma Ying-jeou, also recently invited a group of Chinese real estate tycoons and self-made billionaires to the country to look at investing in the region. The president aims, through these new and closer ties with mainland China, to increase annual tourist flows to Taiwan from the current level of 80,000 to at least one million per year. This will be achieved by previously prohibited flights directly across the Taiwan straight. These goals have also been endorsed by China's current president, Hu Jintao.

The promotion of property development in Taiwan has been summarized in a plan which articulates ten new major construction projects, worth an approximate 500 billion to the local economy over a period of five years. This plan was put forward in 2003, but only approved by the government in 2005. Various construction projects will be completed within a very short period of time, aiming to boost Taiwan's international profile, and having corollary effects of increasing leisure and tourism investments in Taiwan, boosting the Taiwanese property market, and increasing property development in Taiwan. The title 'New Ten' differentiates them from the Ten Major Projects put forward by a former Taiwanese president in the 1970s.

The New Ten Major Projects include:
1. Aim for the top university plan
One of the 15 graduate schools in Taiwan aims to be ranked number one in Asia within 5 years, and Taiwan wants to have at least one university ranked within the world's top 100 colleges within 10 years.
2. International Arts and Popular Music Centers
A new popular music center will be built in Northern Taiwan, an opera house in Central Taiwan, and a cultural center will be built in Southern Taiwan as a branch of the National Palace Museum
3. M-Taiwan Plan
This refers to a plan for a world-class internet service, as infrastructure for Taiwan's communication industry which is worth a trillion dollars to the local economy.
4. Taiwan Expos
Various expos are planned which aim to promote tourism, culture and creativity. There should be related property development opportunities as tourism increases and commercial property needs expand.
5. Redevelopment of Taiwan Railway Administration as Rapid Transit System
The rail system is undergoing a structural reorganization and infrastructure upgrade in order to boost urban renewal.
6. Freeway Construction
Taiwan has some vibrant tourist areas with great potential for cultural and eco-tourism, such as Taitung, Nantou, Yilan and Hualien. However, greater road access is needed to make them viable. The highway network systems will be connected also, under this plan.
7. Kaohsiung Harbor Intercontinental Container Port Center
This project will focus on upgrading port facilities at the existing Kaohsiung port, as well as constructing a new port with a 15,000 TEU container ship capacity.
8. Northern, Central, and Southern Metros
Rapid transit will be needed in Taiwan to underpin growth and development, and especially leisure and tourism investments.
9. Sewerage
Waste management will receive an overhaul under this project, improving water quality and restoring oceans and rivers to a cleaner condition.
10. Desalinization Plants and Lowland Reservoirs
These projects will address water shortage issues, and also create artificial lakes and scenic areas as corollary benefits for leisure and tourism investments.

These projects will underpin an enormous growth in property development opportunities in Taiwan, and create a very favorable environment for foreign investment.
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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