Taiwan is all set to become a partner of Punjab on the state's journey to industrial development and is looking to double its investment in India in the next three years.
On the concluding day of the two-day Progressive Punjab Investors Summit, the session on 'Focus Taiwan: Business Opportunities with Taiwan' was the centre of attraction, with Taiwanese entrepreneurs eyeing their investment opportunities in areas of food processing, agro sector, information technology (IT), electronics, infrastructure, light engineering and textiles.
The vice-chairman of CTCI Corporation, Taiwan, John H Lin, led the 17-member delegation from his country. Others included managing director, AFTA Technology Company Limited, Susan Wang; CEO, Green Energy Technology, Hur-Lon Lin; and chairman, TEEMA, Mark Lee, explored various opportunities during a session moderated by Punjab financial commissioner, development, Suresh Kumar.
Lin said Punjab's hospitality made him feel at home. He said the people of Punjab looked proactive, hardworking and efficient, quite similar to the Taiwanese culture.
About CTCI, he said its 50% business was outside Taiwan, with 75,00 employees and a revenue of $ 2 billion. He said his company dealt in building infrastructure for power, water, transportation, oil and petrochemicals. Lin said Taiwan could provide investment in all sectors.
He said he was impressed by Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal's statement that the memorandum of understanding (MoU) should be changed to memorandum of commitment (MoC), but for that he needed to have a one-to-one meeting with the Punjab government.
Susan Wang said there was a huge scope for the plastic industry in Punjab. She said Punjab should learn from Taiwan how good quality, good servicing and good value of investment could be achieved with a smile. "First smile to do business with Taiwan, then promise," she quipped.
Wang said Africa could be a good potential market for India. She said the 960 million population of Africa had a huge market potential for Punjab. She suggested that Punjab and Taiwan should collaborate to tap the African market.
Chief executive officer, Green Energy Technology, Hur-Lon Lin said future potential lay in how to save energy through lighting and airconditioning systems. He said his company would like to collaborate with Punjab to improve irrigation.
Ru Cho, who came with the Taiwanese delegation, disclosed that during the past 20 years, Taiwan had been helping China in every sphere. "If Taiwan can help China, it can definitely help Punjab. The Taiwanese even compete with markets such as Hong Kong and Beijing. There is a huge potential for Punjab to achieve the same with Taiwan's assistance," Cho added.
"Punjab can also consider using Taiwan to enter global markets such as China and Australia," Cho said.
'Punjab should invest in Taiwan'
CL Lee, vice-chairman, Shinkong Synthetic Fibres, expressed the desire that Punjab should make investments in Taiwan in view of the latter's superior technology. He also allayed concerns about the aging manpower in Taiwan. Punjab's youth are still young and vibrant and they can work in close partnership with Taiwanese industrial houses, he said.
He stated that labour-intensive industries depended upon the age group. Taiwan is currently facing problems with the average age of labour. Diversification from labour-intensive to technology-intensive industries will counter this challenge, Lee added.
Punjab financial commissioner, development, Suresh Kumar revealed that both Punjab and Taiwan were planning to set up a university to train skilled engineers for specific trades. "We would also have exchange programmes of students from Punjab and Taiwan for skill development," he added.
Dhindsa sees similarities
Punjab finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa said there were a lot of similarities between Taiwan and Punjab. "Strong entrepreneurial spirit is present in both communities. Both have left an indelible mark on the global business. The Punjab government pledges a lot of support to make this happen. Taiwan can help Punjab's economy and the collaboration would be taken to its logical end," said Dhindsa.
John H Lin said there were four universities in Delhi where the Chinese had started classes supported by Taiwan. Learning Chinese will give business advantage to Punjabis in the world. Lin said Taiwan would provide such support if Punjab required it.