Staff Reporter

It is a viable destination for Indian exports

KOCHI: Taiwan, slightly smaller than Kerala in geographical area with 11 times its GDP and a population of 23 million, is bullish on opportunities here as it attempts to substantially raise its current investments in India.

Wen-Chyi Ong, Ambassador of Taiwan, on his first visit to Kerala here on Wednesday, identified areas such as seafood and information technology for what he called a “win-win” partnership between the two countries.

At a press conference, he said joint ventures that brought together the hardware expertise of Taiwan and the software expertise here and the tourism and services sectors had great prospects.

Naturally, India had been looking West. But looking East would equally be profitable, he said pointing out that Taiwan had realised the immense potential for a prosperous partnership.

He said Taiwanese investments in India, mostly confined to Tamil Nadu, was worth about $1 billion. More than the volume of money, it were the jobs — 16,000 people, most of them women from rural areas — created by the Taiwanese companies that was significant, said the Ambassador, who will visit InfoPark and a major seafood export business here on Thursday.

He said the purpose of his visit, facilitated by Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC), was to identify investment priorities.

Taiwan, about six hours from India by air, is a viable destination for Indian exports, he said. India exports substantial quantities of seafood to Japan and there is no reason why a similar business relation with Taiwan cannot bloom.

He invited students from India to Taiwan to acquire world-class education in its schools offering engineering and business studies. The cost of education would be about $10,000 a year, including living expenses in Taiwan, whereas education in the U.S. would cost about $40,000. The costs had been kept down because education was not a business for Taiwan.

He pointed to the large number of English language teachers needed in Taiwan, especially in its suburbs.

Another area where Mr. Wen-Chyi hopes to see substantial improvement in the near future is the flow of Indian tourists to Taiwan.