Taiwan: Asia’s high-tech powerhouse

Posted by on Oct 3, 2014 in Business, Energy sector, Writing

I’ve been writing for RasGas magazine on Taiwan’s economy. It’s everyone’s idea of a success story: one of the four Asia ‘tiger economies’, manufacturing more of the world’s IT products than anyone else – but things are not quite as simple as that.

There’s a complex (and politically tense) relationship with China. Most of Taiwan’s manufacturing is outsourced to China and it’s not particularly profitable. Low margins, low value unbranded goods for other companies – and rising costs, especially labour costs, as China’s workforce raises its game. So they’re switching from mass manufacturing to a knowledge economy and doing it very well. So far, so good, but there are some obstacles along the way. An ageing workforce combined with one of the lowest birthrates in the world is putting enormous pressure on the next generation (among the highest suicide rates worldwide, a grim price for progress that isn’t often revealed). There’s that difficult relationship with China – the political powder-keg and the risk of China’s economic slowdown. Can Taiwan keep powering ahead? To find out more, here’s the full story.

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