Taiwan Re-elects Tsai Ing-wen


Taiwan’s voters delivered a stinging rebuke of China’s rising authoritarianism on Saturday by re-electing President Tsai Ing-wen, who vowed to preserve the island’s sovereignty in the face of Beijing’s intensifying efforts to bring it under its control.

Ms. Tsai’s victory highlighted how successfully her campaign had tapped into an electorate that is increasingly wary of China’s intentions. It also found momentum from months of protests in Hong Kong against Beijing’s encroachment on the semiautonomous Chinese territory’s freedoms.

For China’s ruling Communist Party, the outcome is a dramatic display of the power of Hong Kong’s antigovernment protest movement to influence attitudes toward the mainland in other regions the party deems critical to its interests.

China’s authoritarian leader, Xi Jinping, has warned Taiwan that unification between the sides was inevitable. His party has sought to court Taiwanese with opportunities to work in the mainland while isolating Ms. Tsai’s administration and said that China would use force, if necessary, to prevent the island from taking steps toward formal independence. – NY Times

A big issue during the campaign was manufacturing firms “repatriating” back to Taiwan from the Mainland, such as  Quanta Computer, the world’s largest original design manufacturer of notebook computers.

Quanta moved production of its computer servers out of China and back to Taiwan at the end of 2018, as a result of  US trade war tariffs which made exporting to America prohibitively expensive.

In 2019, the Taiwanese government introduced a three-year action plan to bring Taiwanese firms back home.  As part of the plan, a new body, InvesTaiwan, was established under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) to help the repatriating firms secure land, water, electricity, labor, and financing, including tax breaks.

Because of a relatively shortage of factory workers, Taiwan manufacturing must increasingly rely on automation.

“It is impossible for labour intensive manufacturers to exist in Taiwan as we have such a small population,”  — Scott Huang, the chief operating officer at Techman Robot 

At a  Foxconn factory in China, workers earn a base salary of about 2,000 yuan (US$287) a month, which is supplemented with long hours of overtime.   In Vietnam some firms that have recently fled China offer staff in Vietnam around 8 million Vietnamese dong (US$340) per month in 2018.  Taiwanese workers earn about NT$30,000 (US$998) per month without working overtime.

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