Taiwan-India Bilateral Ties Continue to Boost Trade and Business Opportunities

In conversation with Mr Keven Cheng, Deputy Executive Director, Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), as he talks about the three decades bilateral ties between India and Taiwan and role of Taiwan Expo in helping boost business opportunities:

Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) has been present in India for more than 30 years, and it has been organizing Taiwan Expo in India since 2018 in India. How has the journey been so far?

Economic cooperations between Taiwan and India led to the establishment of the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) in India, under the name of Taipei World Trade Centre, with its four branch offices in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and New Delhi, since 1992. In April 2018, we established our fourth office in India, in New Delhi, followed by a Taiwan Expo in May and a Bilateral Investment Agreement in December. For more than 30 years, our presence in India has been the pioneering step towards building long-standing bilateral ties between India and Taiwan. Over the years, we have scaled up business growth opportunities fuelled by conducive trade policies and agreements to ensure a healthy growth prospect. Bilateral trade between India and Taiwan increased from $2 bn in FY06 to $7 bn in FY19. We are confident that TAITRA will continue to play a key role in strengthening the ties between both countries and help India advancing towards a USD 5 trillion economy.

Can you tell us about Taiwan Plus, an official platform set up by Invest India and Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in India (TECC)?

Taiwan Plus is an official platform set up in partnership with Invest India and Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in India (TECC), under the aegis of Government of India and Taiwan. This is a strategic initiative to facilitate Taiwanese companies in India and will act as a one-stop-shop to promote, facilitate and retain Taiwanese investments in India.

Key Functions broadly include entire spectrum of investment promotion –

  • Research, outreach, promotion, facilitation and aftercare.
  • Initiating, attracting, facilitating, fast-tracking and handholding Taiwanese investments across sectors.
  • Providing information on investment opportunities across sectors, in specific projects.
  • Extending holistic support to small and medium enterprises and entrepreneurs from Taiwan with an interest in investing in India

Why do you think there is a natural synergy between Taiwan and India which goes beyond business?

In recent years, the ties between India and Taiwan have gained unprecedented momentum, owing primarily to increased support for Taiwan among Indian civil society organisations. As investments and business grow, the countries also have similarities and numerous untapped opportunities for cooperation in tourism and education. There are close to 3,000 Indian students pursuing higher education in Taiwan and numerous domestic tourists visiting both countries as a preferred holiday destination. With shared democratic values and cultural proximity aided by conducive policies, ties between India and Taiwan are set to grow stronger in the years to come.

What can we expect at the Taiwan Expo this year?

This year, the much-awaited 7th edition of the Taiwan Expo’ 24 is scheduled from July 8 – 10, 2024 at the Pragati Maidan (Hall no.2). This year the Expo will have 12 pavilions on display across key categories like Electronics Manufacturing, Medical and Biotechnology, Smart lifestyle, Smart Manufacturing, Smart Mobility, Taiwan Product Centre, Tourism, Sustainable and Innovation Textile, offering exhibitors and visitors, a closer look and deeper experiential interaction with the product portfolio. Some of the products that are being showcased at the Expo include, AI Gaming Laptop, EV charger solution, aesthetic medicine solution, Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and eHealth, Industrial SSD solution, Gaming chair/ Ergonomic Standing Desk, Health Care and Medical Products, Digital Key Box, Aluminum Roller Door, Automatic Heating/Cooling Compression Molding Machine, Computer Memory & Storage, to name a few. The Taiwan Expo aims to further consolidate and grow the business opportunities by showcasing the latest products and solutions curated based on the most recent government policies, local market demands and consumption trends.

How often have you visited India? Please tell us what you like about India?

I see India as my second home and love to come here as often as possible. The people, culture, food and indigenous energetic vibe of the country really fascinates me. The people here are enterprising and their eagerness towards adoption of technology to drive innovation really entices me.

Today, startup ecosystem is booming; so, what is your advice to younger generation getting into business?

The startup ecosystem is indeed booming, presenting immense opportunities for the younger generation to innovate and create impactful businesses, but it is important to spend time to find what you are passionate about and validate your idea. Once you have an idea, deep dive into research and focus on learning and upskilling while building a strong team. Investments will come by but the key is to be financially prudent. Focus on customer experience, quality and service and use technology to streamline operations, enhance productivity and improve customer engagement. Finally, do not underestimate the power of networking and having a healthy work-life balance.

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