Taiwanese capital going begging: business council

New Zealand is missing out on Taiwanese investment capital because of a lack of promotional effort by the New Zealand government, says Compton Tothill, chairman of the New Zealand Taiwan Business Council (NZTBC). "There are 107 investment capital companies in Taiwan looking for overseas technology companies to invest in," he says, "but the money is going to Australia and the US instead of New Zealand."

New Zealand is missing out on Taiwanese investment capital because of a lack of promotional effort by the New Zealand government, says Compton Tothill, chairman of the New Zealand Taiwan Business Council (NZTBC). “There are 107 investment capital companies in Taiwan looking for overseas technology companies to invest in,” he says, “but the money is going to Australia and the US instead of New Zealand.”

Tothill spoke at a recent joint conference of the NZTBC and the Republic of China-New Zealand Business Council in early October and pressed for more government involvement.

Taiwanese investment companies work under strict guidelines and can only invest in certain industries overseas. Technology investment is popular and investors could contribute a great deal to New Zealand, says Compton. “But while there’s been a small effort to attract capital over the past years, it’s mainly been in the form of Taiwanese migrants putting money into their own businesses rather than the direct foreign investment that we need.”

Minister of International Trade Lock-wood Smith visited Taiwan earlier this year, “but that was the first time in three years”, says Tothill, “and it’s just not enough to raise New Zealand’s profile as a good place to invest.”

It’s not only a government problem: New Zealand technology companies tend to let themselves down when approached by Taiwanese companies, he says, by not offering credible investment proposals. “Often people have very good business ideas but they just don’t package them well and so they lose out. It’s important that individual companies, as well as New Zealand as a whole, look at how they promote themselves.”

Trade New Zealand and the NZTBC are helping to arrange a Taiwanese investment delegation, led by the Acer group, due to arrive in New Zealand in late October and a planned February visit by the Taiwan Venture Capital Association.

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