The Tamil Nadu government is looking at creating a separate Taiwan Economic Zone near Chennai.

The zone, spread over 500 acres, is planned to attract investments from Taiwanese small and medium enterprises, according to Tamil Nadu industries secretary Shaktikanta Das.

Das said the state government was exploring possibilities of earmarking 500 acres for the proposed zone out of two locations in Tamil Nadu — Tidco’s SEZ in Ennore and SIPCOT’s industrial complex in Cheyyar.

The decision to carve out a separate Taiwanese zone comes on the heels of increased interest among Taiwanese companies to invest in India, particularly Tamil Nadu. Taiwanese entrepreneurs recognise India as a powerful economic opportunity and are keen to explore investment opportunities here.

“While the big Taiwanese companies are encouraged to come on their own, the state government is keen to facilitate investments from SMEs in Taiwan by creating a special zone,” Das said.

The Taiwan Economic Zone is expected to attract manufacturers of electronics and hardware components, light engineering products and footwear components. Investments to the tune of $700 million has so far flowed from Taiwan into India. Gross committed investments in Tamil Nadu are now almost $500 million.

A CII report points out that Taiwanese investments in India have the potential to touch $4 billion by 2010. While the larger Taiwanese companies are beginning to make their presence felt in India, it is the SMEs in Taiwan that needed handholding.

Direct air connectivity between Chennai and Taipei is also being proposed to facilitate trade, Das said.

Taipei World Trade Center Co Ltd executive vice-president Walter Yeh said that earlier, Taiwanese companies used to be more interested in expanding to China, Vietnam and Thailand.

Now, a number of Taiwanese companies are interested in coming to India owing to burgeoning domestic consumption.

Taitra (Taiwan External Trade Development Council) has opened a 2,400-sq ft Taiwan Trade Centre in Chennai to disseminate global trade information to Taiwan’s enterprises. Source:Business Standard