Founded in May 2018, the Taiwan Asia Exchange Foundation (TAEF) is the first think tank in Taiwan to focus on exchange and collaboration with South and Southeast Asian countries and aims at promoting the comprehensiveness and diversification of the New Southbound Policy.
In 2019, the TAEF implemented the Survey Project on the Image of Taiwan and Taiwanese Businesses in Vietnam, which was the first in Taiwan to survey the overall image of Taiwan and Taiwanese Businesses abroad. The survey was well-received by government units, business communities, and scholars. Relevant individuals expressed that the survey will assist the Taiwanese government and business communities to more accurately draft international marketing strategies, and hope the scope of similar programs can be extended to include even more countries targeted by the New Southbound Policy.
The TAEF chose Indonesia to be the subject of this year’s image survey project based on a comprehensive consideration of the market development potential, Taiwanese business investments, and the future expansion and advancement of the New Southbound Policy. Indonesia is the fourth largest country in terms of population, and its economy has grown steadily at an annual rate of 5% or more in recent years. Taiwan is Indonesia’s 15th largest source of foreign investment and one of Indonesia’s top eleven trading partners. In October 2019, Indonesian President Joko Widodo began his second term. In order to maintain the country’s economic growth and accelerate measures such as economic transformation and expand infrastructure development, various economic reform policies aimed at developing an investment-friendly environment have been actively promoted in recent years. This constitutes Indonesia an excellent partner with immense potential for Taiwan in terms of future investment and development.
Aside from continuing to use objective survey methods to understand the opinions of the Indonesian business communities on the image of Taiwan and Taiwanese businesses, the Survey Project on the Image of Taiwan and Taiwanese Businesses in Indonesia builds on the experiences of the previous year to revise item response choices, including focus group interviews, and incorporate topics related to COVID-19 in order to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the pulse and trends of Indonesia’s local economy and society.
The survey involving 122 corporate managerial personnel from Indonesian companies that have business relationships with Taiwanese businesses shows that the respondents have a positive image of Taiwan. Over 80% of the respondents answered that their image of Taiwan included advanced technologies, liberal, and advanced medical care, and public health. Regarding their views on Taiwanese businesses, their image included innovativeness, internationalization, and emphasis on trustworthiness. Over 60% of the respondents also approved of the long-term contributions of Taiwanese businesses in creating job opportunities and introducing innovative technologies. This year due to the influence of COVID-19 on Indonesia and Taiwan’s commendable preventive measures against the pandemic, more than 50% of the respondents expressed they were now more willing to collaborate with Taiwanese businesses and anticipate further cooperation between Taiwan and Indonesia in the fields of medical care and biotechnology, healthcare, and public health policies, and post-pandemic tourism.
However, the participant responses also revealed that the performance of Taiwanese businesses in participation in social welfare events, ensuring equal promotion opportunities, and implementing environmental protection policies did not receive the same level of approval as observed for economic and technological performances. Among the six Indonesian experts and academics interviewed in this survey, some of them indicated that the Indonesian society is not familiar with relevant Taiwanese affairs, and Taiwan does not often emerge in the internet discussion of popular topics in Indonesia. These are areas where Taiwanese businesses can strive to promote their image and expend further effort.
I would like to give special thanks to the principal investigator of this project and Non-Resident Senior Research Fellow of the TAEF, Ms. Kristy Tsun-Tzu Hsu, for her tireless planning and execution of this project, and also the forerunners of the Taiwanese businesses for their valuable opinions and suggestions. With the positive feedback and support from the various communities, the TAEF will continue our endeavor to understand how countries targeted by the New Southbound Policy understand and perceive Taiwan. In the future, with the accumulation of research data and international comparative research, we will outline the comprehensive image of Taiwan and Taiwanese businesses as perceived by New Southbound Policy-target countries, and be informed of the key areas for transformation and improvement.
Dr. Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao
Chairman of Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation
Read the full report