Transforming Taiwan’s Tourism Industry

In a quickly shifting world, travel and tourism seem to take many new shapes. Collaboration and partnership between various travel industry stakeholders in Taiwan must, once again, be innovatively enhanced and explored.

On June 23, AmCham Taipei’s Travel & Tourism Committee invited renowned guest lecturer and hotelier Dr. Bert van Walbeek to give a luncheon presentation entitled “Transforming Taiwan’s Tourism Industry” hosted at the Grand Hyatt Taipei. He touched upon Taiwan’s major tourism challenges before asking the audience to collectively generate ideas for advancing the industry.

Dr. Walbeek’s “3 Course” presentation was uniquely divided into three sections corresponding with the meal, and it included the following topics:

Chicken Soup for the Soul

  • Travel & Tourism Development in a Changing World
  • Shock Waves

Where’s the Beef?

  • Balance Between Security and Travel Facilitation
  • Protecting People and Places
  • The Future of Work

Life is Short, Let’s Eat Dessert First!

  • Freedom to Travel
  • Partnerships
  • Is Taiwan Still The Heart of Asia?

How can we enhance the positives of Taiwan’s tourism opportunities and consequently eliminate some of the negatives? What is going to happen in the future of the workforce? Is our vision clear and our values ready?

Travel & Tourism Co-Chair Achim V. Hake, General Manager, The Sherwood Taipei with speaker Bert van Walbeek
Managing Director, The Winning Edge

Throughout his presentation, Dr. Walbeek asked these questions while emphasizing various channels of important reform to strengthen the tourism industry. He advised that more leadership, responsibility, and transparency are needed among the country’s tourism sector in order to earn the trust of the travel industry around the world. Much of his talk was dedicated to the idea of resilience through “shock waves” that will inevitably present themselves as Taiwan looks into the future. “Every crisis has an opportunity,” he noted, “but if you only look at the problem, a crisis will never become an opportunity.”

Dr. Walbeek mentioned the rise of smart tourism – in modern times, one can receive all the information about a given tourist attraction at the click of a button. Such swift trends in technological transformation beg questions of how people will continue to tangibly connect in the coming years and how the tourism industry will change. He further urged the significance of tourism stakeholders collaborating rather than competing for control of incentive travel or prominence in the industry.

While acknowledging matters of concern, Dr. Walbeek is regardless expectant of growth in Taiwan’s tourism sector over the next few decades, and is optimistic about reform in the current system. He concluded by reminding the audience that “we are all in the people business…people who need people are the luckiest people in the world.”

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Joint Committee Luncheon: The Future of Financial Progress and FSC Policy

Addressing the current state of the financial industry and the policy path forward, Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) vice chairman Cheng-Mount Cheng told a recent AmCham Taipei luncheon audience that the FSC over the past year has taken positive steps to build a better business environment and stimulate financial product innovation in Taiwan.

The presentation, entitled “The Overview of Financial Industry Development and The FSC’s Main Policy,” was delivered at the Regent Taipei on June 16 at a meeting co-sponsored by the Chamber’s Asset Management, Banking, Capital Markets, and Insurance Committees.

Speaker Cheng, Cheng-Mount 鄭貞茂, Vice Chairman at Financial Supervisory Commission 金融監督管理委員會副主委, Andrea Wu, AmCham President, and AmCham Taipei Committee Co-Chairs

Cheng devoted much of his talk to the FSC’s proposed programs for financial technology (“fintech”) innovation. He said that responding to concerns voiced by several fintech companies, the FSC has prioritized implementation of a “regulatory sandbox” – an encouraging space for technological innovation, free of most existing regulatory constraints. Such a mechanism would enable both financial institutions and fintech developers to test new products and services for a trial period of up to 18 months.

Cheng affirmed that fintech is a top priority for the FSC, but that the Legislative Yuan needs to pass authorizing legislation before the regulatory sandbox mechanisms can go into effect.

The Vice Chairman identified the FSC’s main policies as:

  • Promote fintech
  • Develop green finance
  • Support the New Southbound Policy
  • Promote measures for the aged society
  • Expand the scale of the capital market
  • Promote financial inclusion measures
  • Strengthen prevention of money laundering
  • Protect consumers’ rights and interests

Cheng said that these policy priorities are opportunities to bring Taiwan’s financial industry in line with international standards, and even enable Taiwan to become a global leader of financial innovation. “I believe with tech advancing very fast every day, we will see results,” he observed.

While optimistic about the financial industry’s future, Cheng is nonetheless very aware of the FSC’s jurisdictional limitations in shaping that vision. “Many people know that the FSC is in charge of financial markets, but they don’t understand that our capability is quite limited,” he noted.

In a comment for the AmCham Taipei blog, Christine Jih, co-chair of the Asset Management Committee and Chairman & CEO of BNP Paribas Investment Partners Taiwan, said: “Increasing interdepartmental coordination is key to streamlining regulation and strengthening Taiwan’s financial industry. The Vice Chair has been very modest but we all know he has done a lot for the industry. Mr. Cheng is very open-minded and keen to improve this system. This is an industry facing new challenges and new issues every day, and government departments need to talk to each other to keep up with these advancements.”

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Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation.

AmCham Tax Committee Luncheon: 「納稅者權利保護法」下的稅務管理新契機

AmCham Taipei Tax Committee held a luncheon on June 15 at AmCham Taipei Lincoln Room, featuring Mr. Kevin Chen 陳志愷會計師, Deputy Head of Tax and a Partner in KPMG Taiwan, Member of Taiwan CPA Association of R.O.C. Tax Regulations Committee, as the speaker.

「納稅者權利保護法」下的稅務管理新契機 – this event was conducted in Mandarin. 本次活動將以中文進行。

近年來,外商在臺經營過程中,遭遇不少稅務爭議議題,諸如:境外服務費支付所得稅扣繳、集團管理費用、外派人員薪資、商譽及無形資產認列攤銷、移轉訂價等。而相關議題本身具複雜性及稅務機關執法立場因素,使外商於爭取應有租稅權益時產生諸多困難,影響外商的正常獲利。

台灣的納稅者權利保護法即將於2017年12月28日施行,該法揭示了那些攸關納稅者權利保護之特別措施,能為相關爭議解決帶來怎樣的新契機,相信是很多外商公司財務長或法務長關切的重要議題。

When: June 15, 2017 (12 PM – 2 PM)

Where: AmCham Taipei, Lincoln Room

Speaker: Kevin Chen 陳志愷會計師

From left to right: Tax Committee Co-Chair Josephine Peng, Senior Counselor, Lee and Li, Attorneys-at-Law, with speaker Kevin Chen 陳志愷會計師, Deputy Head of Tax and a Partner in KPMG Taiwan and Ellen Ting, KPMG Tax & Investment Dept. Partner

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Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation.

Digital Marketing Roadmap: 2017 and Beyond

In this age of digital media, marketers face sharp new challenges, but they are also armed with new tools and techniques to deal with them.

At a two-hour AmCham Taipei “Digital Marketing Roadmap: 2017 and Beyond” workshop on June 14, James Chard, an independent digital media and marketing consultant and former Communications Manager at AmCham Taipei, shared insights on how to form a successful digital marketing strategy. The program included a hands-on group exercise to spark ideas on ways to develop an effective email marketing campaign.

Chard began with an overview on the current state of digital marketing, noting that consumer expectations are higher than ever. As consumer trust continues to decline and consumer savviness increases, marketers must pursue personalized, relevant, and targeted marketing strategies in order to capture and retain consumer attention. Chard highlighted the importance of technology trends in modern day digital marketing, such as the dominant role of mobile communication and the growing significance of video, chat functions, and influencer marketing, among others. He then discussed the “new customer journey,” which has shifted with the evolution of consumer needs and the expanding landscape of technological possibilities.

From left to right: Don Shapiro, Chamber’s Senior Director, James Chard, Independent Digital Media and Marketing Consultant, Andrea Wu, AmCham President

The New* Customer Journey: Pre-Purchase Stages

  1. Engagement – Brand Awareness
  2. Education – Problem Identification
  3. Research – Investigate Solutions
  4. Evaluation – Assess Satisfaction of Needs
  5. Justification – Justify & Quantify Value, the Internal Buy-In
  6. Purchase – Transactional and Transitional Factors

The New* Customer Journey: Post-Purchase Stages

  1. Adoption – Onboarding and Implementation
  2. Retention – Satisfaction and Success
  3. Expansion – Up-sell, Cross-sell
  4. Advocacy – Loyalty and Evangelism (winning the trust battle and getting consumers to spread the word for you)

Chard emphasized the importance of inbound marketing – pulling consumers in organically – rather than outbound marketing, which depends on fighting for consumer attention in a sea of communication messages. He concluded with an analysis of the most powerful tools to boost marketing effectiveness and best practices:

  • Website
  • Content
  • Social media
  • Search
  • Email
  • Ads
  • Marketing Automation
  • Analytics

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Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation.

How Companies Can Achieve Brand Influence

What makes a brand influential? How do you get your brand across through the clutter of constant advertising in a multi-screen, multi-media world?

Darren Freeman, Research Director of Ipsos Taiwan, an independent market research company, addressed those questions in a June 9 luncheon presentation, “The Drivers of Brand Influence in Taiwan,” sponsored by AmCham Taipei’s Marketing & Distribution Committee and held at Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel.

Today, a brand’s influence and its interaction with the target market are considered critical to measuring brand performance. A truly influential brand, Freeman noted, has a tangible impact on people’s lives. It offers a gateway to a better, more interesting life by giving people the tools to make smart choices. An influential brand is not just about selling a product; it stands for something and encourages change.

Ipsos has conducted its annual Top 100 Most Influential Brands study in markets around the world for almost a decade. Last year was the fifth year that Taiwan was included in the study, which measures five key dimensions that drive brand influence: corporate citizenship, engagement, leading edge, presence, and trustworthiness.

Topping the list of the 10 most influential brands in Taiwan last year:
Google, followed by Facebook, Line, YouTube, 7-Eleven, PX Mart, Microsoft, Apple, Chunghwa Post, and Visa.

The 2016 Most Influential Brands study found that trust remains the cornerstone of brand influence in Taiwan. Trustworthiness contributes one-third of brand influence for the top 10 most influential brands. Consumer engagement has room for improvement in Taiwan: while it comprises 29% of brand influence globally, consumer engagement accounts for only 12% of brand influence in Taiwan.

As to how to get one’s message across despite the media clutter, Freeman advised that advertising and other branding efforts must connect with people’s lives to be relevant and well-received. It is no longer enough, he noted, to focus only on product benefits to differentiate a brand. He views every brand’s “touchpoint” (interaction with consumers) as an opportunity to strengthen or weaken brand influence. Above all, he stressed, know your consumer. “Dig deeper into people’s journeys,” Freeman said. “If you don’t know who they are, you can’t influence them.”

Marketing & Distribution Committee Chair, Gordon Stewart and guest speaker Darren Freeman, Research Director of Ipsos Taiwan

Contacted after the presentation, Gordon Stewart, co-chair of the Marketing & Distribution Committee and Managing Director of Independent Marketing & Research Limited, noted that clear vision and understanding of one’s brand in the larger market is crucial to achieving successful branding. “Many marketers could benefit greatly by learning from the lessons outlined in this interesting study,” he said. “The future of most of our businesses relies a great deal upon the strength, or influence, of our brands.”

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Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation.

Launch of the 2017 Taiwan White Paper

With a morning press conference attended by 28 media outlets and a luncheon presentation before 112 Chamber members and guests, AmCham Taipei released its 2017 Taiwan White Paper on June 8. At the luncheon meeting in the Grand Ballroom of the Mandarin Oriental Taipei, AmCham Chairman Albert Chang and President Andrea Wu officially presented a copy of the new White Paper to Minister Chen Tain-jy of the National Development Council (NDC), who received it on behalf of the Taiwan government.

Minister Chen of the NDC accepted the Taiwan White Paper on behalf of the Taiwan government.

AmCham Taipei has published the Taiwan White Paper annually since 1996 to provide the Taiwan government with constructive suggestions on how to strengthen the business climate. This year marks the 20th year since the White Paper was first published in bilingual format in 1997.

Chang’s briefing focused on five major themes related to the performance of President Tsai Ing-wen’s administration during its first year in office:

  • A major advance in regulatory transparency. Chang said the government’s decision last year to extend the notice and comment period for new laws and regulations from 14 to 60 days was “cause for major celebration.” He said that government agencies’ collection of more input from stakeholders should lead to more effective rule-making, especially if it spurs real dialog between the regulators and the regulated.
  • Opportunities for investment. The administration’s ambitious “5+2 Innovative Industries” plan has attracted interest from foreign companies, especially in the fields of the Internet of Things, biomedical, and green energy. But Chang cautioned against allowing the construction of physical facilities to overshadow the need to foster the right innovation-stimulating “software” by cultivating talent, creativity, and culture.
  • A problematic labor law. Recent amendments to the Labor Standards Law are geared to the factory-based circumstances of the “old economy” rather than the service-centered, knowledge-oriented model that must constitute Taiwan’s future. The rigid rules on working hours, overtime, and other working conditions will in fact serve to stifle creativity. Means must be found to incorporate more flexibility into the rules.
  • Continued energy uncertainty. For Taiwan industry, it is crucial to have sufficient, reliable, and cost-competitive electrical power. But many observers are unsure how Taiwan will be able to achieve that objective while also meeting its announced dual goals of eliminating nuclear power and drastically cutting carbon emissions. Industry needs the government to provide a clear roadmap for Taiwan’s future energy development.
  • Bolster trade ties with the United States. Although the future of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is now very much in doubt after the U.S. pull-out, Taiwan still needs to find ways to diversify trade and avoid marginalization in the international economic arena. AmCham supports the idea of “free and fair” bilateral trade agreement between Taiwan and the United States. Taiwan after all is America’s 10th largest trading partner, and the two have enjoyed a long and fruitful economic relationship. Although the Trump administration has opposed multilateral agreements, it has left the door open to bilateral pacts, and Taiwan would be a highly suitable negotiating partner as long as it is willing to follow international standards and practices in its trade policies.

In addition to those broad themes, the 2017 Taiwan White Paper includes 83 sector-specific recommendations from 24 AmCham committees or industry groups.

Looking back at the 80 suggestions raised by AmCham committees in the 2016 Taiwan White Paper, the Chamber found that not a single one had been fully resolved in the past year, although eight issues were rated as showing satisfactory progress. Chang said the lack of complete resolution of any issues was reason for concern but not pessimism.

“We hope to work closely with the government to bring about more traction on issues of importance to our member companies,” he said.

To facilitate that progress, AmCham this year identified 12 Priority Issues for Special Attention, selected as having both the potential for high impact and feasibility for relatively early resolution. The Chamber is asking the government to assign a point-person to be responsible for monitoring the progress of all 80 suggestions, but especially the 12 Priority Issues, and to liaise with AmCham at least every quarter to discuss their status.

In remarks delivered after accepting the White Paper, Minister Chen said the government values its longstanding good relationship with AmCham and will take the White Paper recommendations very seriously.

View the full photo gallery here