AmCham Holiday Dinner Features a Visit from Santa

Santa Claus took time off from Christmas preparations at his North Pole workshop to drop in – to the delight of the many children attending – on AmCham Taipei’s Holiday Dinner on December 14 at the Sherwood Taipei.

The event, the first of its kind for the Chamber, was a resounding success, with more than 70 members and guests attending.

View the full photo gallery here.

The buffet dinner featured carved roast turkey and other dishes from the Sherwood kitchen, including an assortment of child-friendly choices. Besides meeting Santa to tell him their Christmas wishes, the kids also flocked to the gingerbread cookie station, where they could make their own decorations on the cookies with icing.

Everyone received a gift bag of Aunt Stella cookies and complementary passes to the Taipei Dangdai Art & Ideas Exhibition in January.

AmCham expresses its thanks to Corporate Sponsors Corning Display Technologies, SEMI Taiwan, and Versum Materials, as well as Raffle Prize Sponsors Aunt Stella, Hilton Taipei Sinban, and The Sherwood Taipei.

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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. 

New Board Members Elected at 2018 AGM

Five candidates were elected to a two-year term on the Board of Governors, and three to a one-year term as Supervisors, at the AmCham Taipei’s 2018 Annual General Meeting at the Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza hotel on November 20. About 170 AmCham members and guests attended the luncheon meeting.

The newly elected Governors to serve in 2019-2020 are:

  • Al Chang of Deloitte & Touche
  • Albert Chang of McKinsey & Co.
  • Seraphim Ma of Baker & McKenzie
  • Jan-Hendrik Meidinger of the Grand Hyatt Taipei
  • Paulus Mok of Citibank Taiwan

The 2019 Supervisors will be:

  • Vincent Shih of Microsoft Taiwan
  • Terry Tsao of SEMI Taiwan
  • Dylan Tyson of Prudential Life Insurance

The in-line candidates for Governor are Leo Seewald of BlackRock Investment, Petra Jumpers of Eli Lilley & Co., and Joyce Lee of Amgen Taiwan, while Carl Wegner of R3 is the alternate candidate for Supervisor.

At the start of the meeting, AmCham Chairman Albert Chang outlined some of the Chamber’s outstanding achievements during the past year. These included record levels of success in resolving White Paper issues, a revamped Business Climate Survey, and the speech by Deputy U.S. Secretary of State Alex Wong at the Hsieh Nien Fan banquet, generating extensive domestic and international media coverage.

The guest speaker at the luncheon, Director Brent Christensen of the American Institute in Taiwan, called attention to the numerous areas of close cooperation between the United States and Taiwan, including:

  • The Global Cooperation and Training Framework (GCTF), a partnership to demonstrate and share Taiwan’s strengths and expertise with other countries, which has held numerous exchanges and workshops on a wide variety of subjects.
  • The U.S. granting of visa waiver to Taiwan, plus its own Global Entry program, which has enabled the volume of two-way travel to surpass one million people a year.
  • The growing interest by Taiwanese companies in investing in the United States, as shown by Taiwan having the largest single delegation at the SelectUSA summit this year.
  • The U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy, which is opening increased opportunities for cooperation in such areas as infrastructure, energy, and the digital economy, in sync with the Taiwan government’s New Southbound Policy and 5+2 Innovative Industry program.

Christensen also referred to Vice President Mike Pence’s October 4 speech on U.S. China policy which praised Taiwan as a model for democratic development for the Chinese people. The AIT Director cited three areas where Taiwan is well-positioned to demonstrate a leadership role as a responsible member of the international community:

  • Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) protection. Taiwan has made great improvements in this area, and IPR cooperation has now become a hallmark of the bilateral relationship, he said.
  • Regulatory transparency. Whereas Taiwan had a relatively opaque rules-making regime just a few years ago, it has since become a model by adopting a 60-day notice and comment period, enabling stakeholders to participate in the process.
  • Science-based regulation. It should be standard practice to base regulatory decisions on scientific evidence.

View the full photo gallery here.

Bringing Hawaii to Taipei: The 2018 American Ball

“Aloha Hawaii” was the theme of the dazzling 2018 American Ball, co-organized by AmCham Taipei and the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). On the evening of November 3, AmCham members and their guests entered the beautifully decorated (thanks to the Feng Ze Design Center) Grand Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt Taipei and immediately imagined themselves transported to America’s favorite vacation spot.

After a cocktail reception featuring a welcome drink of Robert Mondavi Winery’s Woodbridge Sparkling Brut courtesy of Sergio Valente, Master of Ceremonies Ed Shober opened the festivities. AmCham Chairman Albert Chang and President Bill Foreman, accompanied by AIT Director Brent Christensen and Deputy Director Ray Greene, then greeted the attendees on behalf of the host organizations.

View the full photo gallery here.

Showing its usual creativity, the Grand Hyatt served a gourmet five-course meal that featured a cucumber red quinoa salad with Ahi poke and young corn, pumpkin chowder, cucumber granite passionfruit jelly, roasted U.S. beef tenderloin, and dessert of a chocolate sphere with coconut cream and fresh pineapple. The dinner was accompanied by Robert Mondavi Winery Woodbridge Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay (from Sergio Valente) and Johnnie Walker Double Black (from Diageo). “Blue Hawaii” and other cocktails were available at the bar.

Before and during dinner, the ball-goers enjoyed spirited Hawaii-inspired entertainment routines devised by the VMJ dance group. Once the music started – provided by talented Sherwyne Pereira and his band, as well as DJ Rick Kraft – the dance floor was packed for the rest of the evening with gyrating, enthusiastic revelers.

The event was made possible by the generosity of a number of sponsoring companies. These included Grand Prize Sponsor United Airlines; Wine & Liquor Sponsors Diageo and Sergio Valente; Gold Sponsors Amgen, Grand Hyatt Taipei, HSBC, Taiwan Sotheby’s, and Versum Materials; Décor Sponsor Standard Chartered Bank; Silver Sponsors BlackRock, Corning, Invisalign, and Prospect Hospitality Co. Ltd. (McDonald’s Restaurants); and General Sponsor The Tobacco Institute of the Republic of China (TIROC), with a special thanks to the Primasia Conference & Business Center (PCBC).

Attractive raffle prizes added to the excitement of the evening. The grand prize, by United Airlines, was two round-trip business-class tickets to any destination in the United States. The second prize was four nights’ stay for two at either the Club Med Kani (Maldives) or Club Med Sahoro (Japan). Other gift sponsors were the Grand Hyatt Taipei, eslite hotel, Ever Rich D.F.S. Corp., Hawaii Island Real Estate/Clark Realty Hilo, Hotel Eclat Taipei, Howard Plaza, Landis Taipei, Mandarin Oriental Taipei, Mellow Fields Taipei, Palais de Chine, Procter & Gamble, Regent Taipei, Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, Sherwood Taipei, Westin Tashee Resort Taoyuan, and W Taipei.

ARCs Will Get New Numbering System

During an interview with AmCham Taipei’s Taiwan Business TOPICS about immigration, Minister of the Interior Hsu Kuo-yung disclosed that the current coding format for Alien Residence Certificates (ARCs) – two letters from the English alphabet followed by eight Arabic numerals – will be changed to conform with the coding format of Taiwan’s National Identity Card number issued to citizens. This change to one letter from the English alphabet followed by nine Arabic numerals is designed to provide greater convenience to foreign nationals living in Taiwan, providing another incentive for them to stay, the Minister said.

After the revision, foreign nationals will be able to shop online, book tickets, and register for medical care or various types of membership using the same procedure as Taiwanese nationals. The Ministry of the Interior says it will coordinate with other ministries and important industrial and commercial groups to help integrate the various information systems and facilities of the public and private sectors.

Richard Bush on U.S.-China-Taiwan Relations

Richard Bush, one of the leading authorities on U.S.-China-Taiwan relations, spoke on that subject to AmCham Taipei members and guests on October 25, filling the Lincoln Room to capacity. Besides his prepared remarks, which included a salute to AmCham for its contributions to fostering strong U.S.-Taiwan relations, he took questions during a lengthy Q&A period.

A former Chairman and Managing Director of the American Institute in Taiwan (1997-2002), Bush is currently a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. where he holds the Chen-fu and Cecilia Yen Koo Chair in Taiwan Studies. Prior to AIT and Brookings in 2002, he worked on Taiwan and other Asia issues at the House Foreign Affairs Committee (1983-1995) and National Intelligence Council (1995-1997).

Bush is the author of such books as At Cross Purposes: U.S.-Taiwan Relations Since 1942, Untying the Knot: Making Peace in the Taiwan Strait, and Uncharted Strait: The Future of China-Taiwan Relations.

From left to right: Richard C. Bush, Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy of Center for East Asia Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution and AmCham Taipei President William Foreman

The Lincoln Room is made possible by the generosity of a number of sponsoring companies:

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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. 

AstraZeneca Taiwan Announces Expansion Plans on 70th Anniversary

AmCham Taipei member AstraZeneca Taiwan, the local arm of the global biopharmaceutical firm, celebrated the 70th anniversary of its founding on September 25. It became one of the very first foreign investors in Taiwan when its forerunner, Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) of the UK, set up operations in Taiwan in 1948 to bring an anti-malarial drug to this market, contributing to Taiwan becoming the first malaria-free area in the Western Pacific in 1965.

Zeneca, a spin-off from ICI, merged with Astra AB of Sweden in 1999 to form the current London-based company.

At a press conference and later at a reception at the Westin Hotel, AstraZeneca used the occasion of the anniversary observance to announce plans to invest an additional NT$1 billion (over US$32 million) in Taiwan over the next three years. AstraZeneca Taiwan president Simon Manners said the company will launch 10 new medicines by 2021, three of which have received priority approval from the Taiwan Food & Drug Administration. It will also triple its spending on clinical research and development in Taiwan and create more than 140 new jobs in medical affairs, clinical research, and marketing and sales, increasing the total workforce to 430 employees.

A statement from the company said the investment “reflects our commitment to address the unmet needs in non-communicable diseases, to enable high-value job creation, and to advance biopharmaceutical innovation in Taiwan.” The anniversary ceremony also involved the signing of a Letter of Intent with the Ministry of Science and Technology to help develop local R&D talent.

In an interview with AmCham Senior Director and Taiwan Business TOPICS Editor-in-chief Don Shapiro, Manners stressed the significance of AstraZeneca’s initiatives for Taiwan’s increasingly elderly population. He noted the company’s “rich pipeline of innovative new medicines” for such diseases as diabetes, lung cancer, and cardiovascular disorders – all illnesses that occur with greater frequency in older people. “The new medicines we are bringing will not only help people live longer, but also live longer with a good quality of life,” he said.

Manners also praised Taiwan as a location for conducting clinical trials, citing the excellent professionalism of its doctors and the high quality of the data produced. “We are the number one initiator of clinical trials in Taiwan of any multinational company, and the number two overall,” he said.

While visiting Taiwan for the anniversary festivities, Joris Silon, AstraZeneca’s Vice President for the Asia Area, told Shapiro that “we are very proud of our 70 years of heritage here.”

“This is a day of celebrating the very successful delivery of benefits to patients in Taiwan since 1948,” he noted. “It’s very exciting. Taiwan is an important part of our business, and we’re very committed to this market.”

Promoting Taiwan as a Liver Health Center of Excellence

Republic of China Vice President Chen Chien-jen, an epidemiologist with a background in researching hepatitis B, was the keynote speaker at the Taiwan Liver Health Forum sponsored by AmCham Taipei together with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW). The event, held at the Howard-Plaza Hotel on October 3, was attended by 90-some guests from government, the medical community, and industry.

The idea for the forum grew out of a suggestion by AmCham Taipei’s Public Health Committee in the 2018 Taiwan White Paper that Taiwan strive to become the “Liver Health Center of Excellence in Asia.” Participants in the forum confirmed the validity of that goal, citing Taiwan’s pioneering work in past decades in controlling hepatitis B through vaccination and the government’s progress toward eradicating hepatitis C in the coming decade in line with World Health Organization objectives.

Hepatitis is endemic in this part of the world, and is considered a major health risk because it often leads to liver cancer. Among the points made by speakers at the forum were the importance of increasing the amount of screening conducted in Taiwan for hepatitis C. Although the effort would lead to higher healthcare expenditures in the near term, in the long-run it will substantially save costs due to reduced hospitalization and mortality, as well as heightened productivity.

Speakers also called for further expansion of clinical trials in Taiwan, more public education to raise awareness regarding liver health, and workplace programs to encourage more screening.

Opening remarks at the forum were delivered by AIT Director W. Brent Christensen and MOHW Deputy Minister Ho Chi-kung. In his half-hour keynote address, Vice President used a PowerPoint presentation to brief the audience on Taiwan’s past successes in combating liver disease. Other speakers were Dr. Kao Jia-horng, president of the Taiwan Association for the Study of the Liver; Dr. Pwu Raoh-fang, director of the MOHW National Hepatitis C Program Office; Dr. Homie Razavi, managing director of the U.S. Center for Disease Analysis; and Dr. Chiu Chang-fang, vice president of China Medical University Hospital.

Two panel discussions were moderated by Ramanathan Velayutham, Taiwan general manager for AbbVie Biopharmaceutical, and Pang Lai-li, Taiwan managing director for Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD), respectively. Aside from the speakers, the panelists included Dr. Lee Po-chang, director-general of the National Health Insurance Administration; and Bristol-Myers Squibb General Manager Sophia Lee. AmCham Taipei President William Foreman gave closing remarks.

Platinum sponsors for the event were Abbvie, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Gilead Sciences. MSD was a silver sponsor.

Interested in attending our events? Join us at other upcoming events, click here.

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.

Forum Highlights Benefits of Private Equity

AmCham Taipei, along with the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council based in the Washington DC area, provided support for a Sept. 14 forum entitled “Private Equity in Taiwan: A Pathway to Growth.” The event was jointly organized by the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

In recent years Taiwan has attracted very little private equity (PE) investment, following some high-profile cases in which investment applications by PE firms were either rejected or dragged on until the applicant withdrew. The forum appeared to be a welcome indication that the Taiwan authorities are now actively seeking to woo PE investment.

Speeches by three government speakers – MOEA Deputy Minister Kung Ming-hsin, National Development Council Deputy Minister Cheng Cheng-Mount, and Financial Supervisory Commission Vice Chairperson Huang Tien-mu – all stressed the value that PE investment could bring to the Taiwan economy, aiding in industrial upgrading, innovation, and expansion of global markets.

Two panel discussions – one of them moderated by AmCham Vice Chairman Leo Seewald, chairman of BlackRock Taiwan – provided an opportunity for prominent financial-services executives from Taiwan and elsewhere in the region to explore the benefits of PE for Taiwan in some detail. One theme was the large number of successful family-owned enterprises in Taiwan in which the founder-chairman is quite elderly but the younger family members lack the ability or interest to take over. Cooperation with PE investors can offer a solution, enabling the family to continue to benefit financially without having to take responsibility for the management.

We’re Hiring: Opening for Associate Editor

The American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei is seeking a full-time Associate Editor for its Taiwan Business TOPICS monthly publication and TOPICS Online. The job requires a high professional level of reporting and editing skills, and a working ability in Mandarin Chinese.  Experience in business journalism is preferred. Interested parties should contact Jessica Chen at jessicachen@amcham.com.tw with their resumés and cover letters.