GTO Taipei Survey: Substantial Impact of COVID-19 Outbreak on German Companies in Taiwan

TAIPEI, Taiwan – The latest German Trade Office Taipei flash survey conducted at the beginning of March indicates that the business of 62.8% of the German companies operating in Taiwan has been significantly impacted by the current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.
The poll also revealed that a decreased demand for products and services (67.7%) as well as cancelled company events and cancelled participation in trade fairs (63.1%) have had the largest negative effects on the business performance. As a result, 50% of the companies expect their revenues to decrease by at least 10% in the first half of 2020.
“Despite all that, our survey also showed the confidence in Taiwan’s crisis management. Over 87% of the companies are satisfied or even very satisfied with the novel coronavirus crisis management of the Taiwanese authorities,” stated Axel Limberg, Chief Representative and Executive Director of the German Trade Office Taipei during a joint press conference with the German Institute Taipei on March 17.
Mr. Limberg emphasized: “German companies believe in the effectiveness of the current guidelines and measures taken by the government. The vast majority of the companies has already implemented response measures themselves to actively contribute to prevent the spread of the virus and prioritize the protection of their employees and customers. Moreover, 83.3% of the companies are providing hand sanitizers and 56.4% are checking the temperature of visitors and employees.”
To offset negative economic effects, German companies would welcome financial support measures such as tax reductions and temporary wage compensations (52.6%). The biggest wish with 60.3% would be the provision of health protection equipment such as face masks, however, the companies are also aware that this demand is rather difficult to fulfill in times of supply shortages.
Guest of Honor were Mr. Johnson Sen Chiang, Director-General of European Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Philip Yi-Chun Lo, Deputy Director-General, Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CDC) who delivered their welcoming remarks. Dr. Thomas Prinz, Director General of the German Institute Taipei, also delivered his opening remarks and assessed the current situation. Furthermore, three company representatives gave an insight into how the current COVID-19 outbreak has been impacting their business and how they have been dealing with it. The representatives were:
  • Mr. Anton Lovrec, Managing Director at Haefele Taiwan Limited
  • Mr. Misha Lu, Vice President Marketing, North Asia at TÜV SÜD
  • Mr. Phylex Ong, Managing Director at BECKHOFF Automation Co., Ltd.
Other key findings:
  • No company is currently planning to lay off employees
  • No company was dissatisfied with how the Taiwanese authorities have been dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak
  • 20.5% expect a low impact on their business operations, while 2.6% expect no impact at all
  • 32.1% think it is too early to predict the impact of the crisis, whereas the 2.6% expect to profit
  • 35.9% will lower their business performance target, while 25.6% will maintain it