By Atty. Gilberto Lauengco, J.D.

Look north to Taiwan

November 16, 2022, 1:06 pm

Perceptual constancy or object constancy is a tendency to view familiar things as having the same characteristics regardless of changes. For example, when we see a person, often, we sometimes do not notice certain changes in their appearance or demeanor.

Hidden in the middle pages of one of our prime newspapers last week was a small article on a flurry of investment pledges made by Taiwanese companies. As a result of recent collaborative efforts, a total of USD65 million in new investment commitments were made by several large Taiwan companies in various investment areas. Some of these investments involve corporations dealing with AI solutions, renewable energy, electronics, transport parts and other related industries. This was just the latest of many investment flurries from Taiwanese companies. Needless to say, these investment commitments have a considerable impact on our economy. Unfortunately, only a few Filipinos are aware of these developments and the opportunities they bring.

Since Taiwan is just a few miles north of the Philippines, Filipinos often suffer perceptual constancy and fail to recognize new developments in Taiwan that may be relevant to our lives.

Having spent a few years in Taiwan as a part of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (our Philippine Representative Office), I was fortunate to witness the gradual changes in Taiwan that could impact our lives herein in the Philippines. Their southbound policy initiative that encourages the business community to look south of Taiwan for new investment opportunities have spurred renewed interest in exploring new frontiers including the Philippines. Their exponential growth in technology in various fields equipped them with unique abilities and advantages that fully enable them in this expansion surge. It would be a shame if Filipinos do not look north to Taiwan and avail of the opportunities this initiative represents.

Other than the large scale investments made by the top companies of Taiwan, there are now several opportunities for business to business matching with small to medium scale Taiwanese organizations in several fields.


Agricultural technology and practices have progressed in Taiwan by leaps and bounds. In terms of production, their use of enzymes and other biotechnology have maximized their yield and fully utilized what little agriculture and aquaculture spaces they have. In their markets, you can see vegetable the size of baseball bats and some fruits that are as large as your carry-on bag. Their post-harvest technology has produced things like rice millers the size of a refrigerator and cold storage technology that are modular and so efficient that you could save 75 percent of your normal electrical needs.


When Filipinos think of studying abroad they do not often look to Taiwan. Taiwan has several universities which are already world-class. There are many universities offering scholarships or discounts. There are some Taiwan schools that have been collaborating with their Philippine counterparts to foster technology and knowledge sharing. As such, for kids thinking about studying abroad I say Look North…

Cosmetics and skin care

South Korean and Japanese cosmetics and skin care products are often the top-of-mind brands for Filipinos when it comes to cosmetics and skin care. In other parts of the world, however, there is a growing surge of awareness of Taiwanese cosmetics and skin care products. Their emphasis on biotech and organic ingredients for these products set them apart from their competition. In this field, Filipino talent for language and creativity can greatly complement this industry.

Renewable energy

Several more companies involved in various forms of renewable energy are currently touring our country to see how they can form partnerships for renewable energy projects such as solar and wind.

There are so many other fields where businessmen here can match up with Taiwanese counterparts. In this regard, a group of Taiwanese and Filipino businessmen and professionals have formed the FILTAI COOPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT FRIENDSHIP ASSOCIATION a non- stock, non-profit group that aims to complement other agencies in promoting business to business matching in an effort to maximize opportunities available.

Clearly, it is time to take notice of the opportunities in the north. It is time to look north to Taiwan.

This is my oblique observation.


About the Columnist

Image of Atty. Gilberto Lauengco, J.D.

ATTY. GILBERTO LAUENGCO, J.D. is a lawyer, educator, political strategist, government consultant, Lego enthusiast, and the director of CAER Think Tank. He is a Former Vice Chairman of MECO, Special Assistant of NFA and City Administrator among others. His broad experience has molded his unique approach to issues analysis which he calls the oblique observation.