Taiwan and South Africa held an auto parts and components industry cooperation online conference on Sept. 20, 2022, to discuss potential partnerships and commercial opportunities between business of the two sides in these major sectors.
Department of International Cooperation Director General Eugene Y.J. Chen, Liaison Office of South Africa in Taiwan Representative Hugh Graham Anderson, and Anthony C.Y. Ho, Taiwan's representative to South Africa, each delivered opening remarks at the event.
This conference featured five presentations by business and industry association representatives as well officials from various related government agencies of the two sides. The first three presentations introduced South Africa's Automotive Masterplan (SAAM), the National Association of Automotive Components and Allied Manufacturers (NAACAM), and the government's Automotive Investment Scheme (AIS). This was followed by presentations on opportunities provided by Taiwan's EV industry, and a case study of a successful Taiwanese auto component manufacturer operating in South Africa.
The two sides engaged in active exchanges during the presentations and follow-up Q&A session, exploring ways of enhancing automotive technology collaboration and generating potential commercial opportunities through partnerships in the EV sector.
In his opening speech, ICD Director General Chen noted that the automotive parts and components industry is one of Taiwan's most important and that over 80% of Taiwanese manufacturers in this sector export their products overseas. Amid EV and smart vehicle development in recent years, global demand for automotive electronics-related products has steadily increased, presenting significant commercial opportunities for Taiwanese and South African firms to tap through collaboration. He pointed out that the two sides possess complementary advantages, such as South Africa's abundant labor force, huge domestic market and membership in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and Taiwan's advanced technology and R&D capacity, which they could combine to jointly expand their international markets. The director general added that he hopes the meeting will spur partnerships between the Taiwan and South African automotive parts and components sector that generate significant win-win outcomes for both sides.
Meanwhile, Representative Anderson said that the automotive industry has played an important role in South Africa's manufacturing and exports and is highly linked to the global market. South Africa's auto market is expected to grow with momentum as the global automotive industry gradually recovers. He noted that South African auto-parts companies have a strong interest in joining the supply chain networks and after-sales markets of several leading U.S. and European brand companies. He further expressed the hope that this meeting could intensify mutual industry communication and generate more cooperation opportunities.
For his part, Representative Ho stressed that Taiwan's vehicle assembly has received international recognition and that several major international automakers have partnered with local companies to set up assembly lines in Taiwan. He further said that Taiwan has a comprehensive automotive parts and components industry supply chain and has leveraged its ICT advantages to enter the European and U.S. electric vehicle markets, adding that he believes there will be even more opportunities for cooperation between Taiwan and South Africa in the EV parts and components sector in the future.
Among the statements made by experts at the conference included that the South African government will continue promoting the SAAM and working to attract global funding through the AIS. Auto parts manufacturers that are members of the NAACAM said that the NAACAM would continue to provide bespoke value-added services for local automotive component manufacturers that supply domestic OEMs, as well as the aftermarket and exports to help to transform and upgrade the automotive value chain. Moreover, the Automotive Research and Testing Center (ARTC) representative mentioned that the ARTC has assisted the industry to make breakthroughs in development skills in finished vehicles and auto parts through government resources by providing R&D skills and validation testing services. Progress of EV promotion in Taiwan's Pathway to Net-Zero Emissions in 2050 was also introduced, including the future planning on industry-government cooperation to accelerate Taiwan's domestic EV product development. The representative of a Taiwanese auto parts manufacturer operating in South Africa for over 25 years also pointed out that setting up production in South Africa and using it as a gateway is the best way to tap the wider African market for auto parts.
South Africa is a member of the AfCFTA and sub-Saharan Africa's most advanced economy. The holding of the online meeting demonstrated the determination of both Taiwan and South Africa to work together on generating win-win commercial outcomes through mutually beneficial cooperation in a major industry that also presents significant emerging opportunities.