Channel NewsAsia

Taiwanese companies affected by anti-China riots in Vietnam

According to Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs, more than 100 Taiwanese companies in Vietnam were attacked and looted, over 10 factories set ablaze and two Taiwanese injured.

TAIPEI: According to Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs, more than 100 Taiwanese companies in Vietnam were attacked and looted, over 10 factories set ablaze and two Taiwanese injured.

With nearly US$28 billion worth of investments in Vietnam, Taiwan is the fourth biggest foreign investor there, following Japan, South Korea and Singapore.

It is estimated that as many as 1,000 Taiwanese-owned factories were affected by the anti-China protests.

At this early stage, it is difficult to assess exactly the extent of the property damage, but given the extent of the rioting, the total damage bill could run into the billions.

The Taiwanese bore the brunt of the attack because many were mistaken for mainland Chinese.

Taiwan's foreign ministry has pledged to assist its affected citizens by demanding compensation from the Vietnamese government. Many investors who returned home safely said they are just glad they got out alive.

A Taiwanese businessman, who just returned to Taiwan on Friday morning, said: "The rioters beat anyone who is not Vietnamese.

"I hid under a pile of garbage. I waited until the rioters left before I climbed out and walked out of my factory. The police had guns, but I couldn't understand why they didn't use them. (The police) just stood there and watched. I was stunned."

Several hundred Taiwanese operations have been suspended over safety concerns, and questions remain over the viability of investments in Vietnam.

Some investors have expressed reluctance to return in the short-term and will closely monitor how the situation develops.

Both governments will also be treading carefully to ensure the bilateral trade relationship -- worth some US$11 billion annually -- is not placed in jeopardy. 

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