Over 60% of German firms in Taiwan affected by COVID-19: poll

TAIPEI (CNA) — More than 60 percent of German companies in Taiwan have been impacted by the novel coronavirus disease COVID-19 outbreak, a survey released by the German Trade Office Taipei on Tuesday showed.

Although their business has been affected by the virus, the survey also indicated that about 87 percent of respondents said they are satisfied with the Taiwan government’s management of the virus crisis.

The survey found 28.2 percent of 78 respondents said their business has been highly impacted, 34.6 percent that operations have seen medium impact and 20.5 percent pointed to low impact, while 14.1 percent said it was too early to give any prediction and the remaining 2.6 percent said there has been zero impact.

The trade office conducted a flash survey of 250 German companies operating in Taiwan from March 3-6 on how the COVID-19 contagion has affected their business and 78 replied, a response rate of 31.2 percent.

When asked how their business has been affected by the spread of the virus, 67.7 percent of respondents said they experienced a decline in demand for products or services, 63.1 percent said they saw company events and trade fair participation canceled, 43.1 percent said employees have been in home quarantine or face travel restrictions and 30.8 percent said they encountered a supply shortage.

According to the survey, 17.9 percent of respondents said they anticipate revenue will fall by more than 30 percent due to the virus, 32.1 percent said sales could fall 10-30 percent, and 9 percent expect sales to fall less than 10 percent.

“Despite all that, our survey also showed confidence in Taiwan’s crisis management. Over 87 percent of the companies are satisfied or even very satisfied with the novel coronavirus crisis management of the Taiwanese authorities,” Axel Limberg, chief representative and executive director of the German Trade Office Taipei, said in a statement.

The survey showed 55.1 percent of respondents said they were “very satisfied” with the Taiwanese authorities’ handling of the virus crisis and 32.1 percent said they were satisfied.

“German companies believe in the effectiveness of the current guidelines and measures taken by the government,” Limberg said. “The vast majority of the companies have already implemented response measures themselves to actively contribute to prevent the spread of the virus and prioritize the protection of their employees and customers.”

According to the survey, to offset negative economic effects, 52.6 percent of respondents said they welcome financial support measures such as tax reductions and temporary wage compensation, while 60.3 percent said their number one request is the provision of health protection equipment such as face masks.

The trade office cited the survey as saying that no companies currently have plans for staff layoffs.