TAIPEI (CNA) — More than 20,000 people in Taiwan pre-ordered government-issued spending vouchers in five minutes after they went on sale at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said.
Echoing Su, Economics Minister Wang Mei-hua (王美花) said at a separate function that more than 160,000 people pre-ordered their vouchers at around 9:30 a.m.
There were initial connection problems when the system opened Wednesday morning, but they were quickly resolved, Wang said.
The vouchers, which can be used starting July 15, are being issued to get consumers to spend to make up for weakened consumption in the first five months of the year due to COVID-19 worries.
Under the NT$50 billion (US$1.69 billion) program, which is not open to foreign residents unless they have a Taiwanese spouse, people must spend NT$1,000 to buy NT$3,000 in vouchers.
The vouchers can be used to buy a wide range of goods and services but come with several restrictions.
The initial pre-ordering period will run through July 7. Orders can be placed at convenience stores around Taiwan or on the website of the Small and Medium Enterprise Administration (SMEA) of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) at https://3000.gov.tw/.
A second stage of pre-ordering will run from Aug. 1 to 7.
People who pre-order vouchers by July 7 can pick them up at convenience stores from July 15 to 31 by showing their national health insurance card or national ID card.
Those unable to pre-order the vouchers can purchase them directly at post offices across the country from July 15 to Dec. 31, by showing their national health cards or other identity documents.
Another option is for people to register their credit card on the voucher program website, starting from July 1. After they use their card to spend NT$3,000 at designated stores or outlets, they will receive a refund of NT$2,000.