Kathrin Hille in Taipei
This article is part of a series on the New Cold War
Earlier this year, four dozen lawyers, accountants and bankers from all over Latin America piled into a conference room in an office tower on Miami Waterfront. They listened spellbound as Nicholas Chen, an energetic lawyer who had come all the way from Taiwan, told them about an exodus of manufacturing from China that could make them rich.
“The tsunami waters are flowing outward now,” Mr Chen said to the assembled audience. Pointing to the US trade war with China, he said many companies were having second thoughts about maintaining operations in the Asian country. “Huge numbers of China-located companies are shifting their purchase orders, manufacturing capacities and operations out of China,” he claimed. “This can become your El Dorado!” — a reference to the mythical gold treasure that drove generations of explorers to Latin America.
Mr Chen knows how to make a good pitch. Starting in the early 1990s, the Chinese American lawyer helped hundreds of companies from Taiwan, a hub of manufacturing for electronics and other industries, to set up shop in Suzhou — a city just outside Shanghai in Jiangsu province.
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