Stocks shoot up on back of KMT victory

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 March, 2008, 12:00am

Taiwan's stock market opened with a bang yesterday, in a rally that saw the benchmark index gain 340 points, or 4 per cent, to close at 8,865 points.

'Rise, rise, rise; long live Ma Ying-jeou,' investors shouted at a securities house as they watched a wall of monitors flashing red, which signifies rising prices in Taiwan, instead of green, which represents falls.

Some investors said they had been waiting for this day for some time. 'The faster the Democratic Progressive Party government goes, the better,' one investor said.

He said the index had been looking green ever since the pro-independence DPP - with which Beijing refused to deal - won the presidential elections in 2000 and again in 2004.

Mr Ma, of the Kuomintang, swept to a landslide victory in Saturday's presidential election, taking more than 7.6 million ballots to become the first directly elected president to gain so many votes. His DPP opponent, Frank Hsieh Chang-ting, took 5.4 million votes.

Improving cross-strait ties and liberalising economic links were the major platform issues of Mr Ma's campaign, and shares of all companies with mainland investments rocketed, as did those of firms likely to benefit from warmer ties.

Mr Ma vows to open trade, tourism, and air and sea links with the mainland soon after he is inaugurated on May 20. He has proposed launching weekend charter flights by July 1 with the final goal of regular flights by June next year.

He also plans to work with the mainland to allow 3,000 mainland tourists to arrive each day by July 1, with the final goal of 3 million a year. In addition, he says he will ease the cap on mainland investments and relax restrictions on investments in the financial and property sectors.

All mainland-related businesses - tourism, aviation, shipping, and the financial and property sectors - have been pinning hopes on Mr Ma honouring his campaign promises.

Hotel operators at Sun Moon Lake, one of the sites mainlanders will most likely visit, said they would expand to prepare for the influx.

'We are looking forward to the arrival of the mainland tourists,' one operator said.