Lots of stuff out there today on Taiwan’s economy. Reuters is reporting that Taiwan plans to open five sectors of its economy to Chinese investment:

Taiwan is aiming to open five sectors of its economy to mainland Chinese by the end of the year, as part of a campaign by a new China-friendly administration to boost growth, media reported on Saturday.

The five areas are the financial, economic, transport, human resources and land sectors, Taiwan’s two Chinese language business dailies reported, citing Premier Liu Chao-shiuan.

Not included was the real estate sector, the Economic Daily reported, although the two-month-old administration of President Ma Ying-jeou has said it would eventually like to open that sector to mainland investors as well.

Not as fast as some would like. Wonder what they will do when the big bounce doesn’t arrive — when Chinese investors show themselves to be as cagey as all others in dealing with Taiwan. Ma save us!

Several media outlets have been reporting on the visit by representatives of Canadian indigenous groups. Aborigines on both sides of the Pacific have long cultivated contacts, and Canadian papers are reporting that Taiwan wants Canadian aboriginal expertise in managing casinos.

The Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority has signed a deal to manage up to three Native casinos in Taiwan. SIGA will start with one casino for the Thao Tribe, one of Taiwan’s indigenous groups. SIGA will take up to 30 percent of revenues from the facility. “This is a global industry,” a consultant was quoted as saying. “This is expertise SIGA already possesses. We have all the trainers.” The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations recently led a trade mission to Taiwan.

The Thao tribe, of which less than 300 remain, live around Sun Moon Lake, near the village of De Hwa (the sign there says “Welcome to Ita Thao” without any explanation of what Ita Thao is.) Is this a sign that our first casinos are going in at Sun Moon Lake? Just another reason not to visit the island’s most boring tourist spot. Can’t even swim there…..

The Cabinet today announced major energy policy initiatives. If carried out, they might have an effect. Of course, we are still build the two coal-fired power plants.

Finally, from the folder of Honorary Darwin Awards comes this hilarious tale of an engineer who lost over US$400,000 in a paid sex scam:

Looking for paid sex on the Internet is common in Taiwan, though illegal. The practice, called either yuan jiao, which means compensated dating, or enjo kosai, which means an exchange of sex for cash or gifts, originated in Japan but is now popular among adolescents in Taiwan.

After Huang had transferred the money to Yuan Yuan’s bank account, he received a phone call from a man claiming that Huang had used the wrong procedure to wire the money and caused the bank’s computer system to break down. He demanded Huang transmit 2 million Taiwan dollars in damages or he would be killed, the radio report quoted police as saying.

After the transaction, the man called again, accusing Huang of another system collapse, demanding more damages and claiming the bank accounts of several lawmakers had been destroyed and that would delay upcoming elections.

So Huang took out a mortgage on his apartment and transferred more money, only to receive another call, saying he had to pay more damages because he caused another computer breakdown, leading to trouble on the stock markets in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Wall Street.

Within one month, Huang had wired 13.86 million Taiwan dollars before he reported the fraud to police in Hsinchu City in western Taiwan.

How did this fellow ever get an engineering degree?