Trump Empire Widening Scope on Taiwan

President-elect Donald Trump may be on his way to the White House, but what will become of the Trump business empire he leaves behind? Its next stop may be Taiwan.

This week, the mayor of the northeastern Taiwanese city of Taoyuan confirmed that Trump was considering erecting a series of luxury hotels and resorts there. Back in September, a Trump Organization representative visited the city’s Aerotropolis, a large-scale urban development project aiming to benefit from Taoyuan’s status as an East Asian transport hub — a visit that the mayor described as mere investment speculation, according to Taiwan News.

Other reports claim that Trump’s second son Eric Trump will visit the area later this year to discuss the potential business opportunity. Eric is also  executive vice president of the Trump Organization.

Trump has promised to hand over control of the Trump Organization to Eric and the rest of his children, Ivanka and Donald Jr., after he assumes office. But could Trump’s expanding business ventures put him in potential conflicts of interest, while he carries out his duties as leader of the free world?

In the last 50 years, it has been the norm for office-holders to hand over their assets to be managed by an independent trustee under a financial agreement called a “blind trust.” This agreement essentially means that the president has no knowledge of the trustee’s investments, thus allowing the president to make decisions with greater impartiality.

In Trump’s case, however, the agreement won’t be “blind” at all. Of course, the multibillionaire businessman and celebrity-turned politician is no stranger to breaking away from the norm.

Much like his presidency, the fate of his business empire is shrouded in mystery. And outside the Taiwanese business world, the city’s citizens are also waiting to see what will become of cross-strait relations under Trump, who stuck to an isolationist platform during his campaign and promised to bring back jobs to America — a pledge that resonated with Americans across the country.  

About Andrew Burke 145 Articles
Editor-in-Chief Andrew Burke is a lifelong aficionado of all things Chinese. He studied Mandarin while living in Taiwan for six years and now works as a digitization specialist at the Yenching Library, which specializes in Asian books and documents, at Harvard University where he also studies topics related to China, Chinese, Asia and foreign affairs.