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TAITRA drives Taiwan up the value chain

by Stuart Wilson, Friday 16 February 2018

Walter M. S. Yeh, TAITRA President and CEO
Walter M. S. Yeh, TAITRA President and CEO

Taiwan’s External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) is on a mission to accelerate the development of the country’s IT industry as it moves up the value chain. By developing and fostering a powerful in-country technology ecosystem, TAITRA is positioning Taiwan as a global innovation centre that can drive the development of complex technology solutions. In a recent interview with Channel EMEA, Walter M. S. Yeh, TAITRA President and CEO, explained how Taiwan already offers much more than just manufacturing excellence.

InnoVEX expansion

Taiwan’s IT industry continues to evolve from its early prowess in hardware technology to creating some of today’s most innovative AI, robotics, and IoT innovations. This transition has also seen TAITRA reach out to technology start-ups from around the world to promote how Taiwan’s technology ecosystem can assist in their development. Start-up show InnoVEX is now a core part of COMPUTEX Taipei, bringing start-ups from around the word.

Yeh commented: “For the last two years, InnoVEX has brought in start-ups from many countries and TAITRA ensures they meet partners who can cooperate with them – it could be as an investor or as a manufacturer. We have many manufacturers that want to find new start-ups and identify the latest innovations in the market. This year we hope to bring in more than 300 companies to InnoVEX.”

Sourcing services

Yeh added: “The challenge for global start-ups who land in Taiwan would be how to work with Taiwan manufacturers to expand their market scale. With a database of over 60,000 Taiwanese companies, TAITRA offers sourcing services for international start-ups looking to partner with Taiwanese start-ups or cooperate with Taiwanese enterprises to expand in global markets.”

Taiwan’s drive to move up the IT value chain is predicated on a clear understanding that genuine solutions built on a combination of services, software, applications and hardware are now a necessity in terms of staying ahead of the curve in a globalised IT environment.

“There is still some way to go, but the trend is for most Taiwan companies to transform from pure manufacturing. The manufacturing skills remain very important, but apps and solutions are being added into the skill set. With IoT, there is the drive to make the devices smarter and create the solutions required for smart living,” explained Yeh.

Trading nation

Taiwan continues to punch above its weight in terms of its international trade, with imports and exports value running at approximately US$580 billion a year. The country is keen to invite start-ups to see first-hand the benefits of engaging with Taiwan’s IT ecosystem. TAITRA plays a key role arranging tours for start-ups and visits to accelerators, incubators and venture capital firms that can assist with company growth and development.

Yeh added: “There are many kinds of accelerators or incubators in Taiwan. We have accelerators that focus on e-commerce, for example, App Works. There are other accelerators that focus on helping start-ups to cooperate with large enterprises. We also have accelerators who invest start-ups, such as Taiwan Accelerator and CDIB capital innovation accelerator. As well as accelerators who provide soft-landing programme, such as Garage+.”

Taiwan has implemented a favourable visa scheme for start-ups wishing to access the country’s IT ecosystem. InnoVEX continues to attract hundreds of start-ups to Taipei and forms part of TAITRA’s long-terms strategy to develop and embrace growing business opportunities in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI) and IoT.

Outward looking

TAITRA also continues to play a major role in helping Taiwan-based brands reach out to global markets through initiatives such as the Taiwan excellence Awards and the Taiwan Industry Image Enhancement Project (IEP), which aims to enhance the innovative image of Taiwanese industry.

“We focus on helping Taiwanese brands reach certain criteria in terms of R&D, design, product quality and marketing and then we help them access global markets. Made in Taiwan is now seen as a mark of quality and reliability across many different product categories,” added Yeh.

“With the rise of AI and IoT, Taiwan is shifting to an innovation-driven economy. To accelerate innovation, TAITRA provides an integrated platform for Taiwanese start-ups to expand their global reach,” Yeh stated.

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June, 2021

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