Is Taiwan Capable Of Becoming Asia's Silicon Valley?

Taiwan is set to become a game-changer in innovation after increasing its interest in developing the sector


The era of innovation in Taiwan has started relatively recently. It was a transition to a knowledge-based economy, where enterprises could reveal their potential in the tech industry. With the help of IT, e-commerce and the Internet, enterprises acquired a new operating model which increased efficiency and productivity. Things really started to get moving in 2002, when Taiwan joined the WTO and became part of a global industrialized system.

In 2008, the promotion of innovation-oriented policy began and that boosted R&D spend, indicating Taiwan's serious intentions to build a strong innovative sector. The appearance of the Nankang Software Incubation Center, Southern Science Incubation Center and Nankang Biotech Incubation Center created a target for SMEs working towards a high-value business environment. To make sure that nothing disrupted these process and investments, Taiwan signed a Bilateral Investment Agreement (BIA) with Japan in 2011, which covered investment promotion, investment protection, and investment liberalization. And finally, the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement has secured the regional economic recognition of Taiwan in East Asia.

This policy was already beginning to pay dividends by 2012 when Taiwan-based companies were responsible for the production of 46% of all desktop PCs and 89% of all notebooks, globally. However, weak currencies along with the political instability and delayed projects continue to negatively affect the sector in 2016, seeing drops in the number of global shipments. Due to these drops both the government and the private sector have started to search for new ideas, focusing more on retaining innovation processes, with particular focus on Virtual Reality technology.

The gaming industry has created a buzz amongst investors and consumers with the potential for Virtual Reality integration within the gaming process. Taiwanese XPEC Entertainment is helping to drive the development of VR gaming software, and it has recently become the first Taiwanese company to obtain a PS4 VR certification from Sony, for instance. On the day the PS4 VR hit the market, XPEC Entertainment released its VR game 'Oh!My Genesis' which was warmly welcomed by both critics and gamers.

Every year, Taiwan's capital, Taipei, welcomes tech giants to exhibit at its Computex Taipei event. This year the event brought Acer, Asus, Audi, Samsung, Siemens, BenQ and more to cover 4 main themes: IoT applications, business solutions, innovation and startups, and gaming. During the event, VR-orientated companies wowed visitors with VR parachuting and bird flight simulators. The purpose wasn’t just to show off, but also to analyze whether new products are viable and boost Taipei's prospects of becoming the innovation capital of Asia. The events also make it a great location for future investments, making it attractive to tech giants and the startup community.

It looks like Taiwan is moving in the right direction and has every chance of becoming a prototype of Silicon Valley in Asia. The government even uses VR technology during the parliament debates. Recently, the Premier of the Republic of China Lin Chuan and the opposition legislator Huang Kuo-chang both tried VR goggles and discussed the future of technology. During the conversation, Huang Kuo-chang suggested that Taiwan should focus more on the VR development, with Lin Chuan saying that his government is seeking to turn Taiwan into Asia's Silicon Valley in the near future.

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