TAIPEI (Taiwan News)—Speakers made different suggestions on how Taiwan can improve the startup environment to make it easier for young entrepreneurs to launch their own businesses, at the 2017 Asia Silicon Valley International Summit Forum that took place at Lyon Grand Ballroom at South Garden Hotels and Resorts at Taoyuan City on Tuesday.
There is a general consensus among Taiwan’s private and public sectors that the nation needs to prioritize R&D and innovation for the country to move forward, but many innovative startups are discouraged by the wall of stringent regulations.
“Regulations remain the biggest obstacles for startups,” commented Asia Silicon Valley Development Agency Chief Investment Officer David Weng (翁嘉盛).
Weng, who worked in California’s Silicon Valley for six years, before becoming an angel investor, pointed out there is room for startup regulation improvements in Taiwan.
“This is a very complicated topic, how can the Company Act be amended?” said Weng. “Should we use the regulation sandbox to encourage innovation?”
He also noted the lack of angel investment culture in the country, which he hopes to change through his own experience of investing in 80 companies
Angel investors are defined by Weng as friends and family members of startup founders, or other successful investors that are willing to share their experience to help the new company.
“It is difficult for startups to acquire venture capital in Taiwan because investors are usually unsatisfied with the return of investments (ROI), which they think is too slow,” he added.
Compared to the U.S, Weng noted there are insufficient tax incentives for Taiwan startups.
“In U.S. startups can receive around 10 percent tariffs,” said Weng.
Human talent, funding, and government regulations remain the biggest obstacles for startups, agreed I-Chien Jan (詹益鑑), founder and CEO of Fitmily Sports Tech (體適家運動科技).
Jan, who had been a professor earlier in his career, noted Taiwan’s education system does not encourage students to be creative.
To prepare for the international market developments, especially exporting products to Southeast Asia learning languages, such as becoming fluent in English, the global business language, will be increasingly important.
“In Taiwan, people tend to have a mindset that possessing something valuable is more important than creating something valuable,” observed Jan.
As technology advances, traditionally high-valued products are quickly replaced with lower priced products, which requires more R&D and innovation to create highly valued products, he added.
He also pointed out the disconnection between academic and industry, where most professors were unfamiliar with brand marketing, and enterprises unwillingness to offer internships to help prepare students for the business world.
Finally, Jan commented Taiwan cannot become a “self-claimed silicon island,” and needs to explore sectors where the nation can excel better in where Chinese companies cannot catch up.