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Taiwan’s Asian Silicon Valley project to boost local startups

Taiwan’s Asian Silicon Valley aims to facilitate local startup growth

Jamie Lin, founder of Taiwanese startup AppWorks posing with the company logo.

Jamie Lin, founder of Taiwanese startup AppWorks posing with the company logo. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News)—Taiwan's Asian Silicon Valley project aims to foster the nation's domestic startups by offering more resources to entrepreneurs, said Minister of Economic Affairs Chih-Kung Lee (李世光) during the opening of 2017 Asia Silicon Valley International Summit Forum at Taoyuan City on Tuesday.

In addition, to seeking aid from foreign investments and companies, MOEA plans to form three large domestic enterprises, by merging small semiconductor, IoT, and self-driving car companies to compete with global players, said Lee.

“We are still in the early stages of the Asian Silicon Valley project, and evaluating the potential jobs it will generate,” he added.

The country will implement the Asian Silicon Valley plan under a one ecosystem framework incorporating all universities, enterprises, and startups because IoT is a brand new service, said Asia Silicon Valley Development Agency Chief Investment Officer David Weng (翁嘉盛).

Taiwan has been very effective at cost-down manufacturing, and traditionally strong in hardware, sensors, IC, data collection, but there is a rift between software and hardware integration, as well as a gap in connecting local manufacturers with international companies.

The summit held Tuesday in Taoyuan City, where the Asia Silicon Valley is based, is part of the government’s efforts to help local companies network with global technology giants such as Cisco and Siemens.

“We cannot replicate or transfer the U.S. Silicon Valley model in Taiwan, but we can make the Asian Silicon Valley a networking platform with the U.S. one," said Taoyuan City Mayor Wen-Tsan Cheng (鄭文燦).

Taoyuan will become the first pilot smart city in Taiwan, and started testing smart connected Light Emitting Diode lighting systems to monitor streetlight conditions.

“The ecosystem is based on IoT, we also want the younger generation to look into startups, so innovation is a key part in driving economic growth of the Asian Silicon Valley," said Weng.

To accomplish this, the government intends to use a one ecosystem framework to incorporate all universities, enterprises, and bring in startups into the integration because IoT is a very new service.

Universities are included because of the disconnection between academia and the industry since institute researchers are unfamiliar with market demands, said I-Chien Jan (詹益鑑), founder and CEO of Fitmily Sports Tech (體適家運動科技).

How to engage enterprises and help them scale up under the ecosystem, while working as a team will be the main challenge, observed Lee.

"We have invited 130 companies in Taiwan," he added.

Local small and middle-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be included in the new Asian Silicon Valley plan, the government intends to offer innovative funds, government venture capital and angel funds to assist enterprises that intend to transform their business model, said Lee.

"We hope local SMEs will have a chance to blossom into large enterprises under the Asian Silicon Valley Project," said Cheng.