Taiwan has strategic value in the US-China battle over 5G tech: expert

Manufacturers must take care if partnering with Chinese firms, however

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A MediaTek smartphone processor (Flickr/Pascal Volk)

A MediaTek smartphone processor (Flickr/Pascal Volk)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — An innovative research expert believes Taiwan’s excellence in the field of 5G technology is an asset in today’s political climate.

Research director at the ITRI Industrial Economics and Knowledge Center Ray Yang (楊瑞臨) said the ongoing U.S.-China trade war is tense, and competition over 5G network implementation is stepping up.

Both sides are vying to collaborate with Taiwan’s electronic chip and mobile device manufacturers, he said, therefore they hold important strategic value.

A survey from German market analysis platform IPlytics GmbH indicates Taiwanese semiconductor developer MediaTek is one of the world’s top 20 contributors to 5G technology. Approval ratings of its 5G services are the third highest among all global providers, UDN reports.

Yang said the fact that an important meeting of the 3GPP (a global standard-setting telecom initiative) took place in Taiwan at the end of January signifies the country’s strength in the 5G field has gained international recognition.

MediaTek is set to roll out its first 5G system-on-chip this year. The company has helped Taiwan already gain a substantial voice in global 5G standards, said Yang.

The research director pointed out 5G development is not just related to mobile phones but has close ties with other emerging fields such as self-driving cars, drones, smart manufacturing, medical treatment and smart city development. It has now become a site of fierce competition between nations, he said, noting U.S. administrative orders barring domestic industries from using Chinese-manufactured telecom equipment.

Yang believes regardless of how relations between the U.S. and China develop, both sides need a supply chain. Taiwan’s manufacturers are more and more likely to be the target of both parties, he said.

Because of this, commented Yang, Taiwanese manufacturers must enhance their value. Although, he said, they must pay careful attention when cooperating with China to avoid the proliferation of patented technology.