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Meet Taipei Startup Festival kicks off at Nangang Exhibition Center

Asia’s largest tech startup festival brings together entrepreneurs, international investors, officials

Meet Taipei Startup Festival gets underway. (CNA photo) 

Meet Taipei Startup Festival gets underway. (CNA photo) 

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) —Asia's largest tech startup festival, organized by Meet Taipei, celebrated its 10th anniversary with a packed crowd at Nangang Exhibition Center Hall 2 on Thursday (Nov. 30).

As long lines formed in the morning, extra security checks were needed for Vice President Lai Ching-te (賴清德) and Taipei Mayor Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安). Their presence underscored the importance of the event for Taiwan’s economy.

"Wander in the Challenges” is this year’s theme, and organizers made space for over 400 exhibitors representing the local tech ecosystem, along with 100 foreign delegations. They said the event is akin to a trade show for new ideas or a showground for entrepreneurs.

Over three days (Nov. 30–Dec. 2), startups will participate in non-stop conferences, “matchmaking” events with foreign venture capitalists, competitions in front of local judges, and “show and tell” activities.

To kick off the exhibition this year, a musical performance was provided by Entrepreneur Band, which is composed of members with a tech startup background. When the band performed Lim Giong's (林強) popular song "Marching Forward (向前走)," nearly everyone in the audience was clapping and singing along.

Meet Taipei Startup Festival kicks off at Nangang Exhibition Center
Vice President Lai Ching-te (left) shakes hands with Taipei Mayor Chiang Wan-an (right).

When Mayor Chiang took the stage, he said the group might consider playing at the Taipei Dome now that the facility has been formally opened. Chiang congratulated Meet Taipei for hosting the event for 10 consecutive years, even during the pandemic.

“We have two goals. The first is making Taipei a 'founder-friendly' city and potentially linking with other Asian cities like Singapore, Seoul, and Fukuoka in a passport-type program where founders can share resources. The second goal is to make Taipei an AI-driven smart city. In March, we will host a smart city exhibition and hope to use AI to develop new programs that will help our city planning,” said Chiang.

In addition, Lai said he was delighted that a vice president has attended the event for the past 10 years. “I am proud that many people have entrepreneurial spirit in Taiwan,” said Lai.

“For many young people, Taipei is like a dream that they aspire toward. For this reason, it is very important, and I want to help young people and everyone else fulfill their dreams,” Lai continued. He said a strong, enthusiastic entrepreneurial culture has brought job opportunities to Taiwan.

Lai outlined the government’s desire to transform Taipei into an innovation center but said other concerns are equally pressing. “We face other challenges, such as climate change. With the COP 28 Summit beginning today, President Tsai (蔡英文) has shown a commitment to sustainability goals and net-carbon goals," he said.