Speaking at a special AmCham Taipei luncheon on April 7, Premier Simon San-cheng Chang stressed the importance of innovation and the success of Taiwanese startups for Taiwan’s economic prosperity.
He noted that Taiwan has many of the attributes needed to become a Startup Nation and a hub for Taiwanese startups:
- Quality human resources
- High-quality education, especially in science, math and IT
- Strong foundation in ICT infrastructure
- Ideal market size for pilot trials
- No. 5 in U.S. patents registered
But two major obstacles need to be overcome:
- A domestic market that is too small to nurture sufficient growth
- Local venture capitalists that are reluctant to invest in early-stage Taiwanese startups
Chang expressed optimism that Taiwan has the potential to become an innovation hub for the Asia-Pacific region, but it must look beyond its own shores to tap international opportunities.
In recent years, the government has sought to help promote Taiwanese startups through various initiatives:
- Support for incubators/accelerators – for example, the Ministry of Science and Technology’s “From IP to IPO” program and the National Development Council’s “Taiwan Startup Stadium” bootcamps.
- Investment in venture capital funds designed to get international VCs involved in the Taiwan market.
- Support for regional startup shows, such as MOSA and the “Meet Taipei Startup Carnival 2015.”
The key to future success will be tapping the research potential in Taiwan’s academic institutions as a seedbed for innovation and startups.