Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je Addresses AmCham Luncheon

AmCham Taiwan welcomed Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je to speak at its second Meet the Mayor luncheon event held at the Grand Hyatt Taipei. Mayor Ko spoke to a full house of members and their guests on his government’s smart city initiatives and post-pandemic transformation.

Mayor Ko began by recognizing Taiwan’s success in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and highlighted the fact that Taiwan was one of the few nations in the world to experience positive economic growth in 2020. He noted that Taiwan succeeded not only in keeping virus cases low but minimizing the pandemic’s effects on the everyday lives of citizens and residents. Ko pointed to the lessons Taiwan learned from the 2003 SARS outbreak, which played a huge role in the island’s superb handling of the current virus.

The mayor then shifted his focus to the main topic of his presentation, noting that Taipei still trails behind other cities in its smart city transformation. He said that promoting wider use of cashless payment methods and the TaipeiPASS – a card and mobile application used for public transportation and e-payments – are some of the main objectives of the Taipei City government’s technology integration strategy. A top-down approach to systemic implementation beginning with key social groups will help deliver policy objectives effectively, explained Ko.

Ko also discussed extensively the importance of smart education. He cited historic correlations between internet accessibility and academic performance to illustrate the need for digitalized education. Ko said great efforts by the city government have led to tangible results visible throughout Taipei’s classrooms.

Furthermore, Mayor Ko touched on the feasibility of investing in autonomous buses, not only in Taipei but throughout Taiwan. Ko explained that Taipei is well-suited for developing autonomous bus systems given the city’s well-established public transportation infrastructure. He also touched on 5G technologies for delivering medicine and U.S.-Taiwan collaboration on building high-tech talent pools.

The mayor ended by stressing the need to adopt risk-management approaches to policymaking in the post-pandemic world and the urgency to improve digital infrastructure for smart city transformation.

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