U.S. Data Privacy Law and Legal Trends

Data privacy is becoming more important than ever as new laws are taking effect in the U.S. and across the globe. At the same time, enterprises are expected to meet data protection compliance. Organizations that are non-compliant with laws and regulations surrounding privacy protection are facing tens of millions, even billions of dollars in fines.

As business operations become more data-centric, the need for enhancing data protection and keeping sensitive information secure will continue to increase. To help companies protect against cyber security breaches, AmCham Taipei’s Technology Committee invited Eric Ubias, Managing Partner of Ubias Law PLLC, to discuss developing legal requirements and preventative measures at a seminar held at the Chamber’s Lincoln Room.

Ubias introduced some of the recent U.S. Federal Trade Commission enforcement actions against large corporations, and outlined the most dangerous types of new attacks being experienced. He explained that Taiwanese companies will continue to feel the effects of increased regulatory focus on data privacy. Whether they are directly facing regulated subjects or are indirectly at risk through third-parties in the value chain, enterprises should take reasonable steps to achieve an increased level of protection. He concluded by offering a few suggestions on implementing cyber security best practices, such as ensuring that written policies and disclosures align with actual practices, conducting vendor diligence reviews, conducting training exercises, and developing incident response plans.

The Lincoln Room is made possible by the generosity of a number of sponsoring companies:

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Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation.

Health Minister Addresses Luncheon Meeting

Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-Chung addressed a range of topics related to healthcare policy in Taiwan in his remarks at an AmCham Taipei luncheon meeting at the Sherwood Taipei on July 19. The event was jointly sponsored by the Chamber’s Pharmaceutical, Medical Devices, and Public Health Committees.

In his speech, Minister Chen stressed the government’s efforts to strengthen and expand long-term care services for Taiwan’s rapidly aging population, including programs to train more personnel to help care for the elderly and to provide those specialists with better salaries. The objective is to ensure that the aged can live in as much comfort and dignity as possible. He also covered the need for increased emphasis on prevention through vaccination and other means, efforts to reduce doctor-patient disputes through malpractice insurance and no-fault compensation, and the progress achieved in drafting new medical device legislation.

During Q&A, he praised the role of multinational companies in helping to raise standards in healthcare industries and expressed the Ministry’s openness to evaluating how additional forms of therapy, such as chiropractic, can contribute to the health and well-being of the population. Chen said that no single specialty ever has all the answers. Noting that “cooperation is the root of success,” he said he is always willing to listen to other people’s point of view.

Before the luncheon, the Minister met with leaders of the three sponsoring committees. Among the topics discussed were government policy on new-drug funding and procedures for assessing new medical-device technologies. Accompanying the Minister were Director General Lee Po-Chang of the National Health Insurance Administration and Director General Wu Shou-Mei of Taiwan’s Food & Drug Administration.

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Data Visualization in Health Care Seminar

Understanding how to clearly present data is an indispensable skill for today’s medical professionals. On June 19, AmCham Taipei’s Pharmaceuticals & Public Health Joint Committee was grateful to host Ms. Katia Santome, Solution Designer of Z&A Knowledge Solutions for a seminar workshop on transforming complicated medical information into simple, clear, and valuable insight.

With attendees representing various firms from across Taiwan, participants learned to structure and visualize information using a step-by-step ideation process.

Ms. Katia Santome, an expert on information design and data visualization, encouraged participants to think about the broader message behind the data that we are intending to share. “This allows for greater intentionality around the visual we create, helping us to be both consistent and clear with our message,” she said. After deciding on a concrete idea, the presenter should focus on which details to share. This allows for intentional categorizing of ideas, which will help to make the information presented easier to understand. Thirdly, it is important to arrange key details by time, quantity, category or preference, so that the audience can convey concepts in a more simplistic way. Finally, Ms. Santome encouraged participants to focus on the structure of the data that will best demonstrate the relationship between the details. For example, while maps, charts, diagrams, or tables can convey the exact same information, these different data structures give the presentation a completely different feel.

Especially in the medical industry, professionals are tasked with condensing extremely complex and nuanced information into easily digestible concepts for presentation to students and patients alike. Ms. Santome guided participants through group discussions regarding how to make information more accessible and digestible. “Using simple processes, we can successfully condense difficult ideas into easy to understand visuals,” she noted. Ms. Santome left attendees with the following take-home messages:

  • Structure your thoughts: Make sure to get your thoughts and ideas on paper before you begin creating a visualization. Not only will this give your message consistency, but it will help save time when using digital software to create visuals.
  • Remove noise: By using icons, images, and other visual guides instead of text, participants learned how to cut down extraneous information in order to hone readers’ attention on the details that really matter. Removing text, grid-lines, and emphasizing key elements are all great ways to improve the clarity of one’s message.
  • Be creative: Only by thinking outside of the box can we fully re-structure information in meaningful ways for our audience. Using color and animation can truly elevate a presentation, making even the most complicated statistics accessible to everyone.

“Make sure you think through your ideas before you start!” Santome encouraged the audience. “Otherwise, your presentation will appear messy and inconsistent. It’s best to be intentional about how you use data visualizations”.

Feedback on the workshop was overwhelmingly positive. “This was the most practical workshop in the medical field I have attended in my entire life,” commented one participant upon the workshop’s conclusion. “The takeaways are extremely applicable — I learned so much in such a short space of time!”

Discovering Opportunities: Understanding Talent Trends

Technology has changed the dynamic for the recruitment process and workplace environment. As technology empowers employees to access and share information, more is expected from employers. Platforms such as LinkedIn, the world’s largest online website for professional and career networking, is leveraging the unique set of profile information on talent and companies to discover insights to better inform hiring decision makers.

At a recent seminar hosted by AmCham Taipei’s Human Resources Committee and entitled, “Connect to Opportunity,” Jeff Wong, Head of Sales in North Asia at LinkedIn, discussed the latest hiring trends to help HR professionals and business leaders understand recruiting strategies and ways to expand their businesses in the coming years.

In his opening, Wong shared LinkedIn’s current status of 610 million members, 30 companies, and 20 million open jobs in its network. He discussed three macrotrends: 1) AI/Automation, 2) skills gap, and 3) independent work. And he posed the question:”Since the relationship between employers and employees is fundamentally changing, how is the government or your company preparing for the future?”

Wong noted a few trends LinkedIn sees emerging in Taiwan and around the globe:

  • ABC Skills are in demand: Many global tech companies have recently invested in Taiwan and are looking for talent with ABC skills. “ABC skills”: Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, and Cloud Computing).
  • Soft skills are the biggest skills gap: Companies increasingly value soft skill sets, as they are important to the success of companies and cannot be replaced by AI and automation. The top in-demand soft skills in Taiwan are: 1) management, 2) project management, and 3) sales.
  • Rise in independent workers: 12% of Taiwan’s workforce are independent workers, including those working remotely or in shifts. Work flexibility is an important factor and people are taking this into consideration when looking for jobs.
  • Increasing competition: Taiwan is losing more talent than it is gaining, at a ratio of 1:2. The main five countries Taiwan is losing talent to are the U.S., China, Japan, Canada, and Germany. The top five countries Taiwan is gaining talent from are India, Hong Kong, South Africa, Brazil, and United Arab Emirates.

Besides the government’s efforts to attract foreign talent from abroad, Taiwan also needs to consider how to retain its local talent – especially those with R&D and engineering skills. Wong encourages companies in Taiwan to invest in talent development through continuous learning and to make learning accessible for employees.

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Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation.

Promoting Taiwan as a Liver Health Center of Excellence

Republic of China Vice President Chen Chien-jen, an epidemiologist with a background in researching hepatitis B, was the keynote speaker at the Taiwan Liver Health Forum sponsored by AmCham Taipei together with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW). The event, held at the Howard-Plaza Hotel on October 3, was attended by 90-some guests from government, the medical community, and industry.

The idea for the forum grew out of a suggestion by AmCham Taipei’s Public Health Committee in the 2018 Taiwan White Paper that Taiwan strive to become the “Liver Health Center of Excellence in Asia.” Participants in the forum confirmed the validity of that goal, citing Taiwan’s pioneering work in past decades in controlling hepatitis B through vaccination and the government’s progress toward eradicating hepatitis C in the coming decade in line with World Health Organization objectives.

Hepatitis is endemic in this part of the world, and is considered a major health risk because it often leads to liver cancer. Among the points made by speakers at the forum were the importance of increasing the amount of screening conducted in Taiwan for hepatitis C. Although the effort would lead to higher healthcare expenditures in the near term, in the long-run it will substantially save costs due to reduced hospitalization and mortality, as well as heightened productivity.

Speakers also called for further expansion of clinical trials in Taiwan, more public education to raise awareness regarding liver health, and workplace programs to encourage more screening.

Opening remarks at the forum were delivered by AIT Director W. Brent Christensen and MOHW Deputy Minister Ho Chi-kung. In his half-hour keynote address, Vice President used a PowerPoint presentation to brief the audience on Taiwan’s past successes in combating liver disease. Other speakers were Dr. Kao Jia-horng, president of the Taiwan Association for the Study of the Liver; Dr. Pwu Raoh-fang, director of the MOHW National Hepatitis C Program Office; Dr. Homie Razavi, managing director of the U.S. Center for Disease Analysis; and Dr. Chiu Chang-fang, vice president of China Medical University Hospital.

Two panel discussions were moderated by Ramanathan Velayutham, Taiwan general manager for AbbVie Biopharmaceutical, and Pang Lai-li, Taiwan managing director for Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD), respectively. Aside from the speakers, the panelists included Dr. Lee Po-chang, director-general of the National Health Insurance Administration; and Bristol-Myers Squibb General Manager Sophia Lee. AmCham Taipei President William Foreman gave closing remarks.

Platinum sponsors for the event were Abbvie, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Gilead Sciences. MSD was a silver sponsor.

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Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation.

Amendments to the Company Act

Recognizing the need to enhance Taiwan’s business environment to stay competitive in the global market, the Tsai administration has enacted a series of ambitious policy changes and legal amendments aimed at stimulating innovation and growth. Most fundamental to these goals are the sweeping changes made to the Company Act, Taiwan’s basic law governing business operations, that were passed by the Legislative Yuan in a late session on July 5 and promulgated into law on August 1.

To help AmCham members and guests better understand the scale and implications of these amendments, AmCham Taipei’s Tax Committee invited Chen Yen-po, Executive Specialist with the Department of Commerce under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), to host an explanatory seminar in the Chamber’s Lincoln Room on September 13. Chen and the MOEA worked closely not only with the Legislative Yuan but also the private sector, including business professionals, legal experts, and academics, on enacting the amendments. Chen noted that 148 articles to the Company Act were amended, with at least four articles deleted and replaced.

From left to right: Chen Yen-po, Executive Specialist with the Department of Commerce under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) and AmCham Taipei’s Insurance Committee Co-Chair Dylan Tyson, President & CEO, Prudential Life Insurance Company of Taiwan Inc.

Key amendments are intended to:

  • Enhance business transparency by clarifying reporting obligations and abolishing anonymous “bearer shares.”
  • Improve the environment for startups by permitting the issuance of non-par-value shares, as well as permitting multiple distribution of cash dividends throughout the year.
  • Enable greater flexibility in business operations by furthering the gradual digitalization of documentation, increasing the range of rewards possible for talent, and reducing restrictions on directorships.
  • Strengthen shareholder protections by amending rules on shareholder meetings and the nomination of directors.
  • Improve corporate governance through enhancing disclosure requirements and access to shareholder rosters.
  • Allow the registration of company names in English so as to help foster international business operations and branding.

Chen added that the MOEA is currently in the process of developing the regulatory framework that will see these amendments enter into force. His presentation was followed by a lively Q&A session.

The Lincoln Room is made possible by the generosity of a number of sponsoring companies:

Interested in attending our events? Join us at other upcoming events, click here.

Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation. 

CSR Forum Focuses on Social Enterprises

Describing social enterprises as an “important part of Taiwan’s soft power,” Audrey Tang, Taiwan’s Digital Minister, hailed their ability to meld the pursuit of social interests and business profits – forces usually thought of as being in conflict – to facilitate the search for common shared values and solutions. She made her remarks as the keynote speaker at the 2018 edition of AmCham Taipei’s annual CSR Forum, sponsored by JTI Taiwan and held at the Grand Hyatt Taipei.

Social enterprises are defined as organizations that apply business solutions to social problems.

“Treat social issues as opportunities, not roadblocks,” advised Tang. “And no matter what you do, seek to build off of the energy of those around you.”

Other speakers at the forum were Sabrina Chen, CEO of Flow Inc., the first Taiwanese social enterprise; Stephanie Chan, CEO of Blueseeds, producer of 100% environmentally friendly household products; and Jianjia “Ajia” Gong, founder and Veterinary Officer of Pure Milk Ltd., a platform that connects dairy farmers and consumers.

Chen introduced Flow’s efforts to assist the disabled after rounds of interviewing people with disabilities showed that unemployment levels in this segment of the population are much higher than government statistics indicate. She noted that the disabled fall into one of three categories:

“They’re either functional enough to get jobs, so dysfunctional they qualify for government support, or they’re in between and neglected.”

This third group became Flow’s target population. “They very much want to work, and they are able to,” said Chen. “But they’re being displaced in [the service] industry, where they are competing with other disadvantaged people – those with low income, the elderly, and young people with little education. We asked ourselves: ‘What kinds of tech won’t become obsolete? How can we create opportunities where the weak don’t displace the weak?’ You need something that is sustainable and scalable.”

After some investigation, she settled on offering services in Building Information Modeling (BIM) as Flow’s first effort to provide employment opportunities for the disabled. “It’s the process of building a digital representation of a physical structure before you start building the actual thing,” Chen explains. She notes that you “need a group of people to do it, it’s a skill that can be learned, and it’s something that will always be necessary.”

Stressing the need for social enterprises to be financially viable, Stephanie Chan discussed Blueseeds’ difficult first three years when it was rapidly burning cash. “Because we want to stick to both 100% natural products and production processes, we can’t rely on standard farming practices that involve pesticides and heavy machinery,” she explained. “So our work is labor intensive, and our product was being eaten up by the birds and insects in the ecosystem.”

Cautioning persistence, she notes that many organic farmers give up within the first three years. In Blueseeds’ case, it only became profitable after three years, and since then the return on investment has been high. The message: perseverance pays off.

The advice from Pure Milk’s Gong was that “growth will come organically if you find the right partners with similar values.” But you “have to take time to understand what potential partners value, since sometimes what people say they value is different from what they really do.” For Pure Milk the key values are taking proper care of the dairy cows, practicing eco-friendly farming, and producing milk of the highest quality.

Gong said the idea for starting Pure Milk came after he noticed the large disparity in how well dairy farms were managed in Taiwan, yet “milk from farms that pay attention to animal welfare and environmental protection was worth the same as milk from farms that don’t.” The enterprise is partnering with four farms that share its high standards, helping them market their product to ensure they receive the return they deserve.

“As it turns out,” says Gong, pampered animals produce better milk.”

From left to right: AmCham’s CSR Committee Co-Chair Lume Liao, Deputy Secretary-General, Association of Chain and Franchise Promotion; Aga (龔建嘉), Founder and Veterinarian of I Love Milk (鮮乳坊); Stephanie Chan, Chief Executive Officer of Blueseeds (芙彤園); Audrey Tang, Minister without Portfolio of the Executive Yuan; Sabrina Chen, Chief Executive Officer of Flow (若水); CSR Committee Co-Chair Fupei Wang, Managing Director of Ogilvy PR; and AmCham Taipei President William Foreman.

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Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation.

Deep Learning: Changing the Game for Problem Solving

Amidst the “machine-learning revolution,” information processing plays a crucial role in transforming products and services to shape a better world. In recent years, machine learning has not only accelerated how technology impacts consumers, it has also created profound solutions for society-wide problems. Leading tech companies such as Google are heavily invested in artificial intelligence (AI) with teams dedicated to research and development of computing systems, which involves understanding of data science, modeling, and distributed computation techniques.

On July 6, AmCham Taipei’s Technology Committee hosted a luncheon presentation at the Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel by Ed Chi, Principal Scientist and Research Lead at Google AI, on the subject of “How Advances in Deep Learning are Changing How We Solve Problems.

From left to right: AmCham Taipei Governor Anita Chen, Head of Public Policy and Government Affairs, Google Taiwan; AmCham President William Foreman; AmCham’s Technology Committee Co-Chair, Hans Huang, Vice President, Corning Display Technologies Taiwan; Speaker Ed Chi, Principal Scientist and Research Lead, Google AI; and AmCham’s Governor and Technology Committee Co-Chair, Revital Golan, CEO, Anemone Ventures.

Chi cited a few examples of machine-learning applications that are transforming industries and how we live:

  • Improving traffic and transportation conditions by enabling Google’s self-driving cars to “see” with a 3% error rate.
  • Preventing diseases through early intervention using automated analysis of retinal imaging.
  • Improving healthcare services by using medical records to make predictions about patients’ health and identify risks.
  • Aiding the design of new medicines by using neural simulation to understand how molecules interact with one another.
  • Enabling better communication by utilizing neural machine translation to learn over time how to produce real-time voice translations that sound more natural and human-like.

In closing, Chi highlighted that Taiwan’s robust semiconductor supply chain industry will be critical in the machine-learning revolution. With its cutting-edge technology and rich history in semiconductor manufacturing, Taiwan is well positioned to take the lead in fostering advancements in machine learning and growing trends in AI, he said.

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Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation.

境外電商跨境銷售電子勞務課徵所得稅法令介紹

AmCham Taipei Tax Committee held a luncheon on July 5 at the Regent Taipei.

境外電商跨境銷售電子勞務課徵所得稅法令介紹– this event was conducted in Mandarin.

近年來電子商務交易成長快速,頻繁的網路交易、或跨境交易除對傳統產業帶來衝擊外,亦使現行的課稅制度臨嚴峻的挑戰。

臺灣財政部於107年1月2日發布2號解釋令,針對外國營利事業跨境銷售電子勞務之來源收入認定、所得計算、申報繳納程序等制定課稅規範。

本次擬針對前開新頒法令進行專題簡報,以介紹相關規定。

When: July 5, 2018 (12 PM – 2 PM)

Where: Regent Taipei, 4F VIP 1  / 台北晶華酒店 貴賓廳 一 4F

Speaker: 林聖慧 股長 / 財政部臺北國稅局

From left to right: AmCham Taipei Tax Committee Co-Chair Josephine Peng, Senior Counselor, Lee and Li, Attorneys-at-Law; Speaker 林聖慧 股長 財政部臺北國稅局; Tax Committee Co-Chair Cheli Liaw, Partner, Deloitte & Touche

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Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation.

Strengthening Intellectual Property Protection

Taiwan’s economic growth has long benefited from substantial foreign direct investment, especially since Taiwan is an important hub in the high-technology sector. In an effort to continue attracting foreign investment and collaboration, particularly on advanced technologies, the Taiwan Intellectual Property Office (TIPO) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs has been working continuously to optimize IP protection and establish a sound IP environment.

AmCham Taipei’s Intellectual Property & Licensing Committee invited Hong Shu-min, TIPO’s Director-General, to share with attendees TIPO’s initiatives to improve IP protection. The Chinese-language luncheon program was entitled “不斷前進的智慧財產局” (“Continuously Strengthen IPR Protection”) and was held on June 22 at the Sherwood Taipei.

Director-General Hong’s presentation noted that the volume of patent application numbers had been in decline over the past few years. Last year, however, TIPO reported a 2% increase over the previous year, receiving a total of 73,791 patent applications. Besides giving an overview of Taiwan’s patent and trademark application status, Hong cited TIPO’s efforts to reduce patent backlogs, improve examination quality, and strengthen trade secret protection.

From left to right: Hong Shu-min, Director General of TIPO, Ministry of Economic Affairs and AmCham Intellectual Property and Licensing Committee Co-Chair Peter J. Dernbach, Partner, Winkler Partners

The Director-General explained various programs supported by the government to assist the private sector with IPR protection:

  • Training and coursework designed to help companies with application procedures, and consultation services to help companies develop corporate IP strategies.
  • The operation of regional service offices in Hsinchu, Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung to provide guidance to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
  • A one-stop shop website developed to educate and inform SMEs about protecting their IP through online resources.
  • A platform that provides information on Southeast Asian countries’ Intellectual Property Rights, as well as guidance to companies looking to expand into emerging markets.

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Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation.