Taiwan eyes world-leading position in smart technology industry

The government intends to make Taiwan a world leader in smart technology, capturing opportunities in the industry that will propel the economy to new levels

The government intends to make Taiwan a world leader in smart technology, capturing opportunities in the industry that will propel the economy to new levels, Premier Lin Chuan said at the Strategic Review Board meeting for the smart system and chip industry, a three-day conference ending today that attracted over 1,000 participants.

Taiwan has relied on its outstanding hardware industry to push the economy higher for many years, and it will look to software technology to provide the pulling force in the future, the premier told the conference, organized by the Executive Yuan’s Office of Science and Technology. To begin with, the government will improve the environment for open data, cybersecurity, testbeds, and human resources development, attracting the best and the brightest to carve out Taiwan’s advantages in the smart technology revolution.

Minister without Portfolio Wu Tsung-Tsong said the government has included intelligent networks, unmanned vehicles and other pioneering digital technologies as major R&D projects in the “DIGI+” or Digital Nation and Innovative Economic Development Plan approved late last year. The plan will invest NT$14 billion (US$459.2 million) into smart technology projects next year, with total investments by 2025 expected to reach NT$100 billion (US$3.3 billion).

Another NT$12 billion (US$393.6 million) has been earmarked for smart technologies under the digital infrastructure component of the government’s Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program, Wu continued. These projects will include cloud services, big data computation platforms, internets of things for public services, and science park bases for smart robot innovators and makers.

Kuo Yau-hwang, executive secretary of the Office of Science and Technology, said the government envisions several overall objectives for smart technology by 2025:

• Core smart technologies will enable Taiwan to produce its own smart computing software and artificial intelligence (AI) powered devices, making Taiwan a global leader in this niche. • Different types of open environments for smart innovation and experimentation will be created, helping government and businesses go digital, and raising Taiwan’s smart technology utilization rate to among the world’s highest. • The industry will cultivate and recruit more than 10,000 specialists for smart technologies, nurture 100 new companies, and strengthen Taiwan’s work force for digital innovation and industrial transformation. • Taiwan will leverage its advantages and international resources to become a global hub for AI innovation and R&D, secure a key position in the worldwide industrial value chain, and turn AI into a key engine for economic growth.

All resolutions from this week’s conference will be incorporated into the government’s industrial blueprint, and an interministerial action plan for accelerating development of the smart technology industry will be compiled by late September, Kuo said.

Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Hsu Yu-chin said Taiwan boasts excellent manufacturing and design capabilities for information and communications technology (ICT), a complete industrial value chain and industrial clusters for ICT, and academic and research institutions that have years of experience in AI development. The government will encourage closer interdisciplinary cooperation going forward, bringing all sectors together in promoting smart applications and solutions and building innovative ecosystems.

This includes providing public testbeds, developing a privacy and cybersecurity framework, evaluating and promoting open access to national health insurance records, training epidemiologists and other interdisciplinary professionals, raising the entire salary structure, attracting world-class AI specialists, creating an innovation and entrepreneurship environment for young people, and attracting teams with international potential to work in Taiwan, Hsu said.