As the world enters the post-pandemic era, its economy is undergoing a digital transformation expected to create an output of US$120 trillion by 2030, according to the World Economic Forum.
To ensure that Taiwan is at the forefront of this evolution, the Taiwan government’s National Development Council (NDC) has begun updating and adapting its development plans through the Six Core Strategic Industries initiative and the recently updated Asia Silicon Valley Development Plan (ASVDP).
It has also attracted global companies like Google, Amazon AWS, and Microsoft to build centers for innovation and R&D on the island, among other impressive results.
The Six Core Strategic Industries initiative, first announced by President Tsai Ing-wen during her 2020 inauguration, is set to transform Taiwan into a dynamic force within the global economy. Building on the 5+2 plan, Six Core seeks to enhance Taiwan’s information and digital technology, cybersecurity, biotech and medical technology, national defense, green and renewable energy, and strategic stockpile industries.
Under this program, the NDC is cooperating with several other ministries to implement a comprehensive strategy that includes establishing a Taiwanese brand, providing flexible and diversified financial support, creating a safe industrial development environment, and recruiting and cultivating bilingual professionals and digital talents.
In addition to bolstering these core industries, the NDC strongly emphasizes the importance of improving long-term care, childcare, and housing justice to ensure the simultaneous and holistic development of society and industry. Other key focus areas include strengthening Taiwan’s national defense capabilities and promoting the New Southbound Policy.
By collaborating with cities and industrial parks in these countries, Taiwan can cultivate links in technology, trade, and culture, as well as share resources, talents, and markets, to create mutually beneficial models for cooperation.
Through swift and effective implementation of its strategy, the NDC expects Taiwan to gain a first-mover advantage to capitalize on opportunities created by the reorganization of global supply chains in the post-pandemic era. According to the NDC, these efforts are projected to result in an economic growth rate of 2.6-3.4% over the coming four years, with unemployment kept below 4%.
Accelerating startups with ASVDP
The Asia Silicon Valley Development Plan (ASVDP), launched in 2016, has exceeded expectations regarding its digitalization of Taiwan’s industries and its creation of international linkages. Five years later, ASVDP 2.0 was launched to take Taiwanese innovation to the next level.
The NDC formulated the ASVDP 2.0 after collecting the suggestions of nearly 100 startups and studying global industry trends and development issues. Based on the information gathered, several strategies were implemented to assist startup exits, facilitate corporate investments in new ventures, and expand startups into global markets.
The National Development Council’s promotion of ASVDP 2.0 aims to help 200 startups succeed, facilitate the diversified exits of 40 startups, cultivate three system integration companies at an international level, and export 20 AIoT solutions. The project’s goal is to reach 5% of global IoT share by 2025.
To enable free creative flow, the NDC has worked to remove barriers for innovation and growth in Taiwan. After the council found that previous visa rules and operating procedures for foreign professionals looking to relocate to Taiwan were considered daunting and complicated, it began advocating amendments to the Act for the Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professionals to streamline the visa application process. Those amendments were passed by the Legislative Yuan in July 2021.
To further attract foreign talent, NDC is actively promoting the Employment Gold Card, also known as the “four-in-one” visa as it provides successful applicants with a resident visa, Alien Resident Certificate (ARC), a multiple entry permit, and an open work permit. So far, 3,111 gold cards have been issued up to August 31, 2021.
For local entrepreneurs, the Asia Silicon Valley Academy was set up in collaboration with Google, Microsoft, and other international companies to offer courses covering AI, big data, IoT, innovation, and entrepreneurship. The Asia Silicon Valley Development Agency, the body charged with overseeing ASVDP 2.0, additionally collaborates with Draper University in Silicon Valley to organize the Hero Training, sending Taiwanese students to the U.S. to train and build connections within the international venture capital market.
The NDC recognizes that those who engage in the challenging fields of innovation and entrepreneurship are the driving force behind industrial transformation and technological upgrades. ASVDP 2.0 will build an infrastructure that encourages new ventures, provides diverse assistance in the forms of talent cultivation, regulations, technology, and funding, and supports startups in their journey to become a core part of Taiwan’s industry.