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Taiwan: A Top Destination for Tech Startups

Since the 1980s, Taiwan has continuously strengthened its position as one of Asia’s leading technological hubs. The island plays a dominant role in the international supply chain of many companies and is home to the likes of Foxconn and TSCM who manufacture components for Apple and Google, to name a few. More recently, Google, IBM and Microsoft have expressed their intentions of developing AI R&D centers or similar ventures in Taiwan. However, it’s not only big multinational corporations that are benefiting from Taiwan, it’s startups too. Thanks to its global competitive nature and ease of doing business, Taiwan is a top destination for tech startups. Here’s why:

Government support

To help SMEs and startups get their businesses up and running, the Taiwanese government provide a number of financial incentives including awards, grants and loans to those in a number of named business sectors. Eligible companies can receive initial funding of up to NT$20 million, followed by up to NT$100 million in subsequent rounds – and this is not limited to Taiwanese founders.

Support for the tech industry also comes in the form of other government-backed initiatives such as Taiwan Tech Area (TTA), a dedicated tech innovation and entrepreneurship hub located in Taipei arena. TTA aims to be Asia’s leading tech-focused ecosystem, bringing together Taiwanese and international startups to cultivate entrepreneurship and foster innovation and collaboration in the tech industry.

Funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST), TTA offers a co-working space consisting of 250 desks, 22 meeting rooms and a combination of social and event spaces, a perfect launch pad for startups in the tech industry. TTA’s immersive programs expedite the growth of over 100 startups annually and is not only a platform for startups to connect with each other but for investors too. Significantly, the Taiwanese government has partnered with multiple private investors to inject a total of US$60 million into the capital pool with investment priorities on startups in TTA.

As a government-subsidized initiative, access to TTA must be applied through resident programs and accelerators. More information about can be found on the Taiwan Tech Arena website.

Strong Tech Talent

According to the OECD, Taiwan is one of the leading countries in Asia in terms of literacy with a 98.5 percent literacy rate and ranks 4th in the world for math and science education. Moreover, as high-technology manufacturing is the main industry in Taiwan, engineering is one of the most popular degree subjects in the country with Taiwan’s universities churning out upwards of 10,000 computer science graduates every year so it’s safe to say startups won’t be short of skilled labor when entering the market.

As technological focus moves towards emerging areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), Taiwan is keen to continue attracting investment in the country to retain its reputation as Asia’s leading tech hub. AI refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines, a critical technology required to realize areas such as autonomous driving. Investments in Taiwan by giants such as Google, Microsoft and others have prompted the government to develop plans to train talent in this emerging sector with Premier Su Tsent-chang committing to train 10,000 people every year for work in A&I research and development. Owing to the government’s commitment to developing a high-tech force and environment that fosters innovation and collaboration, we can expect Taiwan to remain a global key player as the integration of these emerging technologies continue to evolve.

Business environment in Taiwan

According to a report by the World Bank, Taiwan 15th in the world for ease of doing business, coming fourth in the Asia-Pacific region. The report focuses on a total of ten areas to assess a country’s business environment including: starting a business, registering property and trading across borders, among others. Generally speaking, company registration in Taiwan is a relatively straightforward process and foreign investors can expect an investment environment of low taxation compared to other countries in the region, eliminating obstacles to entrepreneurship.

In addition to its investor-friendly business framework, Taiwan has a healthy system to protect intellectual property (IP) rights. Due its special international status, the region does not participate in any IPR-related international organizations such as the WIPO, yet follows international practices to strengthen the protection it offers to companies. Applying for a trademark or patent is simple and involves making an online application to the Taiwan Intellectual Property Office.  Taiwan also has a court dedicated to hearing intellectual property cases and an IP rights police force that investigates counterfeiting and piracy.

With the development of emerging technologies such as AI, IoT (internet of things) and 5G, Taiwan is committed to maintaining its competitive edge and reputation as an ecosystem that is at the forefront of technological change. As such, it is able to leverage its highly-skilled workforce and continued government support to keep up with these changing demands and technological trends.

INS Global: Your partner for your expansion in Taiwan

Over the last decade, thanks to its reputation as a technological paradise, Taiwan has emerged as an attractive destination for startups looking to secure a stronghold in the Asia-Pacific region. However, navigating the complex business landscape can be difficult without the right help on board. That’s where INS Global come in. As Asia’s leading market-entry and corporate service provider, our expert team have the local knowledge to help you navigate these minefields. Whether you want to setup a company in Taiwan or just want to streamline your operations, contact us today to learn more about how we can help.

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DATE July 28, 2020
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