Sat, Aug 19, 2006 - Page 11 News List

Government will devote NT$10bn to tech sectors

BOOSTER SHOT A meeting of advisers and officials concluded by deciding to help the auto electronics, flexible electronics, intelligent housing and ICT fields

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The government yesterday said it would pump NT$10 billion (US$30.7 million) over the next four years into four main technology fields to boost the nation's high-tech competitiveness.

A five-day strategic meeting, which drew local technology advisors and government authorities, concluded yesterday by placing a special focus on smart automobiles, flexible electronics, intelligent dwelling spaces and an information communication technology (ICT) platform.

Of the total budget, NT$6 billion will be earmarked for the intelligent car industry alone over the next four years, according to the Science and Technology Advisory Group under the Executive Yuan.

"We want to have the call to put key components on vehicles by 2008," Department of Industrial Technology Director-General Huang Chung-chiou (黃重球) said yesterday.

By doing so, Taiwan could incorporate more locally developed, intelligent solutions to improve driving security in the future, which would help to forge a name for locally made cars, he said.

The initiative reflects the government's bid to cash in on the mushrooming auto electronics industry, where several consortiums have been established to bring together car makers and electronics vendors.

One instance of this cooperation is Hua-chuang Automobile Information Technical Center (華創車電), a joint venture between Yulon Motor Co (裕隆) and the Executive Yuan's Development Fund (開發基金). The center was set up last December.

Another industry that will be focused on is flexible electronics, which involves electronic equipment that is capable of being bent. According to the government's documents, commercial applications of flexible electronics include radio frequency identification, e-paper, ultra-thin handsets and electronic-paper watches.

Huang said the government has set a goal for the industry to generate revenues of US$3.2 billion by 2015, an estimate representing about 20 percent of the global flexible electronics industry, as well as to nurture 15 major companies in the field.

He said that the government expected local operators in the industry to begin small-scale applications in 2008, commercialize them by 2010 and start selling quantities of products by 2015.

The advisory group believed that Taiwan has advantages in developing the industry, such as its talented workers in the semiconductor, printed circuit board and monitor industries.

The Executive Yuan budgeted NT$180 million to develop the nascent technology this year and plans to spend another NT$210 million next year.

To further develop ICT platforms, the government has plans to create an industry output of NT$8 billion by 2009, and NT$20 billion by 2012.

Initially, it will eye areas such as manufacturing services, health care services and Chinese-language learning.

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