Wed, Jan 05, 2011 - Page 12 News List

MOEA to set up smart handhelds taskforce

EVER EVOLVING:An analyst said that Taiwanese firms have carved out a firm niche in the sector, but they must continually offer new innovations to keep customers

By Jason Tan  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday said it is forming a taskforce to promote the nation as the world’s largest innovation and manufacturing hub for smart handheld devices.

It aims to more than triple Taiwanese supply chain output to NT$1.68 trillion (US$57.7 billion) in 2014, from an output of NT$501.9 billion recorded last year, according to a ministry statement.

The goal is to attract international companies to invest in Taiwan and manufacture high-end precision components locally to enhance the nation’s competitiveness in the global IT supply chain as a whole, the statement said.

The taskforce — to be led by Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) and Industrial Development Bureau -Director-General Woody Duh (杜紫軍) — will join forces with the Taipei Computer Association (TCA, 台北市電腦公會) to create synergy and assist industry players after receiving their feedback.

TCA is the country’s largest IT association with 4,000-plus corporate members. It is currently directed by Wang Jeng-tang (王振堂), chairman of the world’s No. 3 PC brand, Acer Inc (宏碁).

A veteran of the tech scene, the outspoken Wang lobbied the government last July to tag smart handhelds as one of the key sectors for the future of the nation’s IT development.

Smart handheld devices include smartphones, tablet PCs and e-readers — key product offerings in which Taiwanese tech firms have launched an aggressive foray.

The formation of the taskforce came after officials form the Industrial Development Bureau visited representatives from a number of important players in the smart handhelds sector, the economic affairs ministry said.

The firms included HTC Corp (宏達電), Qisda Corp (佳世達), Quanta Computer Inc (廣達), Pegatron Corp (和碩) and Compal Communications Inc (華寶), the minister added.

“Taiwanese makers have to come out with higher value-added smart handhelds and delve into the development of applications to secure their place in the booming sector,” said Welber Chang (張奇), an analyst with the Taipei-based Market Intelligence and Consulting Institute (產業情報研究所).

Citing smartphones as an -example, consumers are willing to pay more if branded makers roll out products with innovative specifications, he said.

After winning buyers over with creative devices, it is imperative for companies to keep them from straying with rich applications, as Apple Inc has been doing with its popular App Store, he added.

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