The government needs to accelerate the pace of the Internet industry’s development and ease rules on Internet-related activities to catch up with the changes in mobility and data trends, industry leaders said yesterday at the launch of the Taiwan Internet and E-commerce Association (TIEA, 台灣網路暨電子商務產業發展協會) in Taipei.
The association — founded by PChome Online Inc (網絡家庭) chairman Jan Hung-tze (詹宏志), Yahoo-Kimo Inc (雅虎奇摩) vice president Frank Chen (陳建銘) and Google Taiwan general manager Chien Lee-feng (簡立峰) — counts more than 60 international and local companies involved in social networking, Internet media, finance, tourism, logistics and Internet content as members.
The association aims to serve as a bridge for the Internet industry to communicate with the government and help the government fix outdated regulations and systems to improve the environment for the new industry, association chairman Jan said at the launch ceremony.
It also plans to serve as a platform for companies to exchange the latest information, as well as ideas on cooperation and collaboration in the global market, Jan said.
“As more and more activities are connected to the Internet, we think the Internet industry offers ample opportunities for businesses and startups. We hope the TIEA can help discover the industry’s growth potential, which we believe can drive the nation’s economic growth as well,” said Chen, who is one of the association’s chairmen.
However, the government has to be more open-minded and it must loosen policies that restrict the Internet industry from prospering, he added.
Taking the government’s actions on 4G spectrum allocation as an example, Chen said it was moving too slowly and has become a barrier for Taiwanese firms to compete in the global market.
Moreover, the government will next year offer 4G licenses for telecommunications companies, but smartphone users will have to wait until 2015 to access the Internet using the latest wireless communication technologies, he added.
Jan said the government was even slower in catching global trends.
“It’s as if we didn’t have a government in the past 10 years that could have overseen the nation’s development of the Internet industry,” Jan said.
He added that total public investment in the Internet industry over the past 10 years was less than a single investment in a semiconductor wafer fab.
Other than speeding up 4G allocation, the government has to give clearer and more aggressive industry commitments, so that local companies can formulate better strategies, he said.
Chien, another association vice chairman, said a combination of software and hardware is the best solution for Taiwan to overcome difficult times and recover from the economic recession.
He said that the government should exert more effort to promote the Internet industry, which can help transform local industries into high value-added businesses that can compete in the global market.