Taiwan is facing an unprecedented industrial crisis. Not only the traditional industries but high-tech industries are, long the pride of Taiwan, gradually moving out of the country. If this trend continues, it will create large-scale unemployment and a major economic recession. How to revitalize Taiwan's industries, therefore, is an important issue.
We often harbor the illusion that, by putting all our efforts into developing high-tech industries, we can promote industry throughout the country. But the so-called high-tech industries consist only of the electronics, information, communications and bio-technology industries. In fact, every industry straddles different sectors. For example, the semi-conductor industry -- the hottest industry of the day -- needs the support of the precision machinery industry. The semiconductor industry also has close links with the chemicals industry and is therefore a classic example of a cross-sectoral industry. Another example is the bio-tech industry, which has close links to the chemicals industry. Any country that wants to build a bio-tech industry must have a good chemicals industry.
To raise our industrial competitiveness, we must raise the competitiveness of all industrial sectors because they are all interrelated. If we divide industries into traditional and high-tech (whether "traditional industries" is an appropriate term is rather debatable), then high-tech industries cannot exist once the traditional industries disappear.
Industrial competitiveness depends on the control of key technologies. Unfortunately, key technology in most of our industries comes from abroad. We can only control some OEM (original equipment manufacturing) technology. The fact that a vast majority of our industries are OEM-oriented should heighten the alert.
How can we control key technologies? The only way is for the industries to become research and development (R&D) oriented. In the past, our industries did not invest adequately in R&D. If they carry on in this way and continue to ignore R&D, they will quickly lose their competitive edge.
Whether in land or manpower costs, Taiwan cannot possibly compete with China. No matter how hard the government works in this area, the results are bound to be limited. The government must understand that taking R&D seriously is the only way for our industries to remain competitive. How can we make our industries take R&D seriously? We have a few suggestions on this matter.
First, the government should explain clearly to the public that Taiwan cannot do without its industries. Taiwan does not enjoy the luxury of being able to run service industries only. The country has passed through the stage of having only OEM-oriented industries and must enter an era of
R&D-oriented industry. Taiwan's industrial upgrading will require a total strengthening of capabilities in all sectors.
Second, we should establish a new tax incentive system, under which a company truly engaging in the development of key technologies can enjoy a high level of tax exemptions after going through a series of rigorous examinations. The success of this system will depend on how rigorous the examination and appraisal mechanisms are.
Third, university and college departments which carry out practical experiments should strengthen the practical parts of their courses. Professors should do their best to coordinate their theoretical lectures with practicals. The educational authorities should also encourage teachers to make more contact with industry. The Ministry of Education should make practical skills an important criterion for evaluation in departments that run practical experiments. The ministry should offer generous rewards for schools that place emphasis on practicals, so that the schools can keep their practicals facilities abreast with the times.
Fourth, the government should encourage the establishment of
R&D industries that do not engage in manufacturing but possess the needed technology. Integrated circuit design companies are a good example of an R&D industry. These companies, which possess state-of-the-art technology, will raise Taiwan's industries to a higher level.
Fifth, the government should undertake a few major national
R&D projects, whose scale should match the US space programs that sent people to the moon. These projects should integrate different industrial sectors and aim at raising the level of industrial technology. The government should also invite industry, officialdom and academia to participate in the planning of the projects.
We frequently hear the phrase "keeping your roots in Taiwan" (
A tree must have deep roots to conserve soil and water. Shallow roots can only have short-term economic value. In the long run, Taiwan's industries must have deep roots -- which mean a significant level of key technology. To have such technology, we must put our efforts into deep ploughing and engage in R&D. Only then will "keeping your roots in Taiwan" have any meaning.
This article bears the signatures of Lee Chia-tung, convener of the technological examination committee for the Leading Products Development Program sponsored by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, and 31 other members of the committee.
Translated by Francis Huang
An outrageous dismissal of the exemplary Taiwanese fight against COVID-19 has been perpetrated by the EU. There is no excuse. I presume that everyone who reads the Taipei Times knows that the EU has excluded Taiwan from its so-called “safe list,” which permits citizens unhindered travel to and from the countries of the EU. As the EU does not feel that it needs to explain the character of this exclusive list, perhaps we should examine it ourselves in some detail. There are 14 nations on the list that have been chosen as safe countries of origin and safe countries of destination for
Filmmakers in Taiwan used to struggle when it came to telling a story that could resonate internationally. Things started to change when the 2017 drama series The Teenage Psychic (通靈少女), a collaboration between HBO Asia and Taiwanese Public Television Service (PTS), became a huge hit not just locally, but also internationally. The coming-of-age story was adapted from the 2013 PTS-produced short film The Busy Young Psychic (神算). Entirely filmed in Taiwan, the Mandarin-language series even made it on HBO’s streaming platforms in the US. It is proof that a well-told Taiwanese story can absolutely win the hearts and minds of hard-to-please
Drugged with sedatives, handcuffed and wearing a bright orange prison tunic, British fraud investigator and former journalist Peter Humphrey was escorted by warders into an interrogation room filled with reporters, locked inside a steel cage and fastened to a metal “tiger chair.” Humphrey recalls: “I was completely surrounded by officers, dazed, manacled and with cameras pointing at me through the bars. I was fighting for my life like a caged animal. It was horrifying.” Footage from the interrogation was later artfully edited to give the appearance of a confession and broadcast on Chinese state media. While this might sound like an
The US House of Representatives on July 1 passed by unanimous consent a bipartisan bill that would penalize Chinese officials who implement Beijing’s new national security legislation in Hong Kong, as well as banks that do business with them. The following day, the US Senate unanimously passed the bill, which was later sent to the White House, where it awaits US President Donald Trump’s signature. The bill does not spell out what the sanctions would look like and Trump has yet to sign it into law, but Reuters on Thursday last week reported that five major Chinese state lenders are considering