Sat, Apr 06, 2019 - Page 8 News List

Building a vision for Brand Taiwan

By Michael Gregg

It is exciting to be spending time in a country bursting with such astonishing potential.

Taiwan is nimbly reforming itself from a mass commodity producer to a high-end creator, profiting from the fast-rising margins that market leadership delivers. Despite short-term fluctuations, its economy is enjoying sustained benefits arising from democratic freedom and decades of economic growth.

This transformation has occurred after a bleak, unspoken era of martial law that only ended in 1987 after almost four decades. Taiwan now walks on the world stage with a quiet, almost shy confidence, but the swagger of adolescence is unmistakable in this country’s collective stride.

The country has yet to pin the tail on its first unicorn, but this brash milestone is sure to be marked soon. Electric scooter manufacturer Gogoro is tipped as a frontrunner, but there are enough rockstar start-ups from the Republic of China galloping forward for this island-nation to anticipate a thriving unicorn herd within the next decade.

Standing proud alongside these fast-growing companies are long-established innovators such as Brogent Technologies, taking its i-Ride experience around the Earth from Kaohsiung, or global leaders like Giant, the world’s largest bicycle maker.

The vast empire of Taichung-headquartered Johnson Health Tech should leap even further forward when fitness centers begin connecting virtual-reality headsets to their array of Johnson exercise equipment.

Collaborations between local conglomerates promise to deliver large-scale new innovations too. For example, automaker Yulon Group’s partnership with Acer’s autonomous driving system has already delivered the nation’s first self-driving vehicle — a feat Taiwanese should be proud of.

Embryonic start-ups (collectively demanding to be known as Taiwanese) are bursting into prominence, delighting audiences who crave exclusive, authentic brand stories. Tales of luxury chocolatiers such as Fu Wan, with its unique double fermentation of cocoa beans sourced from the plantations of Pingtung; the emerging brands driven by the revival of Hakka and a renewed respect for Aboriginal culture; or in the high-tech field — HTC’s leadership with its Vive range of virtual-reality headsets will spawn local start-ups under the protective umbrella of their ecosystem.

New start-ups spanning the full breadth of the nation’s technology and engineering prowess are constantly being uncovered.

If a list of the next generation of leading global high-tech successes from wan were to be written, two likely candidates working in virtual reality would be Kaohsiung start-up Phalanity, with its somatosensory “SynSeat” for immersive entertainment, and Taipei film production company Funique, whose mischievous virtual worlds are created with impressive technical expertise.

In the Internet of Things category, keep an eye on Taipei-headquartered NextDrive, which is destined to be a market leader.

With so much to share, the surprising aspect of all of this is that Taiwan has been unnecessarily timid in a collective celebration of these successes offshore. The country is being left behind in its nation branding. It is time to right that wrong.

As a humble outside observer, it appears timely to take a fresh look at creating greater national brand cohesion, with some new thinking centered squarely on the nation’s international customers, and then deploy greater investment in strategic marketing under this national brand umbrella.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top