Governmental officials and business leaders yesterday stressed their support for small and medium-sized businesses in the creative industry sector at a press event promoting this year’s Taiwan International Cultural and Creative Industry Expo.
Organized by the General Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of China under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, the annual event aims to serve as a platform for connecting local enterprises with international buyers. Last year, more than 70,000 visitors attended the four-day event, which generated sales of about NT$220 million (US$7.4 million).
This year’s exposition is scheduled to take place at the Taipei World Trade Center’s Nangang Exhibition Hall from Oct. 18 through Oct. 21.
Chang Yun-cheng (張雲程), the political deputy minister of the Ministry of Culture, said the expo is part of government efforts that started a decade ago to support the country’s cultural and creative industries, which consist mostly of small and medium-sized enterprises. The Cultural and Creative Industries Development Act (文化創意產業發展法), a law by the central government that is designed to promote the industry, was passed in 2010. The expo came into being the same year.
Admitting that the expo is still in a nascent stage, chamber chairman Lawrence Chang (張平沼) said that as the event’s main organizer, the chamber’s task is divided into phases.
“Not a lot of international buyers know about us since we started out late,” Lawrence Chang said. “First we have to look for potential buyers at home. Second, we seek markets in China. When we reach a certain level of quantities and qualities, then we can go internationally.”
One of the main goals this year, Chang said, is to seek Chinese buyers through China-based Taiwanese businessmen’s associations, which have close connections with Chinese institutions such as department stores and shopping malls in major Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Xiamen and Hangzhou.
The chairman also said that as the majority of the cultural and creative businesses are micro enterprises sometimes run by only one or two persons, they often lack the capability and resources to mass produce and market their products.
To help these enterprises raise business capital, Lawrence Chang said, the chamber has reached an agreement with the Small and Medium Enterprise Credit Guarantee Fund of Taiwan (Taiwan SMEG), which will assist promising enterprises at the expo to secure financing from financial institutions.
“The job is to industrialize, to transform crafts works into products capable of being mass produced,” Chang said. “Look at Hon Hai Group, AU Optronics Corp or HTC Corp. All of Taiwan’s large corporations started out as small or medium-sized enterprises.”
Apart from China, the organizers have also invited industrial representatives and buyers from Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, Malaysia, Germany and the UK to attend the expo.