The National Science Council (NSC) yesterday launched a project aimed at establishing a platform integrating the technologies of leading companies to provide valuable customized services for small companies with creative ideas.
Taiwan’s information and communication technology industry is at a crossroads, with its original equipment manufacturing (OEM) services being replaced by China and other Southeast Asian nations, while lagging behind South Korea in terms of vertical integration, NSC Minister Cyrus Chu (朱敬一) said.
However, Taiwan is well-known for its manufacturing flexibility and should leverage off this key advantage, he said.
Describing multi-functional mobile devices such as Apple’s iPad and iPhone, or Google’s Internet-connected eyewear, Glass, as “Christmas feasts” that provide complex functions, Chu said the project — called Small Apple Orchard (小蘋果園) — would focus on simpler devices such as a strap-on health detector that offers a few specialized functions, but requires precision manufacturing.
Chu said the council had invited Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, MediaTek, Ruentex Group, Chunghwa Telecom, the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI, 工研院) and academics to found a company that would establish a platform to provide services such as system design and integration, firmware, prototyping and product testing.
The aim is to create a small volume of a large variety of specialized products and services, he said, adding that the plan is to invest about NT$1 billion (US$33 million) in the next two to three years with ITRI president Shyu Jyuo-min (徐爵民) serving as chief executive in the initial stage.
“The technology value chain and Taiwanese talents are changing ... We have noticed that many young people are interested in developing systems targeting end users. The key is how to make the most of Taiwan’s technological strengths,” National Taiwan University vice president Chen Liang-gee (陳良基) said.
Saying that future consumer products would incorporate more sensors that are capable of detecting the user’s needs and condition and be able to hook up to big data through the Internet, Chen said creative ideas would become as important as technical skills.
He expressed the hope that the “small apple orchard” company, to be established by the middle of the year, could become a platform to realize these ideas and usher in a new era in Taiwan’s tech industry.