Fri, Sep 01, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Platform to aid tech exchanges with Israel: Hsu

INNOVATION:The KMT legislator said that he was inspired to set up the platform after visiting Israel, a global leader in tech research, last year

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

With the help of the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Hsu Yu-jen (許毓仁) yesterday launched the Taiwan Israel Innovation Platform, aiming to boost high-tech exchanges between the two nations.

Hsu said that he has always paid great attention to the nation’s innovative exchanges and came up with the idea to set up the platform after his trip to Israel last year.

The platform could help promote exchanges between the two nations’ private, public and academic sectors on several fronts, including information security, water-related infrastructure, agricultural technologies, augmented and virtual reality applications, self-driving cars and artificial intelligence, he said.

The platform could also help Israeli companies find Taiwanese firms for merger or acquisition (M&A) opportunities, Hsu said.

He added that he hopes Israeli incubators would invite Taiwanese firms to set up their own incubators in Israel, so that Taiwanese innovative start-ups would have more chances to meet Israeli investors.

The lawmaker said he plans to take two delegations of Taiwanese businesspeople or students to Israel every year to explore and exchange innovative ideas.

Citing the Global Innovation Index, Hsu said that Israel has supplanted the US, Denmark and Sweden to become the global leader in terms of the density of researchers, gross expenditure on research and development, and the number of innovation linkages.

Israel’s success in innovative sectors is evident in the 50 over-the-counter companies it has on the NASDAQ, which have a combined net worth of more than US$10 billion, Hsu said.

The preferential tax rates the Israeli government has set for angel investors and foreign venture capital have made it an innovative haven, with Internet-related industries accounting for 6.5 percent of the nation’s GDP, he said.

Taiwan is similar to Israel in that both are close to “hostile” nations and lack natural resources, and Taiwan could benefit from Israel’s experience thorough exchanges, he said.

The government should stop doling out subsidies to just about any innovative firms, which often design outlandish products that turn out to be flops, Hsu said.

Rather, the government should spend the money on attracting foreign companies to establish research and development centers in Taiwan, giving local high-tech talent the opportunity to test their skills in the global arena, he said, adding that the platform would do its best to assist in this effort.

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