By Benedict M. Uy / Director of Commercial Affairs, Manila Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei Foreign Trade Service Cops-DTI
TAIWAN boasts of a rich culture and colorful history. Its unique political situation and less than abundant natural resources have pushed the Taiwanese to stand up for themselves with so much determination, propelling them to become one of the world’s most successful economies and vibrant democracies today. Their enterprising Chinese heritage, infrastructure and technology dividends from more than 50 years of Japanese colonial rule, and the Taiwanese’s grit to develop knowledge and to carve their own bright spot under the sun have brought about the Taiwan economic miracle.
In the 1970s Taiwan became a leader in light manufacturing. She then slowly climbed up the value chain. In the 1980s and 1990s, Taiwan successfully took the place as a leading high-tech center. Today, she positions herself as the Asian Silicon Valley.
Just to complete my description of Taiwan, here are some additional facts. Taiwan is home to the world’s largest chip maker (TSMC); largest footwear-manufacturing company (Pou Chen Group); largest electronics-contract manufacturing company (Foxconn); the largest metal casings for phones and notebooks (Catcher); and largest bicycle-manufacturing company (Giant), to name a few. Also, Taiwanese companies produce more than 70 percent of the world’s laptops and notebooks like Acer, Asus and those that produce for HP, Toshiba, Dell and others. She is also the leading LCD panel manufacturer. Many of the world’s top manufacturers for information and communications technology, machinery, equipment and tools are Taiwanese. All these make for an indispensable partner in the global supply chain.
The major brands, companies and accolades mentioned, in the context of this article are not as important as the implied presence of a robust value chain and small and medium enterprise base in Taiwan that enable these big companies to thrive. It also shows the level of research and development that runs behind the scenes to churn out innovative products, concepts and technologies that keep them steps ahead of the competition, and of course, to drive production efficiencies across all sectors and industries. To name a few, there is the Industrial Technology Research Institute, Taiwan Footwear Research Institute, Asian Vegetable Center, Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute, Fisheries Research Institute, Precision Machinery Research and Development Center Taiwan Textile Research Institute and the Corporate Synergy Development Center for their OTOP program.
To be concluded •