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Many Taiwanese engineering teams also have startup experience, which can be highly beneficial for technology companies looking to outsource projects or form partnerships with local teams.
FREMONT, CA: Taiwan is expanding its startup ecosystem as investors continue to place big bets on the region's potential. Since the 1980s, technology has driven the Taiwanese economy, transforming the island into one of the world's leading manufacturing centers. The island's geographic location aided in forming alliances between developed Western economies and Asian emerging markets.
Taiwan's population is small compared to other markets in the region, but consumer habits and market openness make it a fairly easy market to explore. Taiwan is an attractive market for software companies to test consumer acceptance of new services. Taiwan has one of the fastest internet speeds globally, IP protection is well-established, and the cultural similarities with China make for good testing grounds for new ideas before moving into larger markets.
Strong Tech Talent
Taiwanese workers are well-educated and technologically savvy. Taiwanese universities graduate approximately 10,000 computer scientists and information systems management students each year, making it especially easy to find and hire high-quality engineering talent. Technology salaries are also lower than other regional hubs, such as China, where competition for talent can be fierce.
Taiwanese workers have a reputation for dependability and trustworthiness, and the majority of Taiwanese development teams can communicate in English and/or Mandarin Chinese. Many Taiwanese engineering teams also have startup experience, which can be highly beneficial for technology companies looking to outsource projects or form partnerships with local teams.
Growing Support from the Government
Through various initiatives, the Taiwanese government is doing more to promote and encourage entrepreneurship and new technology companies. Foreign entrepreneurs can apply for an Entrepreneur Visa and an Employment Gold Card, which are assisting the island in moving away from strict immigration policies and attracting more international talent. Qualified firms can receive residency for a team of up to three people for one year, which can be increased for another two years if the business is doing well. Another government initiative is the Act for the Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professionals, which provides tax breaks, healthcare, and other benefits to skilled foreign workers.
Parliament also allowed a new fintech regulatory sandbox law in 2017 to cultivate other technological strengths beyond hardware and manufacturing. The legislation is intended to assist fintech startups in developing their concepts while evading some of the stringent regulations that more established financial services firms face. While Taiwanese financial services innovation lags behind other regional fintech hubs such as Hong Kong and Seoul, the passage of the law removes many barriers for entrepreneurs to develop their ideas and collaborate with other financial firms.
The government is also promoting Taiwan to become a hub for AI and IoT development, and open data is one approach being used to achieve this goal. The Government Information Open Platform gives anyone access to government data in 27,000 categories, from property registration to air quality data. Access to this data enables Taiwanese AI and IoT companies to develop new applications more quickly and accurately.
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