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Digital Vouchers to Stimulate Taiwan’s Economy

Image source: focustaiwan.tw

As part of efforts to stimulate the nation’s domestic economy which has been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Taiwanese government has given digital vouchers, valued at NT$5,000 (US$179.56) to eligible citizens. They are now able to apply for the digital version.

More than 155,000 foreign nationals, mainly holders of Alien Permanent Resident Certificates (APRCs) and foreign spouses of Taiwanese citizens, will be eligible to obtain the government stimulus digital vouchers.

According to the National Immigration Agency (NIA), there are around 140,000 foreign spouses and 16,000 APRC holders in Taiwan who can claim the NT$5,000 (US$179.4) worth of digital vouchers that will be issued by the government to stimulate the domestic economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to those two categories, foreign diplomats based in Taiwan are also eligible to receive the vouchers

Applications are currently open for Taiwanese citizens of all ages and to eligible foreign nationals, to obtain the digital version of the vouchers. Applications for digital vouchers could be used via digital payment services such as credit cards, mobile wallets, and electric cards. They can be made directly through the website or app of service providers.

Citizens can also get extra vouchers that cover food consumption and domestic travel, as well as services and products in the cultural, agricultural and sports sectors. There are also digital vouchers designed to boost incomes for indigenous groups, and small businesses dedicated to local revitalisation.

According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), nearly 1 million people have already applied for the digital version of government vouchers issued to stimulate consumer spending in the first few hours after they became available.

A government website has begun accepting applications from people intending to use the vouchers, valued at NT$5,000 (US$180), through their credit cards or mobile payment services. The website recorded heavy traffic during the first three hours, as more than 3.51 million people visited the site. Around 60% of the applicants linked the vouchers to credit cards, 34.3% chose to spend them through mobile payment services, and 0.53% decided to add the value of the vouchers to stored value cards.

This is the second time the government has issued spending vouchers to boost consumption after COVID-19 restrictions affected the operations of many businesses that deal directly with consumers. In July 2020, the government issued the first round of spending vouchers of NT$3,000, which people needed to pay NT$1,000 to obtain and which expired on Dec. 31 that year. This time, no upfront payment is required. According to the ministry, 23.32 million people, or 98.35% of those eligible collected the vouchers in that round, leading to the spending of nearly NT$64.48 billion.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, while the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the economy, tremendous opportunities have also emerged in the post-pandemic economy to fuel the growth of startups in Taiwan. The outbreak of the pandemic in 2020 changed lives around the world, accelerating digital transformation and creating opportunities for new startups to develop innovative ideas and technological breakthroughs.

The Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), which has support from the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), collaborated with the Stanford Centre for Professional Development (SCPD) to share their expertise and perspectives on technology innovation. The platform provided an opportunity for startups in Taiwan to learn about Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and to reimagine business opportunities in the context of a ‘new normal’ economy.

The pandemic has escalated the importance of technology R&D. According to United Nations Technology and Innovation Report 2021, it forecasted that five leading technologies by 2025 would be the Internet of Things (IoT), robots, green energy, 5G and ArtificiaI Intelligence (AI).

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