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Exploring Digital Transformation in a post COVID-19 Taiwan

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 impacted the global economic structure significantly, bringing about further developments in business innovation and digital technology. For the past few years, the Department of Industrial Technology (DoIT) has played an important role in promoting R&D innovation to help develop an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Taiwan

– Director General of DoIT, MOEA

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).

These technologies may help mitigate some of the negative impacts of the pandemic while increasing productivity and improving life quality. They also represent a tremendous economic gain in the global market, allowing nations to transfer R&D capability into business opportunities. Through educational exchanges like this forum, Taiwan will learn how to cultivate an entrepreneurship culture and create new business opportunities for the global market.

During and after the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be major challenges for the medical care system, but this will also provide great opportunities for remote care services. Co-founder of health tech startup shared his entrepreneurial experience in the perspectives of ideation, needs finding, market planning, fundraising, and team composition, bringing inspiration to the technology R&D team. The startup is creating a non-invasive in-home device to facilitate screening and treatment for diabetic foot complications.

ITRI has been collaborating with various schools and centres at Stanford since 2004, and in 2014 they began working with SCPD to co-host these educational exchanges, focusing on sharing educational research and development while encouraging academic collaboration between Taiwanese and American educators. Achievements of such exchanges include facilitating Taiwan researchers to conduct research at Stanford as visiting scholars, co-authoring books between ITRI and international experts, and raising the international visibility of the successful experiences of Taiwan’s high-tech industry.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, Taiwan’s Minister of Science and Technology said that the global pandemic is accelerating digital transformation. The pandemic poses both challenges and opportunities to rethink technology development and supply chain management. Thanks to public and private efforts over the past year, Taiwan has largely withstood the ravages of COVID-19.

Infections spiked in mid-May, prompting various government restrictions. The number of COVID-19 cases is now declining. Taiwan has earned global praise for its effective campaign to limit the coronavirus, a program that includes an electronic fence that tracks residents via mobile phones to ensure that quarantined people remain at home. The effort is also seen as less intrusive than other tracking efforts.

Taiwan has shown its skills and expertise in public health and digital technology. With the belief that ‘Taiwan can help’, the government has been sharing resources and pandemic experiences with international partners. Many foreigners get to know about Taiwan in the process. The pandemic poses a challenge, but also creates an opportunity for Taiwan to highlight outstanding tech professionals and industry chains.

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