World Economy

Taiwan Among Top World Innovative Countries

Taiwan Among Top World Innovative CountriesTaiwan Among Top World Innovative Countries

Taiwan is ranked among the most innovative countries in the world. According to the global rankings of IMD and World Economic Forum, it ranks ninth on technological infrastructure and on scientific infrastructure, and 13th on innovation.

How did a tiny country with barely 2% of India’s population and very little natural resource manage to do this? Taiwan’s economic growth story is built around the way it has nurtured an innovative culture among people and its companies by building a robust ecosystem, thanks to its ministry of science and technology. The ministry has set up few critical bodies like science parks, and the Industrial Technology Research Institute, PTI reported.

With an annual budget of $1.4 billion (in 2014), it supports academic research, promotes industrial  R&D and also manages the National Science and Technology Development Fund to incubate innovative ideas. From electronics to semiconductors, nanotechnology to biotechnology, energy to genomic medicines, the ministry has rolled out programs to nurture and build industry around it.

Hsinchu Science & Industrial Park is one of four such parks in Taiwan. Built in 1980 and modeled around the Silicon Valley, it is spread over 1,342 hectares accommodating over 500 companies that employ more than 150,000 employees and generated revenues of $35 billion in the last three years. Lush green, lined with trees, plenty of parks and smart residences, schools and entertainment facilities, it has become a key tech hub.

Hsinchu Science & Industrial Park offers one-stop services to companies operating there, as well as subsidies for research & development and on-job training. Surrounded by two top-class universities—National Tsing Hua University and National Chai Tung University—with a capacity of 10,000 students, it offers a steady supply of top talent and researchers to the companies.

The Hsinchu Park has six satellite parks, each specializing in different areas like semiconductors, optoelectronics, telecom and biotechnology. R&D expenses of companies inside the park can be partly deducted from their corporate tax. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company and United Microelectronics Corporation—the world’s top two semiconductor foundries—were born in this country. Like India, Taiwan too faced the problems of protests as it acquired agricultural land to build these parks, says Chinfeng Chang, deputy director-general, Hsinchu Science Park Bureau.