Assuring Taiwan’s Innovation Future

Author
Evan A. Feigenbaum
Content Type
Working Paper
Institution
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Abstract
Innovation has been a source of comparative advantage for Taiwan historically. It has also been an important basis for U.S. firms, investors, and government to support Taiwan’s development while expanding mutually beneficial linkages. Yet, both Taiwan’s innovation advantage and the prospect of jointly developed, technologically disruptive collaborations face challenges. For one, Taiwan’s technology ecosystem has been hollowed out in recent decades as personal computing (PC), component systems, and mobile device manufacturing moved across the Taiwan Strait to mainland China. Meanwhile, Taiwan’s innovation ecosystem has struggled to foster subsequent generations of startups to replace these losses in electronics manufacturing. Despite a freewheeling startup culture, internationalization has been a persistent challenge for Taiwan-based firms. Technological change and political challenges from Beijing present additional risks to Taiwan’s innovation future. In this context, it is essential that Taiwan get back to basics if it is to assure its innovation advantage. One piece of this will involve taking a hard look at the domestic policy environment in Taiwan to ensure a steady pipeline of next-generation engineering talent. Yet Taiwan also needs to address several structural and policy factors that, over the last decade, have eroded its enviable innovation advantage.
Topic
Science and Technology, Partnerships, Investment, Innovation
Political Geography
Taiwan, United States of America