Keen to expand people-to-people contact: Taiwan Ambassador
The annual bilateral trade between India and Taiwan is expected triple to over $20 billion from the present $7 billion over the next few years. In the recent past, the island nation has not only played a key role in helping India develop its smartphone manufacturing capability but is also working to establish an ICT and electronics cluster in Bengaluru.
Blogging Republic caught up with Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in India Representative Ambassador, Chung-Kwang Tien to exclusively discuss a wide range of issues from promotion of gaming hardware to smart machinery.
Q: Why is the promotion of gaming important to Taiwan?
Gaming is no longer a leisure activity it’s becoming a career. It will eventually become a sporting event that will be larger than Super Bowl, PGA Golf Tour or IPL! The multiplayer Dota 2 has at any one time 1.2 million people playing online.
The prize money has increased from $10 million to $20 million. Even for professional gaming, it has reached $60 million. Therefore, gaming is no longer about entertainment as used to be the case with Pac-Man or Super Mario.
It’s now about sound skills and requires good facilities. These are some of the reasons why we want to promote gaming hardware through Taiwan Excellence among youngsters here.
Q: What prompted you to majorly focus on India?
That’s because India is one of the largest consumer markets; it has a 350 million middle class. For the Taiwanese business community, that’s a serious market.
We also understand that Indians have a very strong purchasing power and are software savvy. We have to focus on this market for our survival as well as to serve Indian customers. It’s a win-win situation for both.
Q: In the past few years, Taiwan has helped India develop its smartphone manufacturing capabilities. What are the other areas that you are working on in the country?
Aside from manufacturing, we are also promoting soft skills like education as that’s an important area. The government of Taiwan will provide scholarships to young and talented Indian students who wish to pursue either master’s, Ph.D. or even language studies in Taiwan.
As of now, we have 2,300 Indian students studying in Taiwan on scholarship. That will continue and we will increase the number of seats for Indian students. Tourism is another very important area. Although we have 11 million people coming to Taiwan every year, India presently sends only 35,000 tourists.
So, we would like more Indian tourists visiting Taiwan. Similarly, Taiwanese tourist could visit India as well. This will help improve people-to-people contact.
Q: You are also involved in India’s Smart Cities Mission ever since its launch in 2015. Now that Mr. Modi has returned to power for a second term, how do you propose to take it forward?
The subject of smart cities was discussed at the 12th India-Taiwan business consultation in June. In the past few years, we have had our teams coming to India to hold discussions on water conservation, digital connectivity, physical infrastructure, etc. In this term of the Modi government, we would like the action plan to pick up speed.
Q: What is the progress of your training centre in Bengaluru?
As prime minister Modi is also promoting Skill India, we hope to connect Taiwan’s manufacturing capability with on the job training.
We also hope to set up an institution for the training of teachers as there is a need to skill people in areas such as plumbing, two-wheeler repairing and air-conditioning. People who train there can then go back to teach those skills in their states.
Q: Are you also working in areas of disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence and electric mobility with Indian companies?
Yes. We have a mechanism of bi-annual meetings between Indian and Taiwanese ministries of science & technology.
There each side proposes some programmes. Till date, we have accomplished 77 projects and that includes the development of technology to detect earthquakes and space research.
Q: What about the promotion of smart machine tools, an area where Taiwan excels?
Taiwan is very strong in smart machinery. In the past, we have promoted that in India but not on a very big scale. Our quality and prices are very competitive. Therefore, it’s going to be one of our major projects over the next five years.
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