Taipei Mayor Visits San Francisco To Improve Taipei’s Startup Environment

Taipei Mayor Visits San Francisco To Improve Taipei’s Startup Environment
Photo Credit: 柯文哲

Translated and compiled by Yuan-ling Liang

On March 10 (GMT+8), Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je arrived in San Francisco for consultation regarding governing policies and strategies to improve Taipei. San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee and several companies in Silicon Valley are all on Ko’s visiting list.

After listening to Lee’s presentation, Ko states that San Francisco is the pioneering city in the US with the most creativity and startups. He thinks San Francisco’s experience and strategies are worth taken as a model since it bears great resemblance with Taipei.

A city filled with creativity and generosity

Photo Credit: Patrick Nouhailler @Flickr CC BY SA 2.0

Photo Credit: Patrick Nouhailler @Flickr CC BY SA 2.0

Ko points out the low unemployment rate in San Francisco can be attributed to its friendly environment for startups. Since Lee took office in 2012, the unemployment rate has dropped from over 9% to 3.3%.

“Creating job opportunities is the basic solution to deal with industrial problems,” says Ko. He emphasizes that he will contemplate on further strategies to create a similar environment in Taipei.

Ko observes that the atmosphere in San Francisco is rather open-minded. Locals bear great generosity and college students enjoy freedom to express their opinions. San Francisco is also one of the biggest LGBT communities in the world.

“These are all reasons for its prosperity and creativity,” Ko says.

Taiwanese startups in the Silicon Valley

Photo Credit: Brajeshwar Oinam @Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Photo Credit: Brajeshwar Oinam @Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

The Silicon Valley has not only been Taipei’s sister city, but also a place for Taiwanese startups to promote themselves.

Last June, to improve connections with the Silicon Valley for the technology industry, the Ministry of Science and Technology in Taiwan set up the Taiwan Innovation Entrepreneurship Center (TIEC) in San Francisco. They encourage Taiwanese companies to sign contracts with accelerators there, hoping to seize economic opportunities.

According to the Executive Yuan’s plan, the center serves as a stage for Taiwanese startups to expand their career in the international market. They select several companies and help them develop in the Silicon Valley. Furthermore, they will establish a “Silicon Valley Technology Fund” to gather working capital and make good use of the investing environment there. The milestone of the project is to combine Taiwan’s production line with the R&D (research and development) to launch products as soon as possible.

Taiwanese startups that have already been selected and sent to the Silicon Valley include Smartall, a company developing home computers, AlumVest, a crowdfunding platform, and Realiteer, an education platform applying VR (virtual reality) techniques.

Edited by Olivia Yang

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