It is obvious from the WTEC team's research that the Taiwanese government is strongly committed to ensuring long-term industrial growth. Emerging industries are targeted for future growth, programs are in place to ensure that supporting technologies will be available, and incentives are provided for industry to invest in and expand facilities in order to obtain global market share. Taiwan's strong global market position in electronic components suggests that the strategy is succeeding.

Companies are aware of government programs and are taking advantage of ITRI's supporting activities. To maintain competitiveness, companies are upgrading technologies for advanced manufacturing processes and are adding design capabilities to their manufacturing strengths. GVC and Inventec produce in-house designs for the world's top computer companies. Taiwan's record leaves little doubt that it will continue to take a leadership role in all areas of electronic packaging. Taiwan offers a full range of IC packages and assemblies, including MCM chip sets, high-end motherboards, and PCMCIA cards. Twenty IC wafer fabs are planned to be in place by 2000.

With the rapid development of China's electronics industry, established products are increasingly becoming commodities, and competition is based on price. As Taiwan's costs escalate, the government is committed to supporting leading-edge technologies and providing incentives for firms to enter emerging high-technology industries. The major competitive risks to Taiwan and its companies come from a shortage of leading-edge technologies. Taiwan has been less concerned with the development of new technologies than with the rapid transfer of technologies in time for volume production. With China's rapid entry into electronics, there are few barriers to technology transfer across Asia. The ability to maintain competitiveness is now dependent upon development of technologies more rapidly and having an adequate engineering and design capability to utilize technologies early. At present, Taiwan and Singapore have the advantage in engineering talent. The question is whether this will be adequate to provide leadership ahead of China and other rapidly industrializing nations like Vietnam and the Philippines.

Published: May 1997; WTEC Hyper-Librarian