2016 European Innovation Week
2016 歐盟創新週
Taipei, 30 May – 3 June 2016

Note: This is an abridged version. To read the full report, please click HERE.

The European Innovation Week (EIW) in Taipei was the umbrella of a series of Information and Communication Technology (ICT)-focused events. EIW was organised by the European Commission in cooperation with Silicon Europe Worldwide and the European Cluster Collaboration Platform (ECCP) and key partners in Taiwan related to ICT, both from government agencies and research institutes including the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), the Bureau of Foreign Trade (BoFT) and the Department of Industrial Technology (DoIT) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MoEA) and the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) and from industry, the European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan (ECCT), the Taipei Computer Association (TCA) and the Taiwan Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association (TEEMA). 

Activities included seminars and a symposium on the subjects of smart industry, smart mobility, smart healthcare, 5G and nano-electronics. Additional workshops and sessions were arranged to explore opportunities for EU-Taiwan cooperation in ICT under the EU’s Research and Innovation Framework Programme, Horizon 2020 (which runs from 2014-2020) and is the EU's largest ever funding programme dedicated to research and innovation with a budget of €77 billion. 

In addition, business to business (B2B), business to consumer (B2C) and cluster to cluster (C2C) matchmaking meetings were organised between the European delegation's companies and cluster members and Taiwanese companies and clusters registered for the event. These meetings were organised through the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) platform, a network of around 600 business support organisations from more than 60 countries, which helps SMEs realise business opportunities in the EU. Taiwan has been an EEN member since 2015 through a consortium comprising TAITRA, ITRI, TEEMA, NarLabs and the ECCT.

To participate in EIW, the European Commission led a delegation to Taipei consisting of representatives from business, major ICT clusters in Europe, officials from the Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW), the Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG CONNECT), and the Directorate General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD).

EIW events were held to coincide with the second Industrial Policy Dialogue between the EU and Taiwan aimed at strengthening cooperation in the area of industrial policy, covering subjects such as technical cooperation, standards and internationalisation of SMEs. The week was also arranged to coincide with Computex Taipei, Asia's largest ICT show.

Opening ceremony
Date: 30 May 2016

The opening ceremony was attended by 200 guests and covered by journalists from the print, television and online media. It featured remarks by guests of honour representing the organisers and supporting organisations. 

Guests of honour

Mr Antti Peltomäki, Deputy Director-General, Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW)
Dr Lee Chih-kung, Minister, Ministry of Economic Affairs (MoEA)
Mr Francis Liang, Chairman, Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA)
Mr Richard Lee (Tsu-chin), Managing Director, Taiwan Electrical and Electronic Manufacturer’s Association (TEEMA)
Mr Giuseppe Izzo, Vice Chairman, European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan (ECCT) & General Manager, STMicroelectronics
Mr Simon Hwang, CEO, Taipei Computer Association (TCA)
Mr Peter Simkens, Chairman, Silicon Europe Worldwide

Opening remarks

In his remarks Mr Peltomäki referred to last year’s Mission for Growth as a good starting point which was built on for this year’s European Innovation Week. He reported that 100 companies and organisations from 14 EU member states were in Taiwan for the EIW. He expressed the view that both the EU and Taiwan have many dynamic players in ICT and that there are great opportunities to find synergies between them. He said that he was confident that Taiwanese SMEs share the same goal to enhance cooperation as their visiting counterparts from Europe.

Taiwan and the EU are already strong trading partners. Taiwan was the EU’s 18th largest partner in 2015 with €48 billion in trade, a figure which was up 10% from 2014. However, given that the EU is only Taiwan’s fourth largest trading partner indicates that it is still far from reaching its full potential. Europeans are still the largest foreign investors in Taiwan, accounting for 25% of all foreign investments. 

Taiwan and Europe share many of the same challenges: aging populations, switching to clean energy and slow economic growth. Besides business cooperation, the regulatory environment must be conducive to new developments and this is something authorities in both the EU and Taiwan need to pay attention to. 

Digitalisation is transforming societies and businesses and the circular economy are topical in Europe and in Taiwan. It is necessary to find right frameworks that will allow industries to develop. Taiwan’s drive towards the next stage of industry development (smart industry or Industry 4.0) is similar to Europe’s and there are great opportunities to work together and find a positive agenda.

In his remarks MoEA Minister Lee said that he appreciated the support of DG Grow and TAITRA in helping to arrange EIW, aimed at fostering greater cooperation between the EU and Taiwan. The minister noted that EU-Taiwan trade continued to expand in 2015. Despite difficult global economic conditions where trade with other regions declined, EU-Taiwan trade rose 10% in 2015 to €48 billion. He said that trade ties had been helped by Taiwan’s membership of the EEN and that the new government under President Tsai Ying-wen would continue to support and expand cooperation with the EU, which the government views as one of its most important partners. He noted that new MoEA policies are aimed at driving innovation and sustainable development both in employment and regards to the environment. 

In his remarks TAITRA Chairman Liang welcomed guests and expressed appreciation to partners for their efforts in arranging the EIW. He pointed out that the five themes of EIW fit well with Taiwan’s own industrial priorities, especially in the areas of promoting green energy, establishing Taiwan’s own version of Silicon Valley, the biotech industry and smart machinery. He noted that there had also been a very happy with warm response from Taiwan business to the EIW. It was a welcome expansion of the programme compared to last year’s Mission for Growth. 

The minister reported that more than 510 companies had registered for EIW activities. While the majority of companies are from Taiwan and 88 were from Europe, there were also others from the United States, mainland China, Thailand and other countries. In addition to seminars and workshops, he reported that 252 companies will be engaging in business-to-business matching programmes. Many of the participating companies are SMEs but the EIW is also supported by 30 large Taiwanese companies.

In his remarks Mr Richard Lee noted that TEEMA has 3,650 member companies, making it the largest association of its kind in Taiwan. It cooperates closely with its sister organisation that promotes cloud computing.

He pointed out that EU-Taiwan trade has risen 8-fold in just the past 20 years and that Taiwan’s new government has new policies aimed at promoting the development of new industries. For example, an integrated zone dubbed the Asian Silicon Valley in Taoyuan will facilitate closer cooperation between Taiwan and global partners and provide a test bed for developing smart cities. The government has undertaken to phase out nuclear energy by 2025. In order to speed up the transition to renewable energy, a green innovation park will be set up in Tainan City as a hub for renewable energy development. It aims to attract NT$1 trillion in investment. In addition, the installation of smart grids will help to reduce energy usage. 

In his remarks Mr Giuseppe Izzo introduced his company, STMicroelectronics, which employs over 40,000 people, globally of which over 8,000 work in R&D. He noted that his company is working on technologies and solutions of the future including smart driving and evolution towards the Internet of Things (IoT), smart industry and smart homes. ST now operates in 12 countries in Asia and has three offices in Taiwan. A lot of SMEs are emerging in Taiwan, just as they are in Europe, which means that there is great potential for cooperation between them.

In his remarks Mr Simon Hwang introduced the Taipei Computer Association (TCA), which has been in existence for 42 years and has more than 4,000 members, many of which are exhibiting their products at Computex. 

In his remarks Mr Peter Simkins introduced Silicon Europe, which represents 12 leading clusters and 2,500 companies in smart electronics and IT and covers the whole value chain from design to applications. He noted that it is not just about technology but using technology to create applications that can solve the challenges facing us in the modern world such as aging populations and mobility. One of Silicon Europe’s strategies is to strengthen global outreach, which is why it is Taiwan to look for partners and strengthen cooperation with Taiwanese institutions and companies.