The Taiwan Turnaround series explores how Taiwan’s internet tech scene is playing catch-up after being left in the dust compared to others in Asia. In part 1 TechNode visits the island to see how the Asian Tiger plans to stimulate its startup ecosystem.  Next, in the series, we talk to more accelerators, VC funds, and entrepreneurs about how they are changing mindsets and helping Taiwan startups to go global. Read Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

Taiwan has had a head start in its economic transformation and building a strong hardware sector over the mainland, gaining the moniker “Asian Tiger” in the process. So it is surprising that it hasn’t caught onto the internet sector boom as some of its neighbors in Asia have. It’s got all the right ingredients: a strong technical foundation, a highly educated workforce and a penchant for creativity as seen in some of the top entrepreneurs the island has helped nurture, Dr. Kai Fu Lee and Steven Chen of Youtube. So what’s missing and how can the Asian Tiger catch up?

Along with the three other “Asian Tigers”—Hong Kong, Singapore, and South Korea—Taiwan saw accelerated economic growth from the late 60s until the early 2000s. Its investment in manufacturing helped to create a world-leading semiconductor and hardware industry. TSMC, which is the world’s largest dedicated semiconductor foundry, Foxconn, AcerAsus, and HTC are some successful enterprises to have been born out of the boom.

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Linda Lew

Linda Lew is a Beijing-based journalist who covers technology, start-ups and business in China. You can reach her at lindalew at aliyun dot com.