A public-private program to stimulate startups in France announced this week that it had picked Taiwan, a long-time world center for high-tech hardware manufacturing, as one of its international hubs.
"This is but a first step," said Benoît Guidée, director of the French Office in Taipei, a de facto embassy. "I sincerely believe that in the future there will be many opportunities for cooperation between startups based in France with those based in Taiwan."
Guidée made the announcement at the 2016 Meet Taipei conference, a three-day event sponsored by Meet, which is part of the Taipei-based Business Next Media Group.
Meet Taipei highlights startup companies in Taiwan. The event that ends Saturday also brings together diplomats, venture capitalists and senior business people from Taiwan and overseas. A total of 280 exhibit booths and 60 speakers are attending.
The formal initiation of the France-Taiwan partnership, dubbed French Tech Taiwan, followed France's selection last month of 10 new foreign hubs for a total 22.
Taiwan was one of the 10.
All were selected to help build relations with French companies.
The international tech hubs are part of an effort launched three years ago by the French government, along with private industry, to stimulate the country's high-tech sector.
The outreach to Taiwan is aimed at building connections between French startups and other companies, accelerating the growth of new companies and promoting French firms internationally.
Guidée said he sees "great room for cooperation."
Both France and Taiwan are hatching numerous startups, he said, indicating potential to grow by working together. He described the program as an effort at "mutual relationships" rather than a government-driven mission.
France follows other countries in trying to promote startups, especially in technology. In India, for example, Prime Minister Narendra Modi this year kicked off a government-backed startup promotion movement to advance the overall economy and encourage entrepreneurship in IT.
In Israel, the government has helped its tech sector by lowering the corporate tax and establishing a grant-making office. Israel has the world's highest density of startups.
Taiwan itself is developing what President Tsai Ing-wen calls Asian Silicon Valley to promote startups and the Internet of things subsector of IT.
France has the world's sixth largest economy, with the second highest productivity level among the world's main economies.
About 25,000 foreign companies now operate in France, said Frédéric Glanois, head of the de facto embassy's economic service. The French government offers incentives for research and development spending, Glanois noted.
"The French government also wants to encourage sharing and cooperation," he said.