The joint focus on innovation was announced today in Tainan. Both sides have designated 2020-21 as the Year of Canadian-Taiwanese Innovators to help companies adopt new technologies to create business and restructure global supply chains.
Jordan Reeves, Executive Director of the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei, said, "Canadian entrepreneurs have had great success working with Taiwan's engineers and contract manufacturers. Our focus now is on applying artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT) solutions to smart manufacturing, healthcare, and financial services for global markets."
"The event is the constructive outcome of last year's Taiwan-Canada Annual Economic Consultation," said Wang Mei-Hua, Taiwan's Minister for Economic Affairs. "I keenly look forward to it to serve well to strengthen our bilateral relationship in the areas of trade, investment, technology, and innovation," Minister Wang added.
Tainan Mayor Huang Wei-Cher welcomed the announcement. "I am very pleased that the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei has launched the Year of Canadian-Taiwanese Innovators in Tainan. This is an affirmation of Tainan's innovation capabilities, industrial competitiveness, and investment environment, as well as a milestone in strengthening our friendship with Canada."
Regarding Tainan's industrial advantage, Mayor Huang pointed out that Tainan's industrial development is quite diverse. Whether in agriculture, machinery, solar energy, semiconductor, green energy, or other industries, there are many opportunities for exchange and cooperation with Canadian companies. "I believe that this will bring more benefits to businesses on both sides."
The trade office runs a Canadian Technology Accelerator in Taipei focussing on AI and digital health and is set to launch a series of virtual partnering sessions with Starfab Accelerator supported by National Tainan Science Park.
Canada was one of the first countries to develop modern AI capabilities. Two of the three so-called "pioneers of AI" who won the prestigious Turing Prize in 2018 are Canadian and live in Toronto and Montreal. Today, Toronto has the highest concentration of AI start-ups in the world with more than 500. Montreal is the city with the highest concentration of researchers and students in the related field of deep learning.
Supported by the Ministry of Economic Affairs' Mobileheroes program, the Canadian Technology Accelerator recently linked two dozen leading Canadian technology firms with more than 120 Taiwanese companies and investors.
A Canadian non-profit research and innovation organization called Mitacs, dedicated to fostering international collaborations between academia and industry has partnered with Tainan's National Cheng Kung University's GLORIA program. The partnership will fund up to 100 business internships and academic research positions annually for Canadian and Taiwanese graduate students, with a focus on industrial and social innovation. In Taiwan, the program is supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology. Both sides hope to expand the program in 2021.
The trade office will also host a seminar with Tainan-based Yi-Tsai Club, a group of 81 companies in the Tainan area, on Sept. 23. Chairman Robert Wu is encouraging members to work with domestic and international partners, including Mitacs, and to take an innovative approach to expand their business.
" We look forward to starting the conversation with Canadian tech companies, and increasing members' motivation for more direct investment activities overseas," said Wu.
Canada offers Taiwanese companies an open business environment, innovative ecosystem, and competitive talent. Canada has signed 14 trade agreements with 51 countries covering nearly 1.5 billion consumers with a combined GDP of US$52 trillion, giving Taiwanese investors access to the North American market and beyond.
Given restrictions on international travel as a result of the pandemic, both sides will continue to use virtual means to forge innovation partnerships.