How will next Taipei City mayor lead Taipei startup ecosystem? – Taiwan News

Taipei City mayoral candidates at startup forum held at Huashan 1914 Creative Park. (Meet Global photo)
Three Taipei City mayoral candidates, Chen Shih-Chung (陳時中), Huang Shan-shan (黃珊珊), and Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) sat down on Wednesday (Oct. 19) with startup founders in Huashan 1914 Creative Park to share their thoughts on the prospects for Taipei innovation.
After hearing the ideas and discussions of three mayoral candidates, “whoever wins the mayoral election, Taipei City will be in good hands,” said the host Tahan Lin (林大涵), co-founder of Backer-Founder.
Huang served as a city councilor and now as deputy mayor. She worked closely with the Department of Economic Development and provided assistance for startup landings in Taiwan.
For example, she helped wireless charging solution provider ChargeSPOT establish its charging station inside Taipei City Hall and five MRT stations, leading to charging spots being installed in thousands of places. She also witnessed the launch of Taipei city’s first startup hub — Neihu Technology Park — and supported innovative solutions like iTrash and Greenvines.
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During his days as a business lawyer, Chiang Wan-an helped several startups, including Pinkoi, 91APP, The News Lens, and EZtable. (Meet Global photo)
As for Chiang, who graduated from law school at the University of Pennsylvania, he provided legal consultancy for several startups such as Bounty Hunter, a leading competition platform from Taiwan, and now based in the Bay Area. As a business lawyer, he also helped Pinkoi, a Taiwanese e-commerce platform, with their fundraising.
Other startups he has worked with include 91APP, The News Lens, and Eztable. He said that closely working with startups has made him aware of the difficulties of starting a company and further prompted him to support their efforts.
Chen Shih-Chung, the former health minister, said that he is familiar with the biotech industry, cell therapy, medical imaging technologies, precision medicine, and so on. He said that he is optimistic about establishing platforms in these areas and setting up standards, so that Taipei can be competitive in the international arena in this field.
Taipei’s enormous potential: Angel investing
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Taipei City Government has provided NT$4.6 billion (US$143 million) in startup funding since 2015, which has yielded NT$200 billion in revenue, according to Huang Shan-shan. (Meet Global photo)
Taipei is a booming place for innovation, with its ecosystem of startups ranking 47th worldwide, eighth in East Asia, and No.1 in Taiwan, according to StartupBlink in 2022. Therefore, it’s vital to see what strategies a future mayor has for boosting startups.
All three mayoral candidates agreed that Taipei City has so far achieved great success in angel investing and funding startups, but had different focuses on what the next steps should be. Taipei City Government has provided NT$4.6 billion (US$143 million) in startup funding since 2015, which has yielded NT$200 billion in revenue, according to Huang Shan-shan.
She also pointed out there had been assistance and support to bridge the gap between the first pot of gold and success. “The government should help startups survive through the days before they are seen by more VCs,” said Huang.
Chen voiced support for the plan's expansion, especially for mature startups. “We are not only the sponsor, but also the investor," he said. "The government should seek collaborations with certain startups, such as those with smart solutions for disaster prevention or transportation."
Chiang, meanwhile, emphasized early-phase investments like seed round funding for startups, which can gain the most needed support. “The budget of Taipei City also comes from taxpayers, which reminds us of the clear purpose and benefits of the funding,” said Chiang. “The amount of funding should strictly align with the needs and ambitions of each startup.”
Eyeing the global stage
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“Taipei is a city with a great cultural heritage, where we could boost industry by learning about others’ experiences,” said Chen Shih-chung. (Meet Global photo)
As for who Taipei City should work with, Silicon Valley is the top choice for Taipei, as it has been the world's preeminent hub for technology and is a byword for innovation, according to Chiang. “Taipei should head towards tech clusters straightforwardly to earn competitiveness,” said the candidate.
Seoul of South Korea comes next. With its leading financial industry, Seoul as Taipei's sister city, can also drive growth for the financial sector in terms of digital transformation.
Chen picked Boston as a preferred partner due to its experience working in the biotech industry. Many medicine giants are based in Boston, which could expand business for medicine startups based in Taipei.
The candidate also mentioned Stockholm, a city that is prospering in the cultural and creative sector. “Taipei is a city with a great cultural heritage, where we could boost industry by learning about others’ experiences,” said Chen.
Huang voted for Boston as well, due to its comprehensive ecosystems for all walks of life. In addition, she said the international connections of Singapore could prompt Taipei to go global.
“We don’t lack talents, but the stages for them." The candidate expressed the need to help startups gain a foothold in the international markets, and make sure the world gets to know Taipei.
It would appear after hearing the ideas of the future mayor candidates that founders and entrepreneurs can expect Taipei City to be led by international and innovative visions.
Updated : 2022-10-23 03:14 GMT+08:00
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