The Startup Ecosystem in Taiwan: A Quick Glance

14

2014/06/09 by lingdecklee

Alumni
  • Population stats:
    • 23.3 million population.
    • Internet penetration rate: nearly 80% of population.
    • Smartphone penetration rate: 67% of population.
    • Tablet penetration rate: 31% of population.
    • Facebook penetration rate: 65% of population (top in Asia).
      • Daily users: 11 million.
      • Daily mobile users: 8.5 million.
  • Business climate:
    • Home to the world’s largest contract manufacturing firms that make over 90% of the world’s laptops.
    • 47 companies on Forbes Global 2,000 list.
    • The 3 largest telecommunication companies just launched 4G services.
    • Several thousands startups.
  • Strengths:
    • World class engineers.
    • Excellent hardware and infrastructure.
    • Lower cost of living.
  •  Weaknesses:
    • Traditional focus on B2B business means lack of experience in B2C business.
    • Traditional focus on hardware means lack of expertise in software development.
    • Somewhat outdated laws make it challenging to attract international investors and foreign talents.
    • Startups lack a global mindset.
  • Opportunities:
    • E-commerce, mobile internet, and internet advertising are growing rapidly.
    • Consumers are more willing to test/buy the latest products.
    • 3D printing/maker movements.
    • Wearables and other internet connected devices.
    • Southeast Asia serving as the next major market.
  • State of startup ecosystem:
    • Taiwan has a somewhat ‘loose’  startup ecosystem in place – it has the basic elements but not yet enough chemistry to thrive and prosper. Quite a number of industry players (such as major corporations, VCs) lack vision, leading to the disproportionate emphasis being placed on new ventures that can harvest short-term financial gains or complement the existing businesses. The new statups (especially web startups) are perceived as riskier and early-stage investments are often harder to come by. Startups almost have to prove themselves to have M&A or IPO potential before they get noticed by the capital market. Many entrepreneurs are heavily dependent on bootstrapping, bank borrowing, and/or government grant, so it is not surprising that they give priority to making money over making changes to the world. However, Taiwan is witnessing some influential individuals in the circle making changes to the mindset/culture among the entrepreneurial community as well as the government’s attitude/policy. Just recently, the government has announced a $400 million fund to invest in startups. The future of Taiwanese startups looks more hopeful.
  • Examples of recent successful startup stories:
  • Reputable “Taiwan-based” VCs that have invested in Taiwan startups:
  • Reputable accelerators/incubators:
  • Known startup courses:
  • Known coworking spaces:
  • Known crowdfunding platforms:
  • Influential individuals in the ecosystem:
    • Jamie Lin (Founding Partner of AppWorks)
    • Mark Hsu (Founding Partner of Pinehurst Advisors)
    • Wayne Huang (Entrepreneur-turned-angel, Aranya Founders Fund)
  • Known tech news media:
  • Known startup conferences/events:
  • Other useful links:

[updated 2014/12/16]

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14 thoughts on “The Startup Ecosystem in Taiwan: A Quick Glance

  1. max says:

    Hey good analysis! I’ve been researching the same topic but I’m focusing on solutions to the weaknesses. Do you what to go for coffee and swap notes?

  2. Tim says:

    Hi Jeffrey,

    thanks for introducing the startup ecosystem in TW.
    about the tech news media in TW,

    Known tech news media:
    BNext
    TechOrange
    INSIDE
    PunNode
    youwuReport

    as I know, should be yowureport.

  3. Mark cooper says:

    Nice Article Jeff, Very In-depth and informative.

    Taiwan has very good number of growing startups, but they are limited to national level only. Entrepreneurs should have a global approach to capture larger audiences

    Mark

  4. Its really very interesting and helpful..Thanks for sharing this post with us…ROC Software

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