Saturday, December 12, 2009

Taiwan to set up Kindle-like platform

Taiwan’s government is set to spend US$66.2 million over the next five years to promote the development of the island’s e-reader industry. The government hopes this will help local businesses set up Chinese-language content exchange platforms similar to Kindle, Amazon’s electronic books and digital media.

The exchange platform of Kindle is a closed platform, which displays content by using a proprietary Kindle format (AZW), while the ones in Taiwan would use the EPUB standard platform to allow integration of different industries and multi-national cooperation, including the use of different language content, not just Chinese.

According to the Economic Daily News, the government hopes to cash in on the digital publishing industry which will reportedly generate US$3.1 billion for the local and international market by 2013.

Besides helping local businesses to develop this sector, Taiwan also hopes to work with China in formulating the Chinese-language e-reader standards and service model. The paper said businesses in Taiwan and China can leverage their respective advantages to establish a common set of standards for Chinese e-readers and digital content, which includes format compatibility, testing of hardware and software support, and cooperation in developing software of digital rights management and online intellectual property protection.

The two sides are expected to hold a bridge-building conference on Cross Strait Cooperation and Exchange Information of Digital Content in June 2010 to discuss the common standards for digital publishing and e-readers to serve the global Chinese-language market.

The Commercial Times reported that Taiwan will see a dozen electronics companies enter the hardware area of e-readers manufacturing by the end of the first quarter of 2010. As a new emerging industry combining high technology, internet, and digital content, e-readers are expected to take over part of the internet surfing function of notebook computers, making phone calls, listening to music and reading books.

Poised for the expanding market, Far EasTone Telecommunications, one of the three largest mobile networks in Taiwan, has already applied for a government subsidy to become the first provider of a value-added mobile service for digital reading through the WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) technology. It is working with book publishers, software developers and hardware manufacturers of e-book devices to create a new service model in the application of e-books.

Other Taiwan companies are also vying for a share of the e-reader industry and are ready to be dominant players. Prime View International, a major supplier to Amazon Kindle, has invested US$215 million to acquire the digital ink technology developer E Ink Corp. in the US in June, 2009. Other Taiwanese electronics manufacturers interested in the e-reader industry include Asustek Computer, Foxconn Electronics, and AU Optronics, the latter has also signed an investment agreement with an American e-paper manufacturer.

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About Me

The Press Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in San Francisco represents the Government Information Office (GIO), Executive Yuan, Republic of China (Taiwan). GIO maintains nine Press Divisions in the United States, including the San Francisco office. The Press Divisions are in charge of promoting Taiwan's public relations and cultural exchanges. This blog is updated by the Press Division, TECO in San Francisco.