On March 27, Monte Jade Science and Technology (West Coast) held it 20th anniversary conference in Santa Clara, California. Taiwan’s former Premier, Liu Chao-shiuan, delivered an optimistic keynote speech on “How Taiwan Faced the Challenges after the Global Financial Tsunami.” The conference included several industry forums and panel discussions on the emerging mobile ecosystem, clean tech opportunities, and the evolution of computers. The newly elected chairperson, Lilly Chung, also officially took over the chairpersonship from Hu Yaw-wen.
Giving his keynote speech, Liu told the audience that, “Taiwan's unemployment rate had dropped to 5.68 percent from 6.13 percent over the past five months. Its price index is now the lowest in Asia. The pain index is the lowest in six years. A large number of international funds have entered Taiwan." Liu is a Global Monte Jade Honorable Chairman Emeritus and the Chairman of Taiwan’s National Culture Association.
Liu said cross-strait relations during his tenure reached the highest point of the past fifteen or twenty years. Communication and exchanges between the peoples, goods, and financial dealings of the two sides were closer than before, he said. Some economists estimate that Chinese visitors to Taiwan have contributed half a percentage point to Taiwan's GDP.
In the area of energy saving and carbon reduction, Liu’s policy achieved an annual energy saving about equal to the consumption of Tainan County or 65 percent of Taipei City. In the wake of the global financial crisis, the implementation of the "three support policies," meaning the government’s support for banks, enabling them to support the labor force, not only helped Taiwan weather the financial crisis, but also to retain 40,000-60,000 jobs.
Liu mentioned in particular the distribution of food coupons to spur domestic spending in the early stages of the financial storm. At the time, a lot of people thought it unfeasible. But the coupons were not given out for purely economic reasons, but also for social reasons. Every Lunar New Year, the suicide rate in Taiwan rises, but in 2009 it fell, because people had money to spend. Unemployment rates have dropped over the past five months, proving that Taiwan’s economy is back on track.
With regard to the coming challenges, Liu said 70 percent of Taiwan’s economy depends on exports with a heavy focus on IT and the telecommunications industries. When an imbalance in international supply and demand occurred, Taiwan suffered greatly. Taiwan’s exports dropped 46 percent in just one quarter. To cope with this, Liu’s administration tried to find a way to restructure the nation’s industries. With the help of experts and scholars, Liu launched the "six new industries" program with a focus on biotechnology, healthcare, agriculture, energy, tourism, and the cultural industries, in a bid to revitalize Taiwan’s economy.
Monte Jade Science and Technology Association (West Coast) was established in 1989 by a group of Chinese-American executives in Silicon Valley. Their initial goal was to bring together high-tech experts from around the Bay Area and across the Pacific. After a gradual expansion, there are now 16 chapters worldwide.
Last month’s conference was attended by over 1,000 business, engineering, and other professionals.
- 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.
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