To Step up Its Digital Transformation, Taiwan Needs a New Social Compact

If Taiwan is to succeed in its digital strategy, there needs to be a fundamental mindset shift toward investing in Taiwan’s industries and citizenry.

The Diplomat
Date: December 05, 2020
By: Roy Ngerng.   

Credit: Unsplash

Taiwan’s government is in the process of setting up a new digital ministry in order to spur the development of the digital industry, with the supposed aim of integrating the various digitalization strategies of multiple existing agencies and streamlining their implementation. Among Taiwan’s key digitalization strategies is the Digital Nation and Innovative Economic Development Program (DIGI+) 2017-2025, which aims to “drive [the] industry to adopt digital development,” “realize a fair and active internet society with equal digital rights,” and “bridge the digital divide in rural areas.”

However, while these objectives are commendable, Taiwan has its work cut out for it.

Does Taiwan’s Wealth Inequality Impede Digital Adoption?

For one, Taiwan still pales in comparison with the other advanced countries in terms of internet access – Taiwan’s mobile broadband subscriptions per 100 population ranked only 23rd globally in 2019 while fixed-broadband internet subscriptions per 100 population ranks 46th. The percentage of internet users among the adult population in Taiwan ranked 14th. This is by no means low – internet users comprise 92.8 percent of the population in Taiwan as compared to 95.9 percent in South Korea, 94.7 percent in the Netherlands, 89.7 percent in Germany, and 84.6 percent in Japan. But in Taiwan, the information and communications technology (ICT) sector ranks as the largest in the world as a share of GDP (and in fact saw the fastest growth in the value added to GDP between 2010 and 2017). In monetary terms, Taiwan also ranks as having the ninth largest ICT sector globally. In addition, Taiwan’s export market share in the computer, electronics, and optical industry ranks among the world’s largest as well (Taiwan’s exports comprise 5.58 percent of global exports, as compared with the United States’ 7.26 percent and South Korea’s 6.76 percent). That raises a question as to why there exists a disparity between Taiwan’s production capabilities versus individual access.    [FULL  STORY]

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