A former Director General of Taiwan Intellectual Property Office (TIPO), Mei-Hua Wang took over as Taiwan’s Vice Minister of Economic Affairs in July 2016. A law graduate from National Taiwan University, she was elevated to her present role as her expertise in intellectual copyright laws is expected to strengthen the East Asian island nation’s bid to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Wang, who was recently in New Delhi, spoke exclusively to the Smart City Council of India on areas that her country is keen to partner with India on the smart cities front.
What aspects of India’s smart cities opportunity excite you the most?
In Taiwan, we have a very strong ICT industry. In recent years, it has acquired the capability to develop smart city applications. And, of course, those applications have been very successful in the smart cities mission. I think there is good opportunity in the Indian market as the country is now developing its industry and cities. A special feature about Taiwan is that we have lot of SMEs that can develop great solutions for particular industries. Our government too is very bullish on India. To cite an example: we are now providing a talent training programme for Indians in smartphone development. The programme covers from basic level to creating a good design for a smartphone. This works to our mutual benefit as it not only promotes development of our industry but also the Indian industry.
Since you spoke about partnerships, what kind of synergies are you looking at the government-to-government level?
It cannot be said openly as Taiwan is in a unique position. I don’t think it will be suitable to talk about it publicly.
Are you also speaking to state governments in India?
Concerning state governments, I think they are now proactively trying to attract foreign investments. Several Taiwanese electronics and electricals manufacturers are interested to invest in India. I think they all have a lot of room to set-up business here.
What are the key areas of collaboration that you are looking at in terms of smart cities and smart living?
Our companies have the potential to partner in infrastructure, healthcare, energy and safety. I heard that the safety aspect has become a very important issue here in India. As you might be aware, we too have traffic safety issues. That knowledge can also be applied in India.
Are you also looking at other engagements such as partnering with universities for knowledge sharing or cities for the smart cities programme?
Yes, the more engagement we have, the more understanding it will help build. Taiwan has several cities that are internationally recognized. They possess the best capabilities of smart cities. Indian cities can cooperate with Taiwanese cities and understand how to develop smart city solutions. We can provide the right kind of opportunity for such partnerships.
What kind of investment are you looking at making in India?
Am not sure on the size of investment because that is still under discussion. Maybe when things get a little bit more concretised then we will have the statistics. But I can tell you that we are looking at lot of opportunities.
What are the other areas that you might like to partner with India?
Most of our industry is interested in ICT as India has an upper hand. Also, in the beginning, we thought food processing would be a good segment to invest in. But since India have some logistical issues, our industry is a little apprehensive about investing in this sector. Maybe we can encourage Taiwan-based companies to invest after holding some more discussions with the Indian government.
- Manish Pant