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PHL on radar for Taiwan startups

THE Philippines and other Southeast Asian markets are being targeted by startups from Taiwan for expansion, according to the head of Taiwan’s startup branding organization.

Amanda Liu, founder and managing director of Startup Island TAIWAN, said Taiwan startups are now looking for other markets apart from the US and China.

“There is a need to have a second market… And I think Southeast Asia is likely the most (viable) option for Taiwan startups,” Ms. Liu told reporters last week.

Asked what makes the Philippines attractive, she said: “I think one of the important points is that the Philippines has a very good English base.”

“So when they bring or introduce any applications to the Philippines, it’s very easy to implement these applications because there are no language barriers. With no language barriers, it will be easy to communicate with Filipinos,” she added.

Last week, Startup Island organized the Taiwan-Philippines Tech Summit, during which it brought 15 Taiwan startups to the Philippines.

“This is our first time to explore more cooperation here. We invited many mature Taiwanese startups to come here, like FUNNOW Group, and I think they are mature enough to develop their market and have a chance to merge or explore deeper cooperation with Philippine startups,” Ms. Liu said.

She said Taiwan startups are interested in consumer experience and digital transformation ventures, noting that digital transformation will play a huge part in any market, be it in agriculture or other industries.

“I think almost all industries need to do digital transformation, and although Taiwan has a technological advantage, they need to find partners to implement this kind of solution,” she said.

“One of the hot topics is artificial intelligence (AI). But we know that AI is just an application; AI needs to be implemented with others to make something better, smoother, or more efficient,” she added.

Asked for her views on growing the startup ecosystem in the Philippines, she said that partnering with other countries and more government support will play a big part.

“I think the Philippines is booming now; it is at the starting point. And that is why we are here; since you are at the starting point, you can leverage other countries’ ability to empower your startup ecosystem,” she said.

“And based on our experience in Taiwan, startups always need funding and educational support. There is a need to encourage people to do startups and emphasize an entrepreneur mindset,” she added. — Justine Irish D. Tabile