Taiwan Authorities Urged To Push E-Commerce

In an annual government and tech industry meeting, Taiwan government officials and local Internet specialists called for an acceleration in efforts to make the island’s infrastructure, laws and regulations more conducive to the growth of e-commerce.

At the ninth annual Strategic Review Board (SRB) meeting on Electronics, Information and Telecommunications, commentators and industry figures agreed that certain factors, such as the high level of Internet access and the rapid growth in credit card ownership, have made Taiwan ripe for an explosion in e-commerce.

According to Taiwan’s government, more than 3 million of the island’s 21 million residents are Net users.

However, the government’s five-year “industrial automation and digitalization plan” has been criticized by some experts as being insufficiently ambitious and already behind developments in the field.

The SRB is part of the National Science Council, a central government unit charged with promoting science, technology and academic research. The SRB suggests technology-utilization strategies for both the public and private sectors.

Taiwan’s government was represented at the meeting by Administrative Vice-Minister of Economic Affairs Yin Chi-ming. He indicated that e-commerce should not be hampered by onerous government regulations. He added that the government itself will soon begin conducting transactions online whenever possible.

Winding up the conference, Norman H. Ku, an executive officer from Sun Microsystems Inc., said that “in order to be competitive in the 21st century global economy, Taiwan has to embrace and deploy e-commerce wholeheartedly and swiftly, because national prosperity depends on successful implementation of e-commerce policies.”

Some of those attending the meeting called on the government to reduce the time it takes to issue e-commerce regulations and pass related legislation. Many specialists said the government needs to take more of a leading role in developing e-commerce in Taiwan. Others maintained that private businesses can better spearhead the growth of this sector of the economy.

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