Remarks by AIT Director W. Brent Christensen
at Opening Ceremony of Meet Taipei 2020
November 18, 2020
(as prepared for delivery)
Mayor Ko, Deputy Mayor Lo, Representative Casabonne-Masonnave, Representative Izumi, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, wu an!
I’m very excited to be here today to help open Meet Taipei 2020. I would like to congratulate “Meet Taipei” for its 10-year anniversary and for the valuable services it has provided to over 10,000 start-ups over the last decade. I also must congratulate Taiwan…the fact that we are holding the expo this year is not only due to the success of the Taiwan model to combat COVID-19, but also the resilience of the startup community in Taiwan.
The theme of this year’s Meet Taipei conference “Arising Vision” is quite appropriate. As both the United States and Taiwan face the new “normal” of dealing with a global economy battered by COVID-19, novel approaches are required to overcome these unprecedented challenges.
Luckily, Taiwan’s start up ecosystem is positioning itself to meet these challenges and to develop creative solutions. Events like Meet Taipei are excellent opportunities to reflect on these trends and to develop the relationships that will ultimately lead to the development of new services and technologies.
We are fortunate that U.S.-Taiwan cooperation on this topic is so strong. As an example, earlier this year in collaboration with Taiwan’s Executive Yuan, AIT launched the Coronavirus Hackathon, or “co-hack,” which challenged international partners to develop new technology focused solutions to combat COVID. Teams from over 50 countries participated in the “co-hack,” and winners came up with innovative solutions ranging from early warning systems for governments, to disseminating real time information on medical services and contact tracing. The collaboration exemplified by these start-ups leveraged public data with private sector know-how that will help the global community combat the evolving pandemic.
Despite COVID greatly limiting travel between the United States and Taiwan, there are some silver linings. For example, Taiwan has attracted a class of highly talented entrepreneurs, visionaries, and artists to reside in Taiwan. These individuals are seeking ways to make the link between the United States and Taiwan’s entrepreneurship ecosystems even stronger. Combined with Taiwan’s talented population, supportive government policies like the NDC-supported Gold Card and entrepreneurship visas — and the huge need for new solutions — Taiwan can take advantage of this situation to solidify its identity as a regional innovation hub. AIT encourages Taiwan to continue to think creatively to enable the innovators to do their critical work to create long-lasting benefits for humanity.
Taiwan has demonstrated time and again that it is a reliable partner and a critical player in moving toward a more sustainable and innovation based global economy. As we move forward together in the digital age, we look forward to continuing to work closely with all of you here today. Moreover, Taiwan’s future depends upon moving up the value-chain to become a full-fledged innovation-based economy.
We often describe our partnership with the phrase “Real Friends, Real Progress” (真朋友，真進展) and our close cooperation to support innovation and entrepreneurship is a great highlight of our work.
Thank you for your attention and best wishes for a successful event!