Taiwan needs to shift its traditional focus on electronics hardware toward software, according to one of the founding fathers of its high technology sector.
Stan Shih, Honorary Chairman and Founder of Acer, told Computex in Taipei that his home country needs to respond to a shift based on a the increasing distinction between PC-driven ‘Comupter and Communication’ to multi-device and cloud-driven ‘Computing and Communication’.
“The Internet of Things is a big, big, big opportunity for Taiwan. It’s very good for SMEs too because it’s based on many diversified applications,” Shih said.
“The young generation has many opportunities. But Taiwan must change from being hardware-centric to being software-centric for development.”
Many will recognize Shih’s exhortation and the global trend for semiconductor companies to hire coders at a faster rate than hardware engineers is well established. But this is Taiwan.
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A country with a population of 23.4 million people has long punched above its weight in high technology largely because it has prioritized hardware.
Alongside Acer in PCs there are also companies like Asus. HTC is a major player in cellphones. MediaTek continues to acquire share in wireless processors. And, of course, TSMC is the world’s largest chip foundry, a sector it essentially created.
Shih accepts that refocusing Taiwanese industry will take time. But significantly, he made his call in response to a panel question from the country’s Vice Premier and former Minister of Science and Technology, Simon Chang (also the one-time head of Google’s hardware operations in Asia).
In the interim, Acer continues to acquire and offer extra software and other technologies for what Shih prefers to call ‘The Internet of Beings’ by building out its own ecosystem.
The BYOC (‘Build you own cloud’) initiative was originally launched on the back of Shih’s decision to come out of retirement and put Acer back on track in November 2013. He stepped down again in June 2014.