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TA I WA N R E V I E W September / October 2017

台 灣 評 論

INSIGHT

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Coming up Orchids

Tainan horticulturalists and researchers are sowing the seeds of floral success.

Consulates and Missions

NT$120 / US$4.50

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Land of Opportunity

The potential-laden Philippine market is attracting increased numbers of Taiwan enterprises.

Going global through local tie-ups

No. 5

TAI WAN R EVI EW GPN2004000005

PHOTOGRAPHY

Living Museums

Traditional temples encapsulate the finest standards of artistry and craftsmanship.

S t r o n g e r To g e t h e r

Vol. 67

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China (Taiwan) operates embassies, consulates and representative offices across the globe. To learn more about these missions and the services they provide, visit www.taiwanembassy.org or scan the QR code.

DIPLOMACY

TA I WA N R E V I E W

ROC Embassies,

September / October 2017


Decorative tiles at Sanxia Qingshui Zushi Temple in New Taipei City’s Sanxia District (Photo by Huang Chung-hsin)

2 Taiwan Review September / October


EDITORIAL

台 灣 評 論

Building for the Future

O

n Oct. 10, the Republic of China (Taiwan) celebrates the 106th anniversary of its founding. This milestone, which will be marked by citizens and friends of the country with a series of colorful and joyous events at home and abroad, takes on even greater significance this year. In the face of shifting geopolitics and the relentless tide of social change, it is reassuring to know the nation remains as much of a symbol of hope, stability and vitality today as at its birth in 1912. Ensuring Taiwan continues carrying this torch and meeting new challenges and emerging responsibilities is a core policymaking consideration of the government. Since taking office in May 2016, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has led efforts aimed at revitalizing the country’s structures and putting it on a sounder footing to continue advancing for the benefit of all. A strong Taiwan engaging actively and confidently in the international arena is good for the people, as well as peace, prosperity, security and stability in the Asia-Pacific. This approach encapsulates all the finest traditions of courage, excellence and sacrifice recently displayed by athletes, support staff and volunteers at the Taipei 2017 Summer Universiade—the largest global sporting event ever staged in Taiwan. It also epitomizes the country’s signature cando spirit, which helped transform it from a recipient to provider of foreign aid, achieve unprecedented economic growth as an Asian tiger and adopt the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. At the heart of the government’s strateg y is the New Southbound Policy, a comprehensive initiative aimed at deepening mutually beneficial ties between Taiwan and the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations member economies, six South Asian countries, Australia and New Zealand. The latest focus of the policy comprises five flagship projects and three potential-laden fields for

collaboration. The former is innovative industries; medical cooperation and industrial supply chains; policy forums and youth exchange platforms; regional agriculture; and talent cultivation, while the latter is e-commerce; infrastructure; and tourism. Alongside the policy is the For ward-looking Inf r astr ucture Program. The special budget for the first term of the NT$420 billion (US$14 billion) four-year initiative was approved in July by the Cabinet, signaling the commencement of projects in railway development, digital infrastructure, aquatic environment, food safety, green energy, urban-rural development, birthrate promotion, child care facilities, and talent and employment. Although making sure the country is not left on the sidelines as regional neighbors forge closer relations is of the utmost importance, this does not come at the expense of other issues in society. As Taiwan continues moving ahead, interests spanning generations, classes and ethnicities are being adroitly addressed by the government. Case in point is the launch last month of the country’s first radio station broadcasting in the languages of the 16 officially recognized indigenous tribes. The service is part of the Junepromulgated indigenous languages development act, which seeks to raise awareness of and preserve Taiwan’s aboriginal cultures, history and languages while assisting in the attainment of historical and transitional justice. Others include rolling out changes to pension schemes, enacting concrete measures aimed at achieving gender equality and bolstering the defense capabilities of the armed forces. As the pace of reform and renewal accelerates in Taiwan, great pride can be taken in the government’s strategic vision and ongoing efforts to build for the future. Double Tenth National Day is a time to celebrate this commitment and the social bedrock making it possible: a shared belief in democracy, f reedom, human rights and the rule of law.

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CONTENTS

September / October

台 灣 評 論

E DITORIAL

03

BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE Reform and renewal are watchwords for the Republic of China (Taiwan) on Double Tenth National Day.

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S NAPSHOTS News and events concerning Taiwan from the past several months

I NSIGHT

STRENGTH IN CLUSTERS The success of the country’s internationally competitive industries lies in cooperative and flexible relationships. BY OSCAR CHUNG

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COMING UP ORCHIDS Growers and researchers in Tainan cultivate a vibrant orchid seedling sector. BY PAT GAO

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CRAFTING WITH PRECISION Taichung’s machinery cluster looks to the era of Industry 4.0. BY KELLY HER

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SUCCESS ON TAP Lugang Township is a major hub of the global bathroom and plumbing fixtures sector. BY PAT GAO

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SHIPSHAPE AND KAOHSIUNG FASHION Taiwan’s yacht builders chart a course for industry leadership. BY PAT GAO

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POOLING RESOURCES Aquaculture firms in Pingtung County profit through a shared commitment to innovation. BY KELLY HER

PHOTOS BY CHIN HUNG-HAO AND CHUANG KUNG-JU


D IPLOMACY

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LAND OF OPPORTUNITY Local enterprises eye the rapidly expanding Philippine market. BY OSCAR CHUNG

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TIES THAT BIND People-to-people exchanges between Taiwan and the Philippines scale new heights. BY OSCAR CHUNG

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C ULTURE

ISLANDS OF HERITAGE Passionate community groups spark a cultural revival in outlying Penghu County. BY KELLY HER

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P HOTOGRAPHY

LIVING MUSEUMS

An eclectic approach to construction has endowed local temples with deep artistic value. PHOTOS BY HUANG CHUNG-HSIN

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HISTORIC HOMECOMING The resort town of Xinbeitou celebrates the return of a century-old railway station. PHOTOS BY CHIN HUNG-HAO

Taiwan Review PUBLISHER David Tawei Lee DIRECTOR Paul Kuoboug Chang EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Lester Liyen Yang MANAGING EDITOR Jim Hwang EDITORS Ciaran Madden, Jason Gerock, John Scott Marchant STAFF WRITERS Kelly Her, Oscar Chung, Pat Gao PHOTO EDITOR Dawa Hsiao PHOTOGRAPHERS Huang Chung-hsin, Chen Mei-ling, Chin Hung-hao ART DIRECTOR Tsai Mei-chu COVER PHOTOS BY CHANG SU-CHING, CHIN HUNG-HAO, HUANG CHUNG-HSIN AND JIMMY LIN; DESIGN BY ELLA LIN

ART EDITORS Lin Chain-ru, Lin Hsin-chieh, Ella Lin PRODUCTION Cheng Hsiao-yen ADDRESS Kwang Hwa Publishing Co. 2 Tianjin Street, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China PRINTER China Color Printing Co., Inc. 229 Baoqiao Rd., Xindian, New Taipei City, Taiwan, ROC

SUBSCRIPTION Taiwan—NT$120/copy, NT$700/yr, NT$1,300/2yrs Other areas—US$4.50/copy, US$25/yr, US$50/2yrs Taiwan residents can subscribe to Taiwan Review at post offices by completing a giro deposit form (郵政劃撥儲金存款單). The magazine’s postal account number is 0009469-4, and its Chinese title is 外交部英文台灣評論. International readers please contact Kwang Hwa Publishing Co. CONTACT INFORMATION Editorial: Tel: 886-2-3356-8015 Fax: 886-2-2356-8233 Email: taiwanreview@mofa.gov.tw Subscription: Tel: 886-2-2397-0633 Fax: 886-2-2397-0655 Email: service@taiwan-panorama.com COPYRIGHT Taiwan Review (ISSN 1727-5148) is published bimonthly by Kwang Hwa Publishing Co. 2 Tianjin Street, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China © 2017 by Kwang Hwa Publishing Co. All rights reserved. The magazine was published as the Free China Review from 1951, the Taipei Review from 2000 and the Taiwan Review from 2003. 中華民國40年4月1日創刊

MICROFORM REPRODUCTIONS Taiwan Review is available in microform (microfiche and 16mm and 35mm film) from National Archive Publishing Company, 300 North Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. OTHER LANGUAGE EDITION Taiwan Review is also published bimonthly in Spanish. INTERNET Multimedia information about Taiwan is available at http://www.mofa.gov.tw Taiwan Review is available online at http://taiwanreview.nat.gov.tw 中華郵政台北雜字第29號

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GPN 2004000005 The views expressed by individual authors do not necessarily reflect those of the Taiwan Review.


SNAPSHOTS

台 灣 評 論

POLITICS ROC, Belize ink cooperation pact, reaffirm relations A memorandum of understanding on bilateral cooperation between the Republic of China (Taiwan) and Central American diplomatic ally Belize was inked July 26 in the capital Belmopan by Minister of Foreign Affairs David Tawei Lee (李大維) and his Belizean counterpart Wilfred Elrington. Under the agreement, the two nations will work toward cultivating more opportunities for exchanges and collaboration across a range of areas like agriculture, culture, economics and tourism. In addition, Lee was presented with Belize’s Order of Distinction in recognition of his valuable contributions to advancing bilateral relations.

President Tsai marks 30th anniversary of end of martial law President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) marked July 15 the 30th anniversary of the lifting of martial law in the Republic of China (Taiwan) with posts on her official Facebook and Twitter accounts. In the messages, she described the end of martial law as a significant first step toward democracy and freedom in Taiwan. Tsai also outlined her three-pronged vision for the development of the country’s democracy: more political participation by local forces to ensure the nation’s democracy retains its youthful energy; creation of a healthier model for exchanges between the government and social groups; and greater focus by all political parties on considering the country’s future from a Taiwan-focused position. Imposed in 1949 after the ROC government relocated from mainland China to Taiwan, martial law remained in effect for almost four decades before being lifted by President Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) in 1987.

Latin American, Caribbean allies added to visa-waiver program The 10 diplomatic allies of the Republic of China (Taiwan) in Central America and the Caribbean are the latest additions to the country’s visa-waiver program. Effective July 12, qualified citizens of Belize, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, St. Christopher and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines can visit Taiwan for up to 30 days without having to apply for a visa. Passport holders of El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua are able to enjoy the same privilege for a maximum 90 days. The move follows the recent announcement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of reciprocal visa-free treatment between the ROC and its South American diplomatic ally Paraguay. These additions bring the total number of countries under the ROC’s visa-waiver program to 59. 6

Taiwan Review September / October


Tsai receives Paraguay leader Cartes in Taipei President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) received Paraguay President Horacio Cartes at the Office of the President July 12 in Taipei City, marking the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the South American nation. Tsai said strong bilateral ties incorporate the principles of steadfast diplomacy, which advances mutual assistance for mutual benefits. In response, Cartes said robust relations between the ROC and Paraguay are built on the common values of democracy, freedom and human rights, and that Paraguay will continue to support Taiwan’s participation in international organizations. Tsai and Cartes, who was on a three-day state visit along with officials and lawmakers, also witnessed the signing of an economic cooperation accord and a mutual recognition agreement pertaining to legal documents. The pacts are expected to foster business links and supply chain integration between enterprises in the two nations while facilitating the expansion of cultural and tourism exchanges.

Defense ministry launches cybersecurity command The Information, Communications and Electronic Force Command under the Ministry of National Defense (MND) was launched June 29 in Taipei City. The command is tasked with ensuring the nation’s readiness in cybersecurity and researching related developments in electromagnetic technologies. It will create a comprehensive national cyber defense force through integrating resources from various branches of the armed forces, as well as drawing on the expertise of National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology—the MND’s primary R&D outfit—academic institutions and the private sector.

ECONOMY Academia Sinica ups 2017 forecast to 2.18 percent

GDP

Taiwan’s real gross domestic product (GDP) growth estimate for 2017 was revised upward to 2.18 percent from 1.68 percent by Taipei City-headquartered Academia Sinica July 19, reflecting greater confidence in the economy and improving fiscal conditions at home and abroad. Exports and imports of goods and services are expected to increase 4.23 percent and 4.04 percent, respectively, resulting in a trade surplus gain of 7.62 percent. At the same time, private investment is set to rise 2.36 percent. After factoring in declining food prices since February, as well as a higher comparison base from last year, inflation will remain stable at 0.93 percent, or 0.2 of a percentage point lower than the previous forecast. Unemployment is set to hover around 3.82 percent and private consumption is pegged at 1.8 percent. Academia Sinica’s GDP forecast for 2017 is the most optimistic presented to date by a Taiwan-based research organization. The DirectorateGeneral of Budget, Accounting and Statistics predicts 2.05 percent; Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research, 2.14 percent; Taiwan Institute of Economic Research, 2.04 percent; and Taiwan Research Institute, 2.01 percent.

Taipei counts down to World Congress on Information Technology Taipei City is set to host the World Congress on Information Technology Sept. 10-13, attracting more than 90 industry experts and 2,500 business leaders from 80 countries and territories to discuss and exchange ideas on hightech developments. Co-organized by the Industrial Development Bureau under the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the event involves nearly 100 business heavyweights from home and abroad showcasing the latest product offerings. According to the ministry, the event’s four-day schedule includes business-to-business matchmaking, keynote speeches, leaders’ dialogues, a ministerial roundtable and seminars on such topics as big data, infrastructure building, Internet of Things and innovative applications of mainstream technologies. Launched 39 years ago in Barcelona, the congress is the flagship event of U.S.-based World Information Technology and Services Alliance, whose members make up 90 percent of the global information and communication technology market. 7


4G smart cities initiative pays dividends for Taiwan The Meet Taiwan—4G Smart City Initiative is boosting innovation and sustainable growth by promoting publicprivate sector collaboration across related industries, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Industrial Development Bureau July 26. Under the 2014-launched initiative, nearly NT$5 billion (US$165.6 million) has been invested in cutting-edge services nationwide. Successful projects include installation of free Wi-Fi on the recently launched Taoyuan metro, a 51-kilometer mass rapid transit line connecting Taipei City, Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and Zhongli District in the northern city of Taoyuan; expansion of Wi-Fi access on the Taiwan High Speed Rail network, a 350-km north-south line situated along the western coast of the country; and establishing throughout southern Taiwan’s Tainan City fourthgeneration Wi-Fi hotspots in 1,200 traffic light control boxes and public buses during the second half of the year.

Future industries event bolsters Taiwan-EU economic ties One of the biggestever official delegations from Taiwan took part in the EU-Taiwan Event on Industry of the Future June 26-27 in Brussels, underscoring the commitment of the government to strengthening cooperation among companies, clusters and business associations in Taiwan and the EU. Headed by Minister without Portfolio Deng Chen-chung (鄧振 中) and Environmental Protection Administration Minister Lee Ying-yuan (李應元), the 110-plus group comprised representatives from Taiwan’s academic, public and private sectors. Its primary task was to promote partnerships with the 17 participating EU member states, identify common areas of interest for collaboration, as well as highlight sectoral and value chain complementarities. Co-organized by the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Bureau of Foreign Trade and Department of Industrial Technology and the European Commission, the event springboards off the success of EU Innovation Week staged on the sidelines of Computex Taipei in June 2016.

Exports rise to New Southbound Policy countries

Taiwan’s exports for the first four months of 2017 to the 18 countries covered by the New Southbound Policy surged 15.6 percent year on year to US$21.14 billion, according to the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics June 2. The biggest gain of 17 percent was recorded by the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, followed by 8 percent for the six South Asian countries and 4.9 percent for Australia and New Zealand. Trade with the targeted nations stood at US$96.02 billion last year, or 18.8 percent of Taiwan’s total.

Computex Taipei draws record number of buyers, tech professionals Computex Taipei, a leading global information and communication technology expo, wrapped up June 3 in northern Taiwan, attracting a record number of buyers and high-tech professionals from around the world. Co-organized by Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the five-day event welcomed 41,378 international visitors from 167 countries and territories, up 1 percent from last year. Of the leading visitor source countries, Thailand topped the growth list with a gain of 30.63 percent, followed by Indonesia, 22.52 percent; India, 20.86 percent; and Vietnam, 20.44 percent. Established in 1981, Computex Taipei is considered one of the world’s big three technology exhibitions alongside CeBit in Germany and Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It is widely credited as playing a key role in building Taiwan into a strategic destination for companies and investors around the world seeking partners in the global information and communication technology sector. 8

Taiwan Review September / October


SOCIETY Taichung gears up for L’Etape Taiwan cycling event Taichung City is set to host the L’Etape cycling event Sept. 17 in central Taiwan. Consisting of the grueling 121-kilometer challenge and leisurely 42-kilometer experience, the one-day event organized by Le Tour de France aims to promote the world’s most famous cycling competition. Both races begin outside Taichung City Hall, with riders in the challenge and experience given six and five hours, respectively, to complete the courses. Established in 1993, L’Etape attracts more than 15,000 cycling enthusiasts each year and holds events in such countries as Australia, Brazil, South Africa, South Korea and the U.K.

7 local universities make Asia-Pacific top 100 Seven Taiwan tertiary institutions are ranked among the 100 best universities in the Asia-Pacific, according to U.K.-based Times Higher Education magazine July 4. The schools are National Taiwan University, 33rd; National Tsing Hua University, 47th; National Chiao Tung University, 53rd; National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, 57th; National Cheng Kung University, 65th; China Medical University, 84th; and National Taiwan Normal University, 99th. “In Taiwan, engineering and computing are the mainstays of research and advanced training in universities with strong links to industry,” Times Higher Education said, adding that the nation has an excellent vocational university sector focused on advanced manufacturing. Institutions from 38 countries and territories in East and Southeast Asia, as well as Oceania, were assessed using the categories of citations, industry income, international outlook, research and teaching.

Taiwan keeps Tier 1 ranking in Trafficking in Persons Report

Taiwan maintained its Tier 1 ranking for the eighth consecutive year in the 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report released June 27 by the U.S. Department of State. The country fully meets the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking, the report stated, with the Republic of China (Taiwan) government demonstrating serious and sustained efforts in prosecuting offenders and raising public awareness of all forms of trafficking. Of the 36 Tier 1 countries, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea are the only four in the Asia-Pacific. Neighboring Japan and Singapore are Tier 2, Hong Kong is on the Tier 2 Watch List and mainland China is downgraded to Tier 3. In response, the National Immigration Agency under the Ministry of the Interior welcomed the ranking and said it underscores the effectiveness of the government’s fourpronged anti-trafficking strategy: prevention, prosecution, protection and partnership.

EVA Airways soars to 6th in Skytrax poll

EVA Airways Corp. climbed two places to sixth worldwide in the latest airline rankings released June 20 by U.K.-based Skytrax, a leading aviation industry analysis and assessment firm. In the online poll involving 19.87 million passengers from 105 countries and territories, the carrier based in Taoyuan City, northern Taiwan, finished first in business class amenities and cabin cleanliness, second in airport services, third in cabin staff, fourth in best airlines in Asia and fifth in airline staff in Asia. It also retained its five-star status after becoming the eighth carrier in the world to receive the honor from Skytrax last June. China Airlines Ltd., the nation’s other major carrier also headquartered in Taoyuan, placed eighth in the best premium economy class category, according to the survey. 9


Youth program boosts New Southbound Policy agricultural ties The Young Agricultural Ambassadors New Southbound Policy Exchange Program was launched June 20 in Taipei City by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and Cabinet-level Council of Agriculture. The first

stage of the program involves sending two 15-member groups of 18- to 35-year-olds to Indonesia and the Philippines in September for a weeklong visit. The groups will observe Taiwan-backed cooperation projects, similar internationally overseen initiatives and meet with officials responsible for agriculture and related activities. They will also conduct fact-finding visits to agricultural supply chain firms and observe halal-certification procedures. According to the MOFA, the program aims to explore market opportunities, promote innovation and entrepreneurship, and strengthen connections between the young people of Taiwan and their counterparts in the countries covered by the policy.

C U LT U R E

Da-Guan Dance Theater kicks off tour of South, Southeast Asia

Da-Guan Dance Theater kicked off its Splendor of Taiwan tour of South and Southeast Asia July 23 in New Delhi as part of the New Southbound Policy Dance Arts Cultural Exchange Program. Organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the initiative aims to boost bilateral ties and foster cultural exchanges with countries covered by the policy. During the troupe’s 14day tour of India, Indonesia and Malaysia, it delivered a variety of performances such as glove puppetry and modern, indigenous and traditional Chinese dances. Founded in 2005 by students from National Taiwan University of Arts’ Department of Dance, the group has performed with distinction worldwide.

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Taiwan Review September / October

Local art troupes feature at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Five Taiwan performance troupes represented the country at the Aug. 4-28 Edinburgh Festival Fringe—one of the highest-profile platforms for artistic exposure in the world. Chen-wei Lee and Art B&B, Co-coism, Kuo-shin Chuang Pangcah Dance Theatre, Puppet Beings Theatre and Sun Son Theatre delighted festivalgoers at venues Dance Base and Summerhall in the Scottish city with an eclectic array of art forms spanning folk customs, modern dance, puppet arts and theater. The Ministry of Culture said the diverse nature of this year’s troupes presents an accurate snapshot of the creativity and vibrancy of Taiwan’s performing arts sector, adding that the shows are expected to open the door to more opportunities for local artists and administrators to collaborate with their counterparts from abroad.


NPM signs partnership pact with US art museum Taipei City-headquartered National Palace Museum (NPM) signed a memorandum of understanding on educational programs, exhibitions and research projects with San Francisco-based Asian Art Museum (AAM) July 3. Under the pact, the museums will share pieces from their collections and co-organize exhibitions. The first jointly arranged show will see NPM’s southern branch display AAM artworks in 2018. In addition, the two sides agreed to conduct research exchanges, swap expertise on developing educational programs and fostering public engagement, as well as make their publications available at each other’s institutions. Established in 1965, NPM is the world’s largest treasure house of Chinese imperial art, boasting 650,000 antiquities covering 7,000 years from the prehistoric Neolithic period to the end of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). In 2015, the institution opened its second branch in southern Taiwan’s Chiayi County to showcase artifacts from diverse Asian civilizations.

ROC presidential documents published online A total of 11,683 rare historical documents pertaining to Republic of China (Taiwan) President Chiang Chingkuo (蔣經國) were published June 28 on the website of Academia Historica—one of the world’s leading institutes dedicated to studying the nation’s history. Comprising minutes, photos, schedules, speeches and transcripts, the documents form part of the collection provided in 1980 by the Office of the President and in 1984 by Chen Li-fu (陳 立夫), a prominent political figure during the nation’s early history. Two other sets of documents were released online by Academia Historica the same day. These are 3,560 volumes of documents relating to the Judicial Yuan, most from before 1949, as well as 3,457 entries of letters, photos and telegrams from 1925 to 1944 concerning Wang Ching-wei (汪精衛), a controversial political figure in the early days of the country’s history. The publication of the documents is part of ongoing government efforts to digitize its archives and promote open data. All stories are sourced from Taiwan Today and can be read in full at http://www.taiwantoday.tw/

Indigenous languages development act takes effect

An act promoting and preserving the languages of Taiwan’s 16 officially recognized indigenous tribes took effect June 14. Under the wide-ranging legislation, the languages are afforded national status and all attendant rights. Highlights include authorizing the use of the languages alongside Chinese in official documents produced by local government agencies in aboriginal areas, providing signage in the languages at government agencies and public facilities, and creating more media content tailored for indigenous communities. In addition, the central government is required to establish a foundation dedicated to researching and supporting indigenous languages, as well as assisting in the development of more comprehensive writing systems and dictionaries. The act is the third in Taiwan aimed at advancing aboriginal rights and cultures after the Indigenous Peoples Basic Law of 2005 and Indigenous Traditional Intellectual Creations Protection Act of 2007. According to the Cabinet-level Council of Indigenous Peoples, the population of Taiwan’s 16 officially recognized tribes stands at around 530,000 or 2.3 percent of the nation’s total.

NY Times includes 2 Taiwan films in 25 best of 21st century Two Taiwan-made films directed by Hou Hsiao-hsien (侯 孝賢) and the late Edward Yang (楊德昌) were included among the 25 best of the 21st century in a list published June 9 by The New York Times. Hou’s “Three Times” from 2005 ranked 17th, while Yang’s “Yi Yi” from 2000 ranked sixth. Set in three different time periods, “Three Times” is a slow-burner documenting the trials and tribulations of a couple falling in love. Yang’s “Yi Yi,” considered his magnum opus, tells the story of a modern Taipei family with a narrative shifting between the patriarch, his teenage daughter and young son. The film premiered at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival, where Yang received the award for best director. New Taiwan cinema, which rose to prominence between 1982 and 1990, is a genre focusing on immediate and real-life issues. Photos: Academia Historica, Academia Sinica, Central News Agency, Chin Hung-hao, Environmental Protection Administration, Huang Chung-hsin, L’Etape Taiwan by Le Tour de France Association, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of National Defense, National Immigration Agency, Sung Lung-chyuan and Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA)

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INSIGHT

台 灣 評 論

01

Strength in Clusters Taiwan’s manufacturing might demonstrates the benefits of creating synergies and boosting collaboration among industry participants. BY OSCAR CHUNG PHOTOS BY CHUANG KUNG-JU

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Taiwan Review September / October

W

henever Tom Liu ( 劉天民), secretarygeneral of Taipei City-headquartered Taiwan Industrial Fasteners Institute, discusses the Taiwan International Fastener Show, it is difficult not to be impressed by his enormous enthusiasm for the subject. “This is more than just a run-of-the-mill trade expo. It is a window on the latest trends and developments in one of Taiwan’s most unassuming industries,” he said. Staged in southern Taiwan’s Kaohsiung City, the fourth edition of the show in 2016 attracted 402 businesses at 1,002 booths and nearly 2,000 buyers from 75 countries and territories. According to co-organizer Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), the April 10-12, 2018, event is projected to chalk up even healthier numbers on the road to becoming one of the largest of its kind in the world. “TAITRA has been inundated with applications for spots at the 2018 edition,” Liu said. “All the 1,100 booths are gone, confirming the great confidence of local manufacturers in their ability to attract buyers from the four corners of the globe, especially those in Europe and


02

03

01. Firms of all shapes and sizes are responsible for the colorful success of Taiwan’s fastener manufacturing industry. 02 & 03. The latest and greatest locally made products are the center of attention for overseas buyers jetting in for the biennial Taiwan International Fastener Show. 03. Courtesy of Taiwan Industrial Fasteners Institute

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the U.S. who wouldn’t fly 10 hours to Taiwan for slim pickings.”

Growth Magnet

The international competitiveness of Taiwan’s fastener manufacturing owes much to the clustering of related small and medium enterprises (SME) in Kaohsiung’s Gangshan District. “The cluster emerged after locally based China Steel Corp. commenced operations toward the end of 1971,” he said, adding that the statebacked outfit served as a magnet of sorts for fastener SMEs and other businesses in the supply chain ranging from equipment manufacturers to processing plants. Over time, the suburban district became home to around half of the industry’s 1,500 participant firms, with the cluster developing an elaborate division of labor characterized by the seemingly incompatible characteristics of flexibility and specialization. According to Liu, this unique synergy enables members to work together in filling custom orders cost-effectively and quickly. Through face-to-face consultations, solutions are hashed out and seemingly insurmountable problems transformed into opportunities. “Such a cooperative relationship is incomparably efficient,” he said. The organic cluster of fastener manufacturers in Gangshan and government-planned ones for Taiwan’s signature sectors like semiconductors in northern Taiwan’s Hsinchu S cience Park are just some of the many industrial grouping success stories constituting the backbone of Taiwan’s economy. In the latest Global Competitiveness Report released last September by Switzerland-headquartered World Economic For um, the countr y 14

Taiwan Review September / October

01

01. Chu Hsin-hua, president of Corporate Synergy Development Center, explains the importance of total quality management, or TQM, in building industry clusters. 02. Aerospace Industrial Development Corp. aims to produce a wider range of advanced jet engines through its leadership of the A-Team 4.0 aviation industry cluster in Taichung City, central Taiwan. 01. Photo by Chen Mei-ling 02. Photo by Huang Chung-hsin Infographic by Cho Yi-ju and Kao Shun-hui

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ranked third globally in the subcategory of state of cluster development under the main category of business sophistication. Overall, it was the 14th most competitive among the 138 assessed economies. Chu Hsin-hua ( 朱興華 ), presid e n t o f Ta i p e i - h e a d q u a r t e re d Corporate Synergy Development Center (CSD), said SMEs comprise nearly 98 percent of businesses in Taiwan and the formation of clusters involving these firms is essential for the competitiveness of the country’s exports. Since its establishment in 1984, the nonprofit partially governmentfunded organization has focused on strengthening the clustering effect of 194 manufacturing groups Taiwanwide. This has been achieved by building links among association

members, guiding the process of addressing issues of mutual concern and providing the latest solutions to efficiency, equipment and production challenges. “CSD’s approach is a response to the generally negative image of made in Taiwan products from decades ago and rising competition from [mainland] China,” Chu said. Concerning the latter, one of the center’s most fruitful strategies was the A-Team initiative in 2003 aimed at spurring a manufacturing cluster for bicycles in central Taiwan’s Taichung City, he added.

Shifting Gears

According to Chu, Taiwan’s bicycle manufacturing industry started suffering sharp declines in the early 2000s largely caused by a deluge


Industrial Clusters in Taiwan

Agricultural biotech

Food

Assistive technology

Agricultural Glass

Auto parts

Assistive Green energy

Automobiles

communication Auto parts technology

Basic metals and metal products

biotech

technology

Information and Medical

equipment Automobiles

Bamboo processing

Orchids Basic metals

Bicycles

Plumbing and bathroom Bamboo fixtures

Biotech and pharmaceuticals Ceramics Digital content Electric cords and cables Fasteners

and metal products

processing

Precision machinery

Food

Printed circuit boards

Glass

Shipbuilding

Green Stone energy processing

Information and communication Textiles technology Medical Yachts equipment

Source: Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) Orchids

Bicycles

of low-end products churned out Biotech and pharmaceuticals at rock-bottom prices on the other side Ceramics of the strait. In 2003, exports tumbled to 3.88 million units from 9.48 million seven years before. Digital content This reversal of fortune prompted CSDElectric to sitcords down with Taichungcables basedand Giant Inc. and Merida Industry Co. in central Taiwan’s Changhua Fasteners County and devise the A-Team initiative. Made up of local SMEs, the Plumbing and alliance sharpened bathroom fixtures the industry’s competitiveness through such measuresPrecision as on-site inspections ensuring machinery compliance with equipment upgrade Printed circuit commitments, analysis of manufacboards turing processes and the rollout of Shipbuilding uniform bicycle part specifications. “The initiative paid dividends,” Chu Stone said, adding that it played a processing key role in shifting Taiwan’s bicycle Textiles industry toward the high-end of the Yachts

market. Although the sector exported only 2.95 million units in 2016, the value surged to US$1.48 billion, up from US$583 million in 2003. CSD and the bicycle industry’s accomplishment did not go unnoticed by Taiwan’s cluster of fastener-makers. In an effort to keep mainland Chinese competitors at bay, it reached out for assistance to China Steel and Metal Industries Research and Development Centre (MIRDC). The steel-maker and Kaohsiung-headquartered nonprofit tasked with upgrading the local metal industry wasted no time in advising a shift in market focus from widely produced standardized items to high-quality, specialized ones used by the automotive industry. According to Liu, this is a winwin-win relationship in which the cluster’s membership enjoys healthy bottom lines, China Steel sells more raw materials to downstream manufacturers and MIRDC gains greater exposure as a can-do industry consultancy. “By working together and incorporating the expertise of China Steel and the center, the members of the cluster produce 50,000 kinds of fasteners today compared with 30,000 in 2009,” he said. “As a result, Taiwan remains the second biggest exporter 15


Taiwan Bicycle Exports Source: Taiwan Bicycle Association Value (US$)

908,809,408

1,481,397,075

982,374,761

9,484,005

8,942,518

582,973,185

3,882,835

1990

1996

of fasteners worldwide and a leading production hub in the Asia-Pacific.” The experiences of Taiwan’s outperforming fastener and bicycle manufacturing clusters proved invaluable when CSD turned its attention to the local agricultural industry in 2009. Over the past eight years, the center has strengthened more than 50 agricultural clusters and set them on the growth fast track by imparting the latest management practices and technology developments, as well as working closely with their innovation-minded managers.

True Believers

One such individual is Jennifer Hsiung (熊亞萍), president of Great Agriculture Technology Co. in western Taiwan’s Yunlin County. Her company, which markets and sells corn grown by a cluster of about 1,800 farmers in Yunlin and neighboring Chiayi County in southern Taiwan, began partnering with CSD in 2015. Hsiung, a staunch proponent of industry clusters, has worked tirelessly to drum up enthusiasm for the concept among members. She regularly schedules a variety of business- and 16

Taiwan Review September / October

Quantity (Unit)

2003

2,948,763

2016

pleasure-themed activities for the farmers ranging from seminars and workshops on advanced agricultural techniques to sightseeing trips. “The enthusiasm of the members during the events is infectious,” she said. “They proudly wear a uniform and take every opportunity to bond, learn f rom one another and seek benefits for the good of the group.” But Hsiung is not one to tread water. She envisages a big future for the cluster and is constantly pitching new ideas to CSD for cooperation. One example is aerial drone surveys of corn crops greenlighted for funding in April by the Cabinet-level Council of Agriculture in conjunction with technology firms Taipeibased Avantech Co. and southern Taiwan’s Tainan City-headquartered Geosat Aerospace and Technology Inc. Another is formulating strategies for promoting the cluster’s produce in overseas markets like Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore. The government also recognizes the merits of industry clusters and has prioritized their creation under the five-plus-two innovative industries initiative. A core component of the New Model for Economic

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Development, the initiative covers the biotech and pharmaceuticals, green energy, national defense, smart machinery and Internet of Things sectors, as well as the circular economy and a new paradigm for agricultural development. Last year, CSD and Taichungbased Aerospace Industrial Development Corp. took the lead under the initiative in establishing an aviation industr y cluster closely linked with national defense. A -Te a m 4 . 0 , w h i c h c om p r i s e s around 150 core members producing annual output of NT$100 billion (US$3.3 billion) in 2016, aims to take the competitiveness and profitability of the local aviation industry to new heights. C h e n We n - y i n ( 陳 玟 吟 ) , a n associate research fellow at Taipeiheadquartered think tank Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER), said the speed with which the aviation industry cluster got off the ground epitomizes a new spirit of collaboration coursing through the public and private sectors when it comes to the concept. “Case in point is TIER’s commissioning by the Industrial Development Bureau


01. Taiwan-made bicycles on display at 2014 Taipei International Cycle Show illustrate the value of industry-related businesses pulling together to overcome hurdles and create opportunities. 02. A drone surveys a corn crop of a farmer participating in an agricultural cluster straddling Yunlin and Chiayi counties in western and southern Taiwan. 03. Jennifer Hsiung, president of Great Agriculture Technology Co., is all smiles as she shows off a basket of freshly picked corn. Infographic by Cho Yi-ju 02 & 03. Courtesy of Great Agriculture Technology Co.

under the MOEA to carry out an inventory of the nation’s 62 industrial zones to discover suitable candidates for rapid re-orientation toward flagship projects under the initiative.” According to Chen, the launch in November last year of the 22.8-hectare green energy technology park in the Shalun area of Tainan represents

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a golden opportunity to reshape the city’s existing industrial zones into clusters supporting the initiative’s primary mission as a regional base for sustainable development. “These assets could perform important R&D and testing functions while spearheading advances in renewable energy technology,” she said.

Lessons Learned

O ver the past decades Taiwan’s industry clusters have remained robust due to constant upgrades among the close-knit groups of individual enterprises. “Generating synergy of businesses is the strong suit

of Taiwan,” Chen said. “The lessons of the past decades have been welllearned. These firms understand the importance of perseverance and pulling together in order to keep adapting to new situations.” For Chen, this recipe for success will keep Taiwan’s clusters outperforming and seeing off all manner of challenges ranging from global industry developments to increasingly fierce competition in mainland China. “I’ve the greatest confidence the country’s industry clusters and manufacturing competitiveness will continue going f rom strength to strength,” she said.

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Coming up Orchids Boasting a complete production chain and extensive breeding resources, Tainan City in southern Taiwan is home to one of the world’s leading orchid seedling cultivation clusters. BY PAT GAO PHOTOS BY HUANG CHUNG-HSIN ILLUSTRATION BY CHO YI-JU

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Orchid Industry Cluster Tainan City

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aiwan International Orchid Show (TIOS) took place at Taiwan Orchid Plantation (TOP) earlier this year in Houbi District of Tainan City, southern Taiwan. A record 240,000-plus visitors thronged the 10-day annual event featuring business operators and specialists from more than 30 countries and territories. They came to place orders, inspect the prizewinning orchids, network and learn more about one of Taiwan’s key agricultural exports. Since its launch in 1998, TIOS h a s s t e ad i l y g row n t o b e c om e one of the largest of its kind in the wor ld alongside the Japan Grand Prix International Orchid Festival in Tokyo and the World Orchid Conference, which Taiwan

is scheduled to host in 2020. In recent years, the show has regularly achieved foreign orders of up to NT$10 billion (US$331.1 million) satisfied by local vendors over the following three to five years, according to TIOS 2017 organizer National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) Research and Development Foundation in Tainan.

Global Leadership

The leading role played by Taiwan in shaping market trends in the global orchid industry was highlighted by President Tsai Ing-wen ( 蔡英 文 ) in her opening address at the floral event. With local exports of the flower reaching NT$5.57 billion (US$184.4 million) last year for nearly 90 percent of the industry’s total output value, her pledge to


New orchid hybrids are regularly produced by Taiwan Sugar Corp. in southern Taiwan’s Tainan City.

help maintain Tainan’s international leadership in orchid species development and seedling supply makes good sense in terms of business and national pride. Currently, the top destinations for Taiwan’s orchid exports are the U.S., Japan and the EU in that order. The president said the government will step up efforts promoting orchid collaboration and exchanges with these established markets, as well as emerging ones in the Association of

Southeast Asian Nations and Central and South America. To this end, Tsai announced the establishment later this year of the Taiwan Orchid Species Business Service Center. A collaborative project between Tainan City Government and Taiwan Orchid Growers Association (TOGA), the facility represents a cluster of 60 locally based orchid growers operating in the 175-hectare TOP. The center will capitalize on the resources of regional academic

sectors such as NCKU’s Orchid Research and Development Center, which formed the Orchid B i o t e c h n o l o g y a n d C re a t i v i t y Industry-University Alliance four years ago in collaboration with other schools like National Taiwan University in Taipei City, as well as National Chiayi University and National Chung Hsing University in southern and central Taiwan, respectively. Chen Wen-huei (陳文輝), an NCKU center research fellow, is

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01. Larger seedlings at Taiwan Orchid Plantation in Tainan 02. Orchids begin their lives as a tissuecultured seedling in a glass flask. 03. Orchid seed pods at Char Ming Agriculture Co.’s breeding section 04. TOP rents well-equipped greenhouses to orchid farmers. 05. Staffers pot orchid seedlings at Char Ming. 06. Cutting-edge R&D is taking place in the labs of Orchid Research and Development Center at National Cheng Kung University in Tainan.

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02. Photo by Chang Su-ching

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helping oversee the alliance as it seeks to boost the business competitiveness of Taiwan’s orchid industry through building core operational strengths in areas such as breeding and cultivation, disease control, greenhouse management and plant nutrition.

Overcoming Hurdles

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“We face increasing competition from the Netherlands in the U.S. market,” said Chen, who doubles as a professor with NCKU’s Department of Life Sciences and Institute of Tropical Plant Sciences. At present, 30 percent of Taiwan’s orchid exports are sent to the U.S. and account for around 70 percent of market demand there. First and foremost, Taiwan ships large seedlings mostly f rom the Phalaenopsis group to overseas destinations, now amounting to 87 countries and territories, he added. U p u n t i l 2 0 0 6 , Ta i w a n’s largest orchid market was Japan, which still imports large quantities of flowers cut f rom homegrown Oncidium orchids. But after the U.S. greenlighted

imports of Taiwan Phalaenopsis orchid seedlings potted in growing media in January 2005, the country’s exports to that market took off, according to Chen. A condition of the approval was that the plants were grown in bacteria-free greenhouses built to U.S. specifications. These are now the standard in such companies as Char Ming Agriculture Co., one of the largest TOP firms and a key TOGA member. In the past, seedlings had to be cleaned before transportation to avoid transmission of plant diseases, resulting in a low survival rate, long recovery time and poor plant quality, Chen said. The trials and tribulations faced by growers during this period put them in good stead to overcome similar challenges when the U.S. extended the same treatment to Oncidium orchids from Taiwan in March last year. Chen cut his teeth in the orchid game while working for Tainanheadquartered Taiwan Sugar Corp. (Taisugar) as a researcher and leading proponent of sugarcane and Phalaenopsis breeding at the staterun company’s Agriculture Business Division. Su Chien-yuen (蘇建元),

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Close Cooperation

head of the unit, said in the 1970s during Taiwan’s economic takeoff, local hobby growers started collecting orchid species for cross-breeding to raise unique varieties. They organized clubs for sharing knowledge and experiences before a number of orchid nurseries emerged in the 1980s around the country to sell unique hybrids for the domestic market in small quantities at high prices.

Industrial Scale

In the 1990s, Taisugar introduced greenhouse systems f rom the Netherlands, and developed indigenous cultivation facilities programmed to control humidity, light and temperature. This was the foundation of the commercial mass production model employed by Taiwan Phalaenopsis enterprises catering to foreign markets. “These orchids quickly became an invaluable part of the horticultural trade due to their great variety of hybrid species and flowers that may last up to three months,” Su said. Taisugar’s orchid industry got off the ground in the late 1980s by cross-breeding a species native to Taiwan and another from Japan. The company now maintains one of the world’s richest Phalaenopsis genetic sources in the form of a repository containing 48 of the planet’s 63 known endemic species. New hybrids are regularly produced by Taisugar, with selected species put into mass production at greenhouses using a large-scale tissue duplication procedure. The already mature technique is widely employed and typically divided among a number of orchid farms responsible for different stages of the yearslong process. Char Ming, for instance, cultivates larger seedlings for export. But its

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Taiwan Review September / October

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products are the final stage of a production cycle starting with labs raising tissue-cultured seedlings in glass flasks before handing off to growers specializing in the soft pot stage of the orchid’s life cycle. The process can take more than four years for the plant to grow into a large seedling.

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Lee Tsang-yu (李蒼裕), CEO of Char Ming, said TOP has worked hard to iron out the cluster’s orchid production kinks on the road to establishing a complete supply chain. A former head of TOGA who started in the business as a hobby grower, Lee is pleased to observe the strengthening of bonds between companies at different stages of production. “They’re connected to each other in more of a cooperative and complementary mode than a competing one.” TOP, which was fully operational in 2012, rents well-equipped, computer-controlled greenhouses to farmers and provides easil y accessible, low-interest loans as well as a platform for business exchanges. This approach has significantly contributed to the success of the cluster and kept the industry on the growth track in the face of


intense competition from abroad. Lee attributes one of the reasons for TOP’s remarkable performance to its concentration of undivided farmland. Economy of scale in the agricultural sector is rarely achieved in Taiwan due to the number of

individual owners of small parcels of land, he said. But Lee is not one to overlook the importance of the academic sector in advancing the orchid industry and agricultural sector as a whole. One way academic institutions are

03

lending a helping hand is through boosting the industry’s basic research competence. A milestone project completed by the NCKU center in 2014 decoded the genes of the endemic Phalaenopsis equestris orchid found mostly on outlying Little Orchid Island off the coast of southeastern Taitung County. The findings helped target genes susceptible to disease and pests. In reflecting on the seedling cultivation cluster nurtured by TOP and its contribution to the health and future prospects of Taiwan’s orchid industry, Lee said there is no question individuals deserve the lion’s share of credit for today’s healthy state of affairs. Yet, taking the business to the next level cannot be anything but a case of all hands on deck. “Ongoing cooperation among the academic, public and private sectors is a must if the industry is to fulfill its potential.”

01 – 03. Different orchid species are exhibited at the annual Taiwan International Orchid Show, including (01) lady’s slipper, (02) Epidendrum and (03) dancing lady. 04. An Oncidium orchid at a farm in southern Taiwan’s Pingtung County 04

01 – 03. Photos by Chang Su-ching 04. Photo by Chuang Kung-ju

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Crafting with Precision The machinery industry cluster in central Taiwan’s Taichung City is helping local companies hammer out a reputation for innovation and quality. BY KELLY HER PHOTOS BY CHIN HUNG-HAO ILLUSTRATION BY CHO YI-JU

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Machinery Industry Cluster Taichung City

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d w a r d Ya n g ( 楊 德 華 ) founded Goodway Machine Corp. in 1975 in central Taiwan’s Taichung City. In the beginning, he had just two employees, both of whom spent their days making metalworking lathes. More than 40 years later, he runs four companies that manufacture and market high-tech automated machining centers, as well as advanced lathes called computer numerical control (CNC) turning centers. Yang employs around 1,500 professionals and sells his products in 43 countries and territories. “I’ve witnessed to the development of Taiwan’s machinery sector and seen the formation of the industry cluster in Taichung,” he said. “Today, the city has a well-rounded supply chain with the up-, mid- and downstream sectors complementing

each other. This is a key driver behind the competitiveness of the local industry.” Taiwan is home to some 13,000 machinery factories that employ about 470,000 people. Many of these facilities are located in the so-called Golden Valley, an area spanning roughly 60 kilometers around the base of Mt. Dadu in Taichung. The region boasts the highest density of machinery plants in the world. According to tallies compiled by t h e Ta i w a n A s s o c i a t i o n o f Machinery Industry (TAMI), the production value of the nation’s machinery sector reached approximately NT$990 billion (US$32.8 billion) in 2016 and is projected to grow 5-10 percent this year to break NT$1 trillion (US$33.1 billion). About 70 percent of the items produced are exported.


Locally Sourced Solutions

Taiwan is the world’s fifth largest exporter of machine tools behind Germany, Japan, Italy and mainland China. It is also among the top 10 exporters of rubber and plastic, textile and woodworking machinery. Much of this success, Yang noted, can be attributed to the Taichung cluster. The business owner said such a grouping increases operational efficiency and productivity. It also facilitates a clearer division of labor

and specialization while consolidating resources and reducing production costs. “The benefits generated by clustering enable Taiwan’s machinery manufacturers to churn out products with excellent cost-performance ratios,” Yang said. “They’re also the main reasons manufacturers stay in Taiwan instead of relocating overseas.” The Taichung cluster, he added, serves as a onestop shop where inter national

01. Employees work on the factory floor of Yeong Chin Machinery Industries Co., a leading supplier of highperformance computer numerical control turning centers, in the machinery industry cluster of central Taiwan’s Taichung City. 02. Goodway Machine Corp., another major Taichung-based company, incorporates intelligent automation systems into its high-end CNC turning centers. 03. Habor Precise Inc. produces temperature control devices for industrial machinery.

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buyers can get what they want conveniently and quickly. Around 70 percent of the components and parts used by Yang’s factories, including ball screws, hydraulic cylinders, tool changers and water coolers, are sourced locally. Additionally, his business group has established long-term cooperation in R&D with Taichung-based institutions and organizations such as Hsiuping University of Science and Technology and National Chung 01 – 03. State-supported Precision Machinery Research and Development Center helps local firms introduce smart manufacturing technologies into their production and product development processes through consulting services and technology transfers. 04 & 06. Goodway Machine’s high-precision equipment is used to manufacture sophisticated components for high-tech sectors. 05. YCM sells its products in more than 30 countries and territories.

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Hsing University, as well as the Machine Tools Technology Center under the state-supported Industrial Technolog y Research Institute (ITRI) and the Precision Machinery Research and Development Center (PMC), founded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) and TAMI in 1993.

Reputation for Quality

Habor Hsu (許文憲), chairman of the Precision Machinery Development Association, said the countr y ’s machinery manufacturers, which are largely small and medium enterprises, must continually improve their technologies to create value-added products and deliver better solutions to customers to stay competitive. Established by the MOEA and machine tool-makers in 1983, the association helps member companies build partnerships, enhance production technologies and develop promotional campaigns through exchanges and lectures as well as by providing market information.

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Hsu is also the chairman of Habor Precise Inc., which produces temperature control devices such as heat exchangers and oil and water coolers for industrial machinery. His products hold an 85 percent market share in Taiwan’s machine tool industry and boast a 90 percent global market share for printed circuit board drilling machines. “An emphasis on innovation and R&D has helped our company develop high-precision equipment and gain a strong international presence,” the chairman said. “Taiwan manufacturers should move toward

high-end market segments to stand out against low-cost competition from mainland China.” His company has collaborated closely with PMC and the Taichung branch of the Metal Industries Research and Development Centre in new product development, he added. Ye o n g C h i n M a c h i n e r y Industries Co. ( YCM), another major Taichung-based company, produces a wide range of CNC turning centers and other highperformance machining devices. The manufacturer has successfully expanded its business overseas

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01. Habor Precise’s products take up around 90 percent of the global market share for printed circuit board drilling machines. 02. The intelligent production management systems developed by YCM are designed to facilitate smart manufacturing. 03. Machinery manufacturers in the Taichung cluster produce high-speed, high-precision devices that are utilized by companies around the world. 02. Courtesy of Yeong Chin Machinery Industries Co.

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since its inception in 1954, selling products in more than 30 countries and territories. Elaine Chen ( 陳依鈴), an assistant manager in YCM’s Business Development Division, said her company’s core competencies comprise a well-rounded manufacturing process that spans casting, machining, final assembly, testing and packaging. All of this is done within its factory complex to ensure better quality control and timely product delivery. 28

Taiwan Review September / October

At the same time, YCM cooperates with about 200 local suppliers of components and parts. This brings benefits such as fast delivery and after-sales services as well as reductions in component inventory and R&D investment. “Being part of a cluster enhances our access to information, knowledge, local resources and technology,” Chen said. “Plus, while striving to accommodate quality requirements from our American and European


clients, we hold our suppliers to the same high standards.”

Smart Machinery Choices

In recognition of the machinery industry’s important role in Taiwan’s economy, as well as the need to stay at the forefront of manufacturing trends, the government has listed the smart machinery sector among its major industrial development objectives. It aims to turn Taichung into a smart machiner y hub by offering support in such areas as international cooperation, land

acquisition, marketing, R&D and talent recruitment. Demand is increasing for highprecision and high-speed machines with intelligent solutions, according to YCM. For this reason, the company has developed real-time factor y monitoring systems and incorporated them into its highend units. “We continue to add new features to our products to increase their value and put ourselves ahead of the competition,” said Frank Liu ( 劉庚朋 ), director of YCM’s R&D

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Division. “Our intelligent production management systems—key elements in Industry 4.0—enable effective human-machine communication and collaboration to boost production efficiency.” The fourth industrial revolution, dubbed Industry 4.0, is characterized by digitally connected manufacturing that incorporates technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, smart automation and the Internet of Things into production processes. To assist companies such as YCM, the S mar t Mac hiner y Promotion Office was set up by

the MOEA and Taichung City Government at PMC headquarters in February. The office works to foster strategic partnerships between industry, academia and the government on the introduction of smart manufacturing technologies into production processes and product development. It is staffed by experts f rom ITRI, PMC and the city government ’s Economic Development Bureau. Kevin Lee ( 李健勳), vice president of PMC, said Taiwan firms have the knowledge, experience and wherewithal to take a leading role in the development of Industry 4.0 technologies. “Over the years, local machiner y manufacturers have evolved from producing traditional to state-of-the-art equipment, focusing first on precision, then automation and now artificial intelligence,” he said. Accordingly, the center has tailored its technical assistance projects to meet the industry’s changing needs. Taiwan’s machinery manufacturers are globally competitive thanks to the quality and reliability of their products, according to Lee. They are particularly adept at accommodating clients that seek smaller orders of custom-made products, he said, adding that such attributes are increasingly in demand, particularly f rom the aerospace, automobile, information and communication technology as well as medical sectors. The heavy concentration of machiner y firms in and around Taichung has created a dynamic supply chain ecosystem, Lee said. “ This, combined with enhanced government support, can facilitate efforts to offer innovative total solutions and maintain the nation’s foothold in international markets.” 29


Success on Tap Through close collaboration and regular industrial upgrading, companies in central Taiwan’s Lugang Township have formed a world-leading bathroom fixtures cluster. BY PAT GAO PHOTOS BY CHEN MEI-LING ILLUSTRATION BY CHO YI-JU

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Plumbing and Bathroom Fixtures Industry Cluster Changhua County

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ongshan Temple is perhaps the most prominent symbol of Lugang Township’s prosperous past as a major shipping hub. In the late 18th century, local gentry and merchants who had grown rich from the bustling port in the coastal area of central Taiwan’s Changhua County invited leading architects and artisans to shape a resplendent place of worship. The temple, renowned for its intricate decorative details, has since been designated a national historic site. Over time, the prevalence of such extravagant displays of wealth receded as the port lost its luster owing to shifts in Taiwan’s geopolitical status and silting of the harbor. After large-scale commercial shipping deserted Lugang, at one time the second largest city on the island, another industry with water at its

core slowly came to dominate the township’s economic activity. The area, named for its once prosperous deerskin trade, has maintained an outsized role in the global economy as a leading hub of bathroom and plumbing fixture manufacturers. The origins of this industry cluster in northeastern Lugang’s Dingfanpo area can be traced back to the final years of Japanese colonial rule (18951945), said Yang Yong-fang (楊永芳), head of the Plumbing Association of Taiwan, which counts about 200 firms in the township among its members. At that time, residents who had worked for locally based Japanese hardware suppliers began setting up their own factories. During the postWorld War II reconstruction boom and economic expansion of subsequent decades, more and more plants emerged to help meet rising demand in international markets.


According to Yang, also CEO of local brassware producer Tsangkuo Industrial Co., the cluster expanded dramatically throughout the 1970s amid the rapid industrialization of Taiwan’s economy. It reached its peak in the 1980s when Dingfanpo became one of the world’s leading sources of faucets. While overseas competition has intensified in the decades since, Lugang persists as a stronghold of the global industry. “Business has remained stable and profitable to this day, even as other manufacturing sectors in Taiwan have experienced declines,” Yang said, referring to industries such as clothing, shoes and umbrellas that have shifted production abroad to take advantage of lower labor costs. Today, Dingfanpo is home to some 600 faucet-makers and related firms. Most of these companies function primarily as original equipment manufacturers for international brands. Statistics from the Ministry of Economic Affairs show that the production value of Taiwan’s plumbing fixtures sector stood at roughly NT$50 billion (US$1.66 billion) in

2016. Yang’s association estimates that Lugang firms accounted for up to 70 percent of this amount.

Developing in Unison

The cluster’s international competitiveness is primarily a result of close-knit collaborative relationships among local producers. Yang noted that faucet-making is a complicated process involving dozens of intricate components, so manufacturers in Dingfanpo, typically small enterprises, have developed sophisticated divisions of labor characterized by high levels of specialization. “As a rule, our companies cooperate rather than compete against one another,” he said According to Chen Wei-chou (陳 韋舟), CEO of Lugang-based sand

01 – 03. Locally made tapware products are exhibited at the Taiwan Institute for Plumbing Innovation in Lugang Township of central Taiwan’s Changhua County.

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01 – 03. Employees at sand casting factory Dayu Copper Co. in Lugang create semifinished brassware goods.

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casting factory Dayu Copper Co., most of his company’s semifinished brassware goods are sold to polishing and plating firms in Dingfanpo. This close proximity to downstream companies promotes production efficiency and flexibility while offering significant savings on transportation costs. Another key contr ibutor to the cluster’s competitiveness is a shared commitment to innovation and industrial upgrading. Yang’s Tsangkuo Industrial is one of the larger local firms, with some 100 employees operating facilities for casting, automated machine processing, testing, packaging and marketing. “We constantly update our machinery to stay on top of emerging manufacturing trends,” he said. Likewise, Chen stressed that Dayu regularly introduces the latest casting equipment and recently installed new ventilation and cooling facilities to improve product quality and working conditions. One of Dayu’s customers is metal plating facility Managing Technology Co. The Lugang-based company’s general manager, Chang Chia-lieh ( 張家烈), highlighted the role that government agencies play in modernizing industry production methods.

In the 1990s, technical assistance from the Institute of Nuclear Energy Research under the Cabinet-level Atomic Energy Council enabled Managing Technology to explore advanced physical vapor deposition (PVD) techniques that use titanium as the plating material. As a result of these efforts, the company was able to launch PVD operations in the early 2000s and has continued to upgrade related technology every one or two years since, Chang said. Managing Technology has also received expert guidance from the government-supported Industrial Technology Research Institute’s (ITRI) branch office in central Taiwan’s Taichung City. The office facilitated technology transfers from the local aerospace sector that have improved the durability and erosion resistance of the firm’s PVD titanium coatings. Regular industrial upgrading has allowed Managing Technology to offer plating services for a wider variety of products. Tapware goods, once the company’s predominant focus, now comprise about 30-40 percent of its output. Added to the mix are items such as bicycles, furniture, frames for glasses and watches


as well as various types of consumer electronics products including smartphones. Most of these are high-end goods destined for export. Next on Managing Technology’s upgrade agenda is the introduction of advanced automation systems. ITRI is also providing technical consultations for this project, which seeks to add robotic arms to the company’s production lines. “The price of competitiveness is the constant pursuit of industrial innovation and more efficient manufacturing systems,” Chang said.

Modernization and Branding

Plumbing association head Yang said that the cluster’s commitment to modernizing production processes enables the regular introduction of new and more technologically complex products. He cited the popularity of locally developed noncontact faucets, a key driver of growth for many firms in recent years. Lugangbased companies have produced increasingly refined versions of this form of tapware to meet growing international demand in the wake of public health emergencies like severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, and swine flu. The confidence that comes from rising technological prowess is encouraging a new generation of factory owners and operators in Dingfanpo to sell products under their own brand names. Prominent examples include the Falali and Justime lines developed by Falali Bath Boutique Co. and Sheng Tai Brassware Co., respectively. More than a dozen local companies have also joined forces to market their products collectively under the brand T.A.P., or Taiwan Aqua Professionals. Chen Hung-yi ( 陳弘毅 ), chief o f t h e I n t e l l i ge n t Te c h n o l o g y Section at the Taichung branch office of the government-supported Metal Industries Research and Development Centre (MIRDC), said that branding marks the logical next step in the cluster’s evolution given its

Lugang-headquartered Managing Technology Co. offers advanced plating services for tapware and a variety of other products. Photo by Huang Chung-hsin

mastery of every facet of the manufacturing and product development process. To foster this move toward branding and advanced R&D, the center helped established the Taiwan Institute for Plumbing Innovation last year. Located in downtown Lugang, the venue brings together tapware companies and industry experts through hosting exhibitions, forums and training classes. C h e n a l s o l e a d s M I R D C ’s Taiwan Plumbing Research and Testing Laboratories. The facility was set up in 1999 to strengthen local firms’ development processes and efforts to get international product certifications. The same year, it became the first testing center in Asia accredited by the U.S.-headquartered International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials. The lab offers

advanced inspection services spanning such areas as noise, pressure and toxicity, providing data to aid local companies in acquiring quality and safety certificates for major markets like the EU, Japan and the U.S. According to Chen, the standard of a nation’s bathroom fixtures and plumbing is an indicator of its social development, and as such the quality of Lugang-made goods underscores Taiwan’s status as a major developed economy. “These products are not only crucial for personal comfort and hygiene, but in a country where people live in close proximity like Taiwan, they must be designed so as to minimize the impact of one household’s water use on another,” he said. “In this regard, Lugang firms, with their advanced product development skills, are helping improve quality of life.” 33


Shipshape and Kaohsiung Fashion The southern Taiwan city of Kaohsiung is securing its status as a world leader in yacht manufacturing. BY PAT GAO PHOTOS BY CHIN HUNG-HAO ILLUSTRATION BY CHO YI-JU

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Yacht Industry Cluster Kaohsiung City

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n March last year, an inordinate number of luxury yachts could be seen in the waters of the Port of Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan. They were there as part of the four-day Taiwan International Boat Show, one of the biggest events of its kind in Asia, organized by the semiofficial Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA). The yachts on display were made by major shipbuilders including locally headquartered Alexander Marine Co., Global Yacht Builders Co., Horizon Yachts Co. and Kha Shing Enterprise Co., as well as companies from nations such as Germany, Italy, Sweden, the U.K. and the U.S. Kaohsiung is home to 22 of the 36 pleasure boat-makers in Taiwan and accounts for more than 80 percent of the local industry’s total output, according to the Taiwan Yacht Industry Association (TYIA).

Formerly part of the Kaohsiungb a s e d Ta i w a n S h i p b u i l d i n g Association, the TYIA comprises around 70 yacht builders and parts suppliers around the country, as well as the government-supported Ship and Ocean Industries R&D Center (SOIC) based in New Taipei City. The association became an independent group in 1983 due to members’ desire to differentiate themselves from those in the traditional shipbuilding industr y. According to George Chang (張學樵), who heads the TYIA’s secretariat in Taipei City, the organization primarily focuses on developing new technologies and expanding overseas markets.

A Rising Tide

The 2016 Global O rder Book released by ShowBoats International m a g a z i n e r a n k e d Ta i w a n t h e world’s fourth largest producer of


A newly built yacht undergoes a sea trial at the Port of Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan. Courtesy of Kha Shing Enterprise Co.

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megayachts—leisure craft measuring 24 meters and above in length— behind Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey. The publication cited 74 new building projects underway in Taiwan. This record ranking, up two places f rom 2015, highlights the local yacht industry’s growing international appeal, Chang noted. The vessels and products made by Taiwan’s leisure shipbuilders are for the most part purchased by foreign buyers, said Kha Shing General Manager Howard Gung ( 龔俊豪 ), who doubles as TYIA chairman. Like other major domestic constructors of motor yachts, Kha Shing focuses on making vessels ranging f rom roughly 24 to 37 meters in length on the original equipment manufacturing model. It also maintains its own Monte Fino brand. “Building for foreign companies or filling custom orders secures stable profits,” Gung said, “while homegrown brand names add to our competitiveness.” Though the number of products sold has seen ups and downs over the past three decades, the average price per boat has risen steadily, from around US$88,600 in 1986 to US$1.65 million in 2016, according to SOIC statistics. Last year, approximately 110 locally made yachts were exported with a production value of nearly US$180 million, up from US$144.6 million for roughly the same number of vessels in 2010. Thomas Chen ( 陳明忠 ), head of the SOIC’s Yacht Industrial Department, said local builders have endeavored to add value to their products by shifting from smaller, inexpensive craft toward larger, highend varieties. This move helped them survive a major industrial downturn during the late 1980s and early

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Taiwan Review September / October


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01 & 02. Yachts are constructed at the shipyard of Kaohsiung-based Kha Shing Enterprise Co. 03 – 05. Employees at Man Ship Machinery and Hardware Co. produce marine chandlery items in Kaohsiung.

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1990s caused by such factors as rising labor costs and appreciation of the New Taiwan dollar.

Charting New Waters

Taiwan’s yacht industry dates back to the 1960s. At that time, several wooden boat-makers located near the Tamsui River in northwestern Taiwan started building small yachts for U.S. military personnel stationed

on the island. “ Wood eventually gave way to fiber-reinforced plastics,” Chen said. “By the mid-1980s, the industry was exporting more than 1,500 yachts a year.” Around this time, many yacht manufacturers began emerging in the south near the Port of Kaohsiung, which has a drier climate more conducive to shipbuilding than can be found in northern Taiwan.

Kha Shing, formerly a timber supplier to fishing vessel-makers, began building yachts in 1977 at Kaohsiung Linhai Industrial Park. Over the next 10 years, the company exported up to 94 boats annually and helped cement Taiwan’s position as a leading manufacturer of yachts in Asia. In 1987, some of Kha Shing’s owners and managers founded a separate company, Horizon Yachts, in the same industrial park. While Kha Shing and many other local yacht builders focus on the U.S. market, which receives more than 70 percent of the local industry’s exports, Horizon primarily sells vessels to clients in Asia, Europe and Australia. According to T YIA, Horizon’s strategy has paid off, with the company now owning three firms that construct yachts of different sizes, as well as one that specializes in making hulls.

Assembling an Industry

Many of the yachts built by Horizon, Kha Shing and other TYIA members are equipped with components and accessories made by companies within the Kaohsiung boatbuilding cluster. One such supplier is Man Ship Machinery and Hardware Co., established in 1982 at the Linhai 37


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01, 02 & 05. Yachts are displayed at the Kaohsiung Exhibition Center during the Taiwan International Boat Show. 03 & 04. Artist renderings of luxury yacht interiors 01 & 05. Photos by Jimmy Lin 02. Courtesy of Kha Shing Enterprise Co. 03 & 04. Courtesy of Ship and Ocean Industries R&D Center

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Taiwan Review September / October

park. The company manufactures marine chandlery items including aluminum boat windows, stainless steel portholes and deck hatches. Other area suppliers, such as Aritex Products Co., Hung Shen P r o p e l l e r C o. a n d Z F Fa s t e r Propulsion System Co., also cater to the needs of domestic and international yacht-makers and are known for their technical competence and ability to create customized accessories and hardware. “Ships moving on the open sea are subject to harsh conditions and require components that can stand the test of time,” said Ching Huang (黃景靖), general manager at Man Ship Machinery and Hardware. Building an oceangoing vessel is a complicated process involving myriad parts that must be precisely assembled by skilled professionals. “Electricians, engine specialists, carpenters and painters, among others, must cooperate to produce a great boat,” according to TYIA’s Chang. This is where Taiwan has a competitive edge, he said, as it possesses an extensive supply chain, firmly established industrial infrastructure and highly trained workforce. With regard to interior design and decor, yachts are greatly dependent on carpentry, the SOIC’s Chen noted. “The furniture and appointments of pleasure craft aren’t like those for buildings. They have to be meticulously made to fit precisely in confined spaces and remain stable when on the water.” As a rule, yacht furnishings are made on-site at shipyards. This means carpenters often labor within cramped, stuffy spaces for extended periods of time. In a bid to improve these conditions, the SOIC has proposed that shipbuilders and furniture business operators


cooperate on a new model of working separately in their own facilities before the latter send finished items to be installed on vessels. This process, which Chen noted is used for many shipbuilding projects in Western countries, is made possible through digitally linked manufacturing platforms and computer numerical control turning centers, automated lathes that quickly churn out preprogrammed objects. Such automation and mechanization technologies will soon play a significant role in the making of Kha Shing yachts, Gung said.

Blue Skies Ahead

Kaohsiung’s pleasure boat industry cluster is robust and continuing to grow, thanks in part to assistance

provided by various government agencies. For instance, besides technical support from the SOIC, the industry has benefited f rom port crane facilities constructed by the local government in 2010 exclusively for yachts. Gung said that in the past, local companies had to share such facilities with firms focused on making cargo and commercial transport craft. In addition, his and other companies have benefited from adjustments to the central government’s maritime policies. Since the end of martial law in 1987, restrictions on coastal activities and access to the sea have gradually been reduced. For instance, revisions to the Law of Ships as well as Regulations on Port Ser vices at Commercial Ports have greatly

streamlined application procedures for people wishing to take their vessels out to sea with no intention of making port in another nation. Also, local governments and the Fisheries Agency under the Cabinet-level Council of Agriculture are currently constructing marinas and yacht moorings at fishing harbors around Taiwan. This is significantly contributing to domestic yacht development and operations, Chang said. Taiwan is increasingly focusing on the potential of its lengthy coastlines and benefits of a strong shipbuilding and yacht-making industry, TYIA’s Gung noted. He hopes the popularity of pleasure boats continues to grow so that more people can experience Taiwan’s excellence as a manufacturer of marine craft.

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Pooling Resources Aquaculture companies at the Pingtung Agricultural Biotechnology Park are capitalizing on abundant support services to forge a world-class industry cluster. BY KELLY HER PHOTOS BY CHIN HUNG-HAO ILLUSTRATION BY CHO YI-JU

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Taiwan Review September / October

Aquaculture Industry Cluster Pingtung County

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n 2007, New Taipei Cityh e a d q u a r t e r e d Ta i k o n g Corp., an ornamental fish and shrimp supplier, became the first aquaculture company to open a facility at the Pingtung Agricultural Biotechnology Park (PABP). Over the decade since, a further 17 such enterprises have established operations at the site in southern Taiwan’s Pingtung County, turning out goods ranging f rom aquatic plants and fluorescent aquarium fish to processed seafood. The emergence of this industry cluster has vindicated Taikong’s trailblazing decision to construct a plant at PABP. “We set up shop at the park to take advantage of its wideranging services for tenants, like dedicated customs, inspection and quarantine stations,” said Barbara Kong (龔韻璇), a business and marketing manager with the company.

Owing to these support mechanisms, the firm’s export sales have increased by 45 percent from 10 years ago. Taikong’s premises in Pingtung inc lude 512 tanks for cultivating and stocking aquatic plants as well as freshwater and marine fish and shrimp. The company works with some 100 Taiwan aquaculture farms to deliver ornamental fish and shrimp to clients in 30 countries and territories. It also sells a broad range of aquarium supplies under its Azoo brand, such as feed, heaters, lighting fixtures and tanks. Since about 80 percent of Taikong’s suppliers are located in southern Taiwan, the facility at PABP has significantly shortened product delivery times, a crucial advantage when transporting live creatures, Kong said. S he also highlighted the benefits of expedited customs clearance. Typically,


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01 – 05. Yai-Tai Aquaculture Center at the Pingtung Agricultural Biotechnology Park in southern Taiwan showcases a variety of colorful creatures such as pink skunk clownfish, emperor angelfish and sexy shrimp. It helps resident firms cultivate and market the species through dedicated facilities for breeding, product displays and R&D. 02, 03 & 05. Courtesy of Pingtung Agricultural Biotechnology Park

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01 – 04. Taikong Corp. collaborates with some 100 Taiwan aquaculture farms to deliver a wide variety of ornamental aquarium species to clients in about 30 countries and territories, including tricolor angelfish, seahorses, jellyfish and fluorescent medaka. 05 & 06. The company’s facilities at PABP include 512 tanks for cultivating and stocking fish and shrimp. 07. Ocellaris clownfish bred by Taikong 01 – 05. Courtesy of Taikong Corp.

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companies must wait seven to 10 days when applying to the Cabinetlevel Council of Agriculture (COA) for a standard veterinary certificate, which is required by some countries for live animal shipments. In contrast, the normal wait time at the park is three days. “We provide resident companies with one-stop service centers to promote their export activities,” said Chang Su-san ( 張淑賢 ), directorgeneral of PABP. “Our aim is to foster supply chain integration and the creation of industry clusters to enable domestic companies to collectively tap international markets.”

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Biotech Hub

Established in December 2006, PABP is operated by the council. As of May, the park had 105 tenants, with accumulated investment exceeding NT$10.2 billion (US$337.7 million). Products manufactured by

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Taiwan Review September / October

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resident companies span such areas as animal feed and vaccines, beauty and health care products, biofertilizers and Chinese herbal medicines. “PABP was launched as part of broader efforts to guide Taiwan’s agricultural sector toward valueadded, low-pollution and technology-intensive production,” Chang said. “To this end, we offer subsidies aimed at boosting academiaindustr y collaboration on the


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development of new products, processes and technologies.” Another key selling point of PABP is its convenient location. The park is situated roughly 40 minutes from Kaohsiung International Airport, the high-speed rail terminal in Kaohsiung City’s Zuoying District, and the Port of Kaohsiung, one of the leading cargo shipment hubs in East Asia. Southern Taiwan is also home to large numbers of

established agriculture and aquaculture suppliers as well as prominent research organizations in these fields. Citing the ornamental fish sector as an example, Chang said that most of Taiwan’s some 250 producers are based in Kaohsiung and Pingtung. She added that aquaculture tenants can source research and technical support f rom nearby institutions like National Kaohsiung Marine Universit y (NKMU), National Pingtung University of Science and Technology (NPUST) and Pingtungbased Tungkang Biotechnolog y Research Center under the COA’s Fisheries Research Institute. PABP also plays a direct role in strengthening industry growth through its Yai-Tai Aquaculture Center. Inaugurated in late 2014, it houses a variety of beautiful and curious creatures, such as fluorescent pink angelfish and King Kong shrimp in colors including green and black. The center helps local aquaculture firms create and market these animals through dedicated facilities for breeding, logistics, product displays and R&D. According to Chang, market demand in the technically complex field of ornamental fish and shrimp cultivation is driven by innovation and originality. As local firms are typically small and medium

enterprises, industry cooperation is essential in fulfilling international orders, promoting research and encouraging the adoption of new production methods. The director-general said that the emergence of the aquaculture industry cluster in Pingtung has significantly strengthened Taiwan’s position in international markets, with domestic firms exporting over 500 of the roughly 2,000 ornamental fish species traded globally. She expressed optimism for future sector growth on the back of increasing research activity and the regular release of new products by local companies.

Eying Expansion

Boasting an occupancy rate of about 90 percent, PABP is in the midst of an expansion slated for completion in 2019. The additional land will accommodate up to 60 new enterprises and host an experimental fish farm and talent cultivation center. Following completion of these development projects, annual production value at the park is projected to triple to about NT$18 billion (US$596 million), Chang said. The expansion plans are music to the ears of aquaculture tenants such as Taiwan Fu Shrimp Enterprise Co. Like Taikong, the company 43


has seen impressive sales growth since opening a facility at PABP, registering year-on-year increases of about 30 percent after moving to the park in 2012. “We strive to regularly bring new products to market and keep lead times as short as possible to ensure the best possible quality of our livestock exports,” said Frank Liao (廖年 靖), the company’s general manager. “The convenient services provided at PABP, including on-the-spot health inspections and rapid customs clearance, have played an important role in bolstering these efforts.”

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01 – 05. Taiwan Fu Shrimp Enterprise Co. has utilized cross-breeding techniques to produce nearly 30 varieties of ornamental shrimp including black King Kongs, Amano shrimp, blue bolts and crystal reds. 02. Photo by Huang Chung-hsin 04. Courtesy of Taiwan Fu Shrimp Enterprise Co.

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Taiwan Review September / October

Liao and his business partners previously ran a shrimp hatchery in Xiamen city of mainland China’s Fujian province, but decided to shift operations to Taiwan after learning about the facilities and support services on offer at PABP. Taiwan Fu Shrimp specializes in using refined cross-breeding techniques to cultivate nearly 30 varieties of rare shrimp, including black King Kongs, cr ystal reds and blacks, pandas, pintos and wine reds. The company’s high-grade black King Kongs and crystal reds are among the most sought-after shrimp for aquarium hobbyists, retailing for up to US$2,000 each. Noting that his company often needs to work with four or five local counterparts to fill international orders, Liao said Taiwan Fu Shrimp has established cooperative ties with about 20 domestic aquaculture farms, including eight based at the park. “By


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06. Aquaculture companies comprise 18 of the more than 100 firms at PABP. 07. A blue tang, a species of surgeonfish, at the park’s Yai-Tai Aquaculture Center 06. Courtesy of PABP 07. Photo by Chuang Kung-ju

partnering with other ornamental fish and shrimp producers, we can offer customers one-stop services.” The firm has also taken advantage of the park’s R&D subsidies, conducting projects on the development and commercialization of new shrimp varieties with institutions including National Chiayi University (NCYU), NKMU and NPUST. These efforts have delivered significant results. Through collaboration with NCYU, for instance, Taiwan Fu Shrimp has achieved large-scale captive breeding of Amano shrimp, a popular aquarium product due to the creature’s voracious appetite for all kinds of freshwater algae. The company commenced commercial sales of the shrimp last October. Liao said that he is upbeat about the firm’s growth prospects due to rising global demand for aquaculture products. “Aquarium-based fishkeeping is gaining in popularity, particularly in American, European

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and Japanese households, while more hobbyists are collecting shrimp due to the greater availability of new and colorful varieties.”

Product Diversification

Taikong, founded in 1977 as an importer and exporter of ornamental fish, similarly focuses considerable effort on creating new offerings. To advance its prowess in genetic engineering technologies, the company set up a biotech center in 1996 and unveiled the world’s first fluorescent green medaka, or Japanese rice fish, five years later. It has also established a fish gene bank to catalog genetic materials and promote scientific research on potential applications. “O ur company is committed to preserving biodiversity and promoting sustainability in the ornamental fish industry,” Kong said. “Technological breakthroughs in areas like captive breeding, for

example, can prevent the extinction of at-risk species.” L a s t y e a r, Ta i k o n g g a i n e d approval to export captive-bred Hippocampus reidi, a variety of seahorse, under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, a multilateral agreement seeking to ensure that cross-border trade in animals and plants does not threaten their survival. It has since sold the creatures, which are coming under threat in the wild due to habitat loss, to customers in Asia, Europe and the U.S. “ We’re constantly working to develop cutting-edge aquaculture techniques, launch new products and expand our global presence,” Kong said. “ The comprehensive range of export services and networking opportunities provided by PABP will continue to bolster our commercial and research activities going forward.” 45


O

DIPLOMAC Y

台 灣 評 論

Land of Opportunity

n a sunny afternoon at an 8-hectare compound in the city of Bocaue, situated on Luzon Island about 25 kilometers north of Manila, Tayson Hsieh (謝世 英) walks among rows of humming equipment at his pig feed facility. “This country’s economy is improving at a fast pace, so its people are increasingly able to afford food items like pork,” said the 73-yearold Taiwan-born owner of Atlas Nutrition. With pig farmers clamoring for more feed to meet this demand, he is currently working to ramp up production. Hsieh began his career in the Southeast Asian nation in 1983, spending the next seven years learning the ropes before setting up his own firm. Having built up his business and branched out to other

Taiwan enterprises are flocking to the Philippines, a beacon of potential in Southeast Asia. TEXT AND PHOTOS BY OSCAR CHUNG

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Taiwan Review September / October


01. Visitors attend the inaugural 2014 Taiwan Excellence Exhibition in the Philippines at the SM Megamall in Metro Manila. 02 & 03. Dancers perform at the opening ceremony for the first Philippine branch of Taiwan-based Hua Nan Bank in June. The branch is located on Ayala Avenue in the Makati financial district. 01. Courtesy of Taiwan Trade Center, Manila 03. Courtesy of Hua Nan Bank

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endeavors such as raising breeder pigs, Hsieh has seen Atlas Nutrition’s revenues grow to about NT$5 billion (US$164.5 million) annually. To the west, in the region of Subic Bay, Sung Yueh Construction Corp. President Simon Su (蘇國芳) is busy overseeing the company’s largest ever project—renovating a high-end apartment building and 03

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enterprises and the Philippine government since 1994. As nearly all the land covered by the industrial park’s first and second phases—around 155 hectares in total—is being utilized, the facility is ready to enter its third phase. This expansion comes at a time when Taiwan businesses, as well as manufacturers in mainland China, are increasingly looking to Southeast Asia for their next projects.

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Pearl of the Orient Seas

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01. The Philippines, home to many famed historic sites such as Fort Santiago in Manila, boasts one of the fastest growing economies in the world. 02. A monument in Manila dedicated to Philippine nationalist Jose Rizal 03. Workers carry sacks of pig feed at Atlas Nutrition’s plant in Bocaue. 04. Founded 27 years ago by Taiwan entrepreneur Tayson Hsieh, the company is now one of the largest pig feed producers in the country. 05. Employees of Taiwan firm Nineder Technology Co. sort shipments ordered by customers across the Philippines at the company’s premises in Manila. 05. Courtesy of Nineder Technology Co.

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Taiwan Review September / October

hotel that served as the venue for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders’ Meeting in 1996. “This country is home to people that want and can increasingly afford better lives,” Su said, adding that he has faith in the Subic Bay area’s potential given its lack of traffic and other problems associated with major cities. Formerly home to a U.S. military base, Subic Bay was designated a free port in 1992, attracting businesses with incentives like substantial tax breaks. Over the past 12 years, Sung Yu e h h a s b e e n c o n s t r u c t i n g factory-office buildings in Subic B ay G a t e w ay Pa rk , w h i c h h a s been jointly developed by Taiwan

With a population of 100 million and relatively low gross domestic product per capita of less than US$3,000, the Philippines has substantial potential for growth. Manila is currently working to improve the country’s outlook via efforts ranging from an ambitious infrastructure development plan—budgeted at US$16.67 billion for 2017, nearly 14 percent higher than the previous year—to anti-corruption drives, with the latter helping improve the country’s ranking in the corruption perceptions index published by Transparency International from 141 in 2008 to 101 in 2016. Dubbed the “pearl of the Orient seas,” the archipelago nation posted 6.9 percent economic growth in 2016, the highest in Southeast Asia. Additionally, the country ranked ninth globally on the list of top prospective investment destinations in the latest edition of World Investment Report released in June 2017 by the U.N. Conference on Trade and Investment. Taiwan has long looked to the U.S., Japan and mainland China for investment opportunities, said Gar y Song-huann Lin ( 林松煥 ), head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines. It


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is time to fully explore this country, a potential treasure trove located so near to Taiwan, he added. Total trade volume between the two nations reached US$10.8 billion last year, making the Philippines Taiwan’s 10th largest trading partner worldwide and fourth largest in Southeast Asia. With an eye toward increasing the prevalence of Taiwan-made

products in the Philippines, the government-suppor ted Taiwan E x t e r n a l Tr a d e D e v e l o p m e n t Council ( TAI T RA) organiz ed the first edition of the Taiwan Excellence Exhibition in Metro Manila in 2014. The trade show displays products that have received the Taiwan Excellence Award, an honor created by the Ministry of Economic Affairs to recognize highquality merchandise. Every year, the flagship exhibition takes place as an independent event or part of larger shows at venues such as the SM Mall of Asia, according to Harrison Lan (藍科銘), director of TAITRA’s Taiwan Trade Center, Manila. “The Philippine market is distinguished by the speed with which consumers make purchasing decisions,” he said. “This represents a boon for Taiwan firms selling high-quality and competitively priced products.”

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Spending Power

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This consumer behavior has not gone unnoticed by members of Taiwan’s business elite including Delight Chen (陳昶任), CEO of e-commerce fi r m Ni n e d e r Te c h n o l o g y C o. The company launched its online 49


shopping platform Shopping99 in Taiwan in 2002 and expanded it to the Philippine market in 2013. The entrepreneur said that his revenue f rom the Southeast Asian nation has been growing by 100 percent annually. Chen noted that this market currently makes up around 14 percent of his total earnings, but he expects it to be his top source of income in just a few years. His experiences in the Philippines are encouraging him to explore other regional opportunities in such countries as Malaysia and Indonesia, he added. Restaurateurs and businesses in the hospitality industry have also been relishing the spending power of Filipino consumers in recent years. Some have chosen to build up a presence in the country, such as Din Tai Fung, a popular restaurant chain based in Taipei City that opened its first operation in the Philippines in December 2015. Others have chosen to cater to the

Visitor Arrivals from the Philippines, 2007-2016

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increasing number of Filipino tourists visiting Taiwan. According to the Tourism Bureau, the nation has seen a largely steady rise in the number of Filipino visitors over the past decade, reaching a record high of 172,475 in 2016.

Year

Numbers of Visitors

2007

85,030

2008

87,936

2009

77,206

2010

87,944

2011

101,539

2012

105,130

2013

99,698

2014

136,978

2015

139,217

2016

172,475 Source: Tourism Bureau

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Taiwan Review September / October

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Risk and Reward

As businesses are increasingly flocking to the Philippines, so too are Taiwan banks eager to offer financial support and expand their international reach. Hua Nan Bank, for example, opened its doors in Metro Manila’s financial district of Makati in June. “Considering the fierce competition in Taiwan’s banking sector, Hua Nan needs to explore overseas markets, especially countries like the Philippines, a vibrant nation that is attractive to Taiwan manufacturers relocating from mainland China,”


01. A luxury complex overlooking Subic Bay that hosted the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders’ Meeting in 1996 is undergoing renovations by Taiwan’s Sung Yueh Construction Corp. 02. Young Filipinos at Manila Bay 03. Subic Bay Gateway Park, a TaiwanPhilippine joint venture launched in 1994, is expected to initiate its third-phase expansion project in the near future. 04. A jeepney, a popular means of public transportation in the Philippines, motors along a major thoroughfare in Manila. 05. Salesclerks at a shopping mall in Metro Manila deliver a dance performance to attract customers. 03

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said Jeff Lai (賴坤賢), general manager of the bank’s Philippine branch. “ We support Taiwan companies setting up shop here in line with the government’s policy of encouraging interactions with Southeast Asian nations.” Hua Nan’s strong suit in Taiwan lies in corporate banking, and it is this specialty that the company is putting to good use in the Philippine market. The bank is currently focusing on offering syndicated loans to Taiwan businesses operating in the country.

There are of course still stumbling blocks for firms setting up oper ations in the P hilippines, TAITRA’s Lan said, citing issues ranging from substantial red tape to inadequate infrastructure. But those seeking evidence that fortunes can be made need look no further than entrepreneurs like Tayson Hsieh, and consider the country’s overall economic performance in recent years. “You have to stay here for a while, observing how things work,” Lan noted. “But in the end, your patience will pay off.” 51


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Ties that Bind Taiwan educational, humanitarian and religious institutions are strengthening people-to-people exchanges with the Philippines. BY OSCAR CHUNG PHOTOS COURTESY OF TZU CHI FOUNDATION PHILIPPINES

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Taiwan Review September / October

udith O. Casco, a borough chief in the Philippine city of Tacloban, had never heard of Tzu Chi Foundation, a Taiwanbased Buddhist charit y, before Typhoon Haiyan struck the country in November 2013. She is now a devoted volunteer with the nongovernmental organization (NGO), a result of its extensive humanitarian work in the aftermath of the storm that killed over 6,000 people and displaced many more. “Everything was gone. Everyone was utterly hopeless,” Casco said. “I’m truly grateful to Tzu Chi for all it did to improve the situation.” After providing relief supplies, the NGO launched a variety of programs to expedite post-disaster cleanup, such as paying those in impacted communities to remove debris. Tzu Chi volunteers f rom Taiwan and around the world also descended upon Tacloban to assist Filipino members with reconstruction projects, including the building of more than 1,700 prefabricated housing units. “The cash-for-cleanup drive organized by Tzu Chi was terrific,” Casco said. “I’d never heard of such a thing before, but it really helped communities regain a semblance of normality.” Founded in 1966 by Dharma Master Cheng Yen (證嚴), Tzu Chi has offices in more than 40 countries around the world. The foundation opened its first Philippine branch in Manila in 1994 and has since recruited about 1,000 volunteers across the Southeast Asian country to deliver humanitarian assistance, offer free medical services and promote recycling. Tzu Chi’s efforts in the wake of Haiyan, the deadliest natural disaster on record in the Philippines, were on a scale unlike any it had previously conducted in

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01. Tzu Chi Foundation volunteers wave to residents of Tacloban while offering aid in the Philippine city following Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013. 02. Venerable Master Miao Jing, abbot of Fo Guang Shan’s Mabuhay Temple in Manila, offers instruction to a student at the Buddhist nongovernmental organization’s Guang Ming College.

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03. University of the Philippines President Danilo L. Concepcion, front row, center, heads his institution’s delegation to the first Taiwan-Philippines Legal Collaboration Forum at National University of Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan in April. 04. Economically disadvantaged people in the Philippine city of Quezon collect rice provided by the Republic of China (Taiwan) Council of Agriculture and distributed by Tzu Chi’s Philippine chapter in February. 02. Photo by Oscar Chung 03. Courtesy of National University of Kaohsiung

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01. Children gather around the entrance to one of nine temporary classrooms erected by Tzu Chi in the Philippine city of Tunga, which was severely affected by Haiyan. 02. Volunteers offer medical services in Tacloban in August 2016 during a three-day mission organized by Tzu Chi’s Philippine chapter. 03. Students of FGS-founded Nanhua University in southern Taiwan’s Chiayi County display certificates following the completion of a two-week exchange program at GMC in July 2016. 04. GMC undergraduates attend a presentation during the 2017 International Youth Seminar on Life and Ch’an at FGS headquarters in southern Taiwan’s Kaohsiung City. 03 & 04. Courtesy of Fo Guang Shan

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the country, drawing greater awareness to its work. “Locals are still very grateful to Tzu Chi today because we came to their aid in the most difficult of times,” said Alfredo T. Li (李偉 嵩), the Philippine chapter’s deputy 54

Taiwan Review September / October

CEO. “We brought not only aid, but the idea that compassion knows no religious or racial differences.” In addition to its work in the Philippines, Tzu Chi has a longstanding commitment to helping Filipino migrant workers in Taiwan, who comprise the third largest group of foreign laborers at more than 140,000. The NGO regularly organizes free medical stations at prominent gathering places and offers emergency financial support in case of illness or injury. In recognition of these efforts, the NGO in December 2016 received the Kaanib ng Bayan Award, an honor conferred

biennially by the Philippine president to foreign individuals or organizations for their contributions to the country’s progress and development, or for their efforts to assist overseas Filipino communities.

Compassion and Faith

Tzu Chi was far f rom the only Taiwan-headquartered NGO to offer aid in the Philippines following Haiyan. Fo Guang Shan (FGS), a fellow Taiwan-based Buddhist charity founded by Venerable Master Hsing Yun (星雲) in 1967, stepped forward to provide assistance to those impacted by the storm. It organized collection and donation campaigns and, like Tzu Chi, worked


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with the Republic of China (Taiwan) government to deliver supplies to disaster areas. The group first began operating in the Philippines in 1989 by offering religious instruction at an existing Buddhist temple in the city of Cebu. Three years later, FGS opened a small Buddhist center in Manila’s Chinatown area before relocating it to another part of the city in 1993. The facility was named Mabuhay Temple after undergoing extensive renovations from 2002 to 2009. “FGS strives to change people’s lives through educ ation, ” said Venerable Master Miao Jing (妙淨), abbot of Mabuhay Temple. “We hope all children yearning to receive an education can see their wish fulfilled.” At the invitation of the Philippine government, the group established Guang Ming College (GMC) in 2013. Housed in its

Manila temple, the college is the only tertiary education institution founded by a Buddhist organization in the majority Catholic country. It is also the fifth institute of higher learning established by FGS worldwide, following two others in Taiwan and one each in Australia and the U.S. GMC has three departments: Buddhist studies, dance and theater, the former of which is unique in the Philippines. The college’s student body of about 100 consists primarily of academically gifted high school graduates from impoverished families in remote regions. Enrollees receive full scholarships and f ree accommodation for the duration of their studies. Students are not required to convert to Buddhism, though they are expected to follow certain practices such as vegetarianism. “Parents sometimes have doubts about our

school because relatively few people in the Philippines have a good understanding of Buddhism,” Miao Jing said. “To alleviate their concerns, we make trips to the students’ hometowns and talk to their families and even teachers in person.” Plans are underway to relocate the college to a new dedicated campus in Tagaytay City to the south of Manila, with FGS breaking ground on the site in January. Following the move, the nonprofit intends to expand GMC’s student body and introduce two new departments focusing on music and vegetarian science. As fostering international exchanges forms a fundamental component of the group’s mission, FGS organizes regular activities aimed at cultivating connections among its students around the world. According to Miao Jing, under one such program, about 30 GMC undergraduates are selected each year to attend the International Youth Seminar on Life and Ch’an—or Zen in Japanese—a major FGS event held in Taiwan since 2009. Charie Natividad Eusores, a 19-year-old Filipina enrolled in the college’s Department of Buddhist Studies, is a keen student of the FGS philosophy of Humanistic Buddhism, which advocates integrating principles such as altruism into everyday life. “I try to apply the ideals I study when I return to my home village,” she said. “Also through the college, I’ve had the opportunity to visit Taiwan and learn how people live there, which has opened my eyes to the world.”

Partners in Education

The Buddhist NGO’s exchange programs reflect wider measures to expand tertiary education ties between Taiwan and the Philippines. “ T h e r e ’s a n e e d f o r Ta i w a n 55


universities to diversify target countries in recruiting students f rom Southeast Asia, and the Philippines holds huge potential in this respect,” said Yen Hong-wei (顏宏偉), dean of the Office of International Education and Programs at Tunghai University in central Taiwan’s Taichung City. According to Ministr y of Education statistics, domestic universities enrolled just 212 degreeseeking Filipino students in 2016, compared with 12,689 f rom Malaysia. One of the groups working to boost this number is the Southern Taiwan University Alliance (STUA). Established in 2014, the association aims to bolster exchanges between its 11 members and universities across the region. STUA started by forging links with the University of the Philippines (UP), the country’s most prestigious tertiary education system with campuses nationwide and a student body of about 60,000. UP is eager to raise its global status by improving the academic credentials of its faculty, only about 30 percent of whom hold doctorates, according to Wu Eingming (吳英明), a professor of public administration at Shu-Te University, an STUA member in southern Taiwan’s Kaohsiung City. “We can play a role in addressing UP concerns by helping faculty members pursue postgraduate degrees in Taiwan,” Wu said. “The more UP professors who come to Taiwan, the more interest we’ll draw from Filipino students who want to study overseas.” STUA’s efforts have garnered support f rom the private sector. Kindness Hotel, a Kaohsiung-based chain, has established a guesthouse in the southern port city to provide f ree accommodation for visiting UP scholars. Since the beginning of 56

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this year, eight groups of UP faculty members, totaling some 70 people, have stayed at the guesthouse while attending interviews for postgraduate courses at STUA schools. Ten are scheduled to begin their studies in September, with many others expected to follow over the next two years. According to UP President Danilo L. Concepcion, there is substantial room for growth in ties between his university and Taiwanbased institutions. “We can also conduct joint research programs in areas such as food security and computer science,” he said. Concepcion, a professor of law, paid his most recent visit to Taiwan in April as head of UP’s delegation

to the first Taiwan-Philippines Legal Collaboration Forum. Co-organized b y S T UA - m e m b e r N a t i o n a l University of Kaohsiung and UP, the forum is expected to become an annual event held alternatively in the two countries. Efforts to forge partnerships between Taiwan and Philippine universities have garnered strong support from the governments of both countries. In March, the ROC Ministry of Education and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) under the Philippine Office of the President jointly arranged a tour of Taiwan universities for the heads of 26 Philippine institutes of higher learning. “This marked a significant step in building partnerships between


01 & 02. Young people from Taiwan perform for locals and visit cultural sites in the Philippines in September 2016 under the ROC Ministry of Foreign Affairs-organized International Youth Ambassador Exchange Program. 03. Kindness Hotel, a chain based in southern Taiwan, operates a free guesthouse in Kaohsiung for visiting UP academics. 04. Oblation, based on the original sculpture by Filipino artist Guillermo Tolentino that serves as the symbol of UP, stands on the university’s Diliman campus in Quezon. The Southern Taiwan University Alliance and the Philippine tertiary institution are working to strengthen academic ties between the countries. 01 & 02. Courtesy of Ministry of Foreign Affairs 03. Photo by Chin Hung-hao 04. Photo by Oscar Chung

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the two sides. Philippine universities used to look to Japan, the U.S. and Europe for international exchanges, but we need to expand our horizons and look to our neighbors,” said Alex B. Brillantes Jr., a UP professor who was CHED commissioner at the time of the tour. Brillantes expressed confidence about the continued growth of such interactions, citing recent initiatives by the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC) to deepen connections with Taiwan organizations. PASUC, which represents 102 public

institutions, hosted a meeting in Manila in early July with a 17-member delegation from nine universities in southern Taiwan. The two sides inked several agreements aimed at boosting ties between their schools. Wu is similarly optimistic on future opportunities for education collaboration, stating that through such efforts Taiwan can play an important role in strengthening human capital development in the Philippines and other Southeast Asian nations. “Perhaps more significantly, education exchanges will foster mutual understanding and goodwill,” he said. 57


C U LT U R E

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Islands of Heritage Outlying Penghu County is a veritable treasure trove of natural beauty and cultural attractions. BY KELLY HER PHOTOS COURTESY OF PENGHU COUNTY GOVERNMENT 01

01. Twin Hearts Stone Weir on Qimei Island is one of outlying Penghu County’s many unique cultural treasures. 02. Residents play a vital role in preserving the weir for future generations. 03. Columnar basalt formations in Penghu’s Xiyu Township 03. Photo by Chuang Kung-ju

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round 50 kilometers off the west coast of Taiwan p r o p e r i n Pe n g h u , a heritage renaissance led by residents in tandem with central and local government is underway. Retired high school teacher Lin Wen-zhen (林文鎮), born and bred in the archipelago of 90 islets, is a passionate member of the movement dedicated to conserving the county’s many distinctive tangible and intangible cultural assets. One project the 72-year-old Lin is particularly proud of during his 20 years on the front line of cultural preservation efforts involves rebuilding Penghu’s iconic stone fish weirs and promoting related construction techniques. “These structures carry profound cultural implications and illustrate the close relationship between residents of yesteryear and Mother Nature,” he said. “They also tell us we should adapt to rather than change the environment and demonstrate the need to re-examine traditional practices to solve food supply issues of today.”

Preserving Tradition

Spread over 127 square kilometers in the middle of the Taiwan Strait, Penghu—also known as the Pescadores, or fishermen, in Portuguese—is renowned for its waters teeming with all manner of marine life. Once sparsely populated by itinerant fishermen and an eclectic assortment of adventurers and vagabonds, the islands saw the rise of more permanent communities in the early 17th century following largescale migration f rom present-day mainland China.

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Given the difficulty in growing crops on the windswept islands, the new arrivals turned to the sea for sustenance. They set about building the ingenious weirs in the shallows from Penghu’s abundance of basalt and coral. At high tide, fish would swim into the pondlike structures only to be trapped as the tide raced out. Nearly 600 of the weirs remain today, with the oldest believed to date back more than 300 years. Measures to safeguard the structures have been implemented at central and local government level for a number of years. In 2009, the Ministry of Culture (MOC) identified Twin Hearts Stone Weir on Qimei Island and Jibei Stone Weir Group on Jibei Island as potential Taiwan additions to the UNESCO World Heritage List. And two years before, Penghu County Government designated them cultural landscapes in a bid to preserve local fishery culture and history. As well as the weirs, Penghu boasts an array of well-preserved historic sites including 49 buildings and 19 monuments. The Wangan HuaZhai Old-Style Historical Houses and eight other sites are designated by the MOC as an important traditional settlement and national monuments, respectively. The county is also home to two of Taiwan’s 22 nature reserves, all of which were founded in accordance with the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act. Penghu Columnar Basalt Nature Reserve was established in 1992 in the north of the archipelago and Penghu Columnar Basalt Nature Reserve Nanhai was set up in 2008 in the south. Ts e n g H u i - s h i a n g ( 曾 慧 香 ) , director of the county government ’s Cultural Affairs Bureau, said Penghu is endowed with a rich 60

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01. Wangan Hua-Zhai Old-Style Historical Houses are designated by the Ministry of Culture as an important traditional settlement. 02. A number of century-old houses constructed in the classic southern Fujian style comprise Erkan Traditional Residence in Xiyu Township. 03. Magong City’s Tianhou Temple, built in 1604 and dedicated to Mazu, goddess of the sea, is characterized by its ornate pillars, roof and wall carvings. 04. Zhongyang Old Street in Magong 05. Master temple painter Huang Yu-chien 06. Eye-catching roof decorations are a distinctive feature of temples in Penghu. 03, 04 & 06. Photos by Chin Hung-hao

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heritage worthy of preservation for future generations. “We’re committed to protecting and promoting distinctive properties through renovation projects, training courses and various activities.”

Cultural Assets

According to Tseng, the county’s cultural landscape is made up of

historic buildings, military facilities, museums, stone fishing weirs and temples, as well as folk ballads, religious festivals and traditional crafts used in temple decorations. Recently, significant structures like Duxingshi Village, Jinguitou Fortress, Tianhou Temple and Wangan Hua-Zhai OldStyle Historical Houses have been refurbished and opened to the public.

The bureau also places a premium on promoting Penghu’s battlefield culture by rehabilitating military installations and dependents’ villages. It has successfully negotiated with the Ministry of National Defense to release numerous facilities and make them available to visitors. One example is historic Jinguit o u Fo r t re s s i n M a g o n g C i t y. Constructed in 1887 during the Qing dynasty (1644-1911), the structure was classified in 2001 as a national monument and started welcoming its first post-restoration sightseers in April. Another is Duxingshi Village, which comprises a cluster of dormitories built for military officers during Japanese colonial rule (1895-1945). It was the first of its kind garrisoned in Taiwan proper or the outlying islands as of Retrocession Day Oct. 25, 1945—the official date Taiwan was returned to the government by 61


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01. Many of the old houses in Penghu are built from basalt and coral. 02. The county’s pristine beachscapes make it a worthy member of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club. 03. Oyster farming is a major component of the archipelago’s fishing industry. 04. Magong’s Penghu Living Museum offers visitors the opportunity to learn about local culture and history. 05. An illustration featuring some of the county’s landmarks 01 & 04. Photos by Chin Hung-hao 02 & 03. Photos by Jimmy Lin 05. Illustration by Kao Shun-hui

Japan—and was partially opened to the public following renovations in August 2015.

Passion Projects

Pierre Yang ( 楊仁江 ), an architect and associate professor with the Graduate Institute of Architecture and Cultural Heritage at Taipei National University of the Arts, has participated in about 50 restoration projects of historic sites across Taiwan proper and the outlying islands. His latest is the two-year 62

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project involving Jinguitou Fortress Cultural Park. “Penghu is a bonanza of heritage properties rich in architectural, cultural and historical significance,” he said. “Some of the old military facilities remain intact to this day, testament to the county’s former status as a key link in the nation’s strategic defenses.” According to Yang, there is a real sense of achievement in repurposing old structures on the road to wrack and ruin. “Most architects

want to start from scratch, but I prefer breathing new life into historic structures and giving back to society in the process,” he said. This approach is also present in the bureau’s strategy for promoting the county’s maritime resources and traditions, Tseng said. “Penghu’s relationship with the sea has indelibly shaped its history, making protection of cultural resources and the marine environment a core concern in charting the right course for the sustainable development of the local tourism industry.” Some of the most popular activities for visitors to Penghu, Tseng said, include classes in traditional and modern fishing techniques, tours of cultural establishments like Magong’s Penghu Ocean Resource and Penghu Living museums and trips to the pristine beaches and waters of the various islets.


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The ocean resource museum’s collection consists of artworks, images, model boats, replicas of sea creatures and vintage fishing equipment, while the living museum features exhibits like archival documents, artifacts, historical photos and interactive displays. “They all help visitors better understand local culture, ecology and history, as well as the importance of marine conservation in a manner that is educational and enjoyable at the same time,” she added.

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International Perspective

Another tourism-related area of interest for the county government is expanding Penghu’s role in the Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club, a grouping of 40 bays from 25 countries and territories committed to “saving the natural heritage of the bay, preserving its identity, respecting the way of life and the traditions of those that inhabit the area whilst ensuring economic development compatible with these commitments.” Since joining the UNESCOendorsed organization in 2012, Penghu has regularly been represented at club meetings on the latest trends in heritage conservation and marine management. In addition,

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the county will host the club’s annual meeting in October 2018—a valuable opportunity to enhance the archipelago’s international profile and tourism credentials. In training the spotlight on Penghu’s natural attractions, the local government hopes to attract more visitors from home and abroad and give lifelong residents such as Chen Ying-jun (陳英俊) the opportunity to contribute to cultivating the county’s appeal as a slow-travel destination. Much like Lin, the 63-year-old architecture historian, author and building materials merchant has spent 20 years conserving Penghu’s cultural assets. “Old homes and commercial premises are the best witnesses to the events, past lives and stories of a community,” he said. “Penghu’s remarkable attractions speak volumes about the rich culture and history of the county. This is why in the name of art and education, every effort must be made to preserve what we have and support responsible urban revitalization.”

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01 & 02. Jinguitou Fortress, constructed in 1887 in Magong, is a national monument open to the public following renovation. 03. Consisting of a cluster of dormitories built for officers during Japanese colonial rule (1895-1945), Duxingshi Village in Magong provides a glimpse into the lives of military dependents over the years. 04. The ammunition depot with copper-lined walls in Xiyu Township is currently under renovation and scheduled to open to the public next year. 05. Tseng Hui-shiang, director of Penghu County Government’s Cultural Affairs Bureau, explains the rigging used on a model fishing junk at Penghu Ocean Resource Museum. 06. A display featuring the smiling faces of residents is the centerpiece of the lobby at Penghu Living Museum. 07. The secret life of coral ecosystems is revealed at Penghu Ocean Resource Museum. 01, 03 & 05 – 07. Photos by Chin Hung-hao

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According to Chen, the county’s ammunition depots, fortresses, lighthouses and underground tunnels built during Qing, Japanese and Republic of China (Taiwan) rule have pronounced historic value. Two of his favorites are the ammunition depots with copper-lined walls constructed 82 years ago in Xiyu Township, with both under renovation and likely accessible by tourists next year. Penghu’s wealth of temples is another source of fascination and pride for Chen. “They are an integral part of the daily lives of locals, especially with fishermen praying for safety at sea,” he said. One of the oldest dedicated to Mazu, goddess of the sea, in the county and Taiwan proper is Magong’s Tianhou Temple. Built in 1604 during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), the traditionally styled structure with its ornate pillar, roof and wall carvings was designated in 1983 as a national monument. “A multitude of gorgeous vistas and historic properties makes the county an ideal tourism destination,” Chen said. “There really are very few places in the world where a visitor can feast their eyes upon the beauty of nature while immersing their minds in a deep vein of cultural heritage all in one day.” 66

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01. Folk performances are a common sight during temple fairs in Penghu. 02. An offering of a glutinous rice turtle is mandatory for those praying for longevity and peace at one of the county’s temples during Lantern Festival. 03. The archipelago is home to nearly 200 temples that play an important role in the everyday lives of locals.


2017.9.21-10.29 Museumpark Orientalis, Nijmegen, the Netherlands

2018.05.10-05.31 Taipei Representative Office in Berlin, Germany

2017.11.10-2018.03.11 French Center for Intangible Cultural Heritage, Vitre, France

2018.06.28-07.08 The Gallery@Oxo, London, United Kingdom

2018.04.01-04.30 7th District Town Hall of Paris, France


PHOTOGRAPHY

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01. Woodcarvings at Sanxia Qingshui Zushi Temple in New Taipei City’s Sanxia District 02. A stone relief at Sanxia Qingshui Zushi Temple

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Living Museums Taiwan’s temples are vibrant showrooms for traditional architecture and decorative crafts. PHOTOS BY HUANG CHUNG-HSIN

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long-held Chinese cultural belief asserts that gods from a devotee’s ancestral home confer the greatest blessings. So centuries ago, when immigrants from mainland China set out to build new lives in the unfamiliar land of Taiwan, they brought with them statues of the folk deities worshipped in their communities. Life was difficult for these early settlers, so initially they were only able to house the idols in ill-suited, shabby surroundings. In time, as they and their offspring grew wealthier, considerable effort was made to expand and renovate the first temples built on the island as well as to construct newer and more ornate places of worship. Believers paid large sums to ship construction materials across the Taiwan Strait, and hired mainland Chinese master craftsmen to transform the supplies into elaborate beams, roofs and decorative carvings. Some temples adopted the unusual strategy of employing two master craftsmen for the same project, granting each responsibility for building or refurbishing one half of the structure. While this practice meant that the two sides of the temple often ended up with slightly different architectural and design details, it was believed that competition inspired the artisans to produce their best work. Virtually all long-established temples in Taiwan have undergone multiple restorations owing to factors such as the humid climate and frequency of natural disasters. For many generations, craftsmen employed to complete renovations have typically added their own decorative elements. This eclectic approach has transformed Taiwan’s temples into fascinating living museums of traditional architecture and crafts. —by Jim Hwang

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01. Sanxia Qingshui Zushi Temple was constructed in 1767. 02. Built in 1755, Dalongdong Baoan Temple is located in Taipei City’s Datong District. 03. A devotee places incense sticks in a burner at Dajia Jenn Lann Temple, built in 1732 in Dajia District of central Taiwan’s Taichung City. 03. Photo by Chin Hung-hao

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01 & 02. “Jian nian� works adorn the roofs of Dalongdong Baoan Temple (opposite) and Sanxia Qingshui Zushi Temple (above). The traditional craft is used to create temple roof decorations, typically depictions of figures or auspicious beasts, by cutting and pasting ceramic pieces onto concrete frames.

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01. A caisson ceiling at Sanxia Qingshui Zushi Temple 02 & 03. Taipei Confucius Temple is noted for its decorative “dougongs,” brackets inserted between the top of a column and a crossbeam. The temple in the city’s Datong District was built in 1884, destroyed in 1895 at the beginning of the Japanese colonial period (1895-1945) and rebuilt in 1939.

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A fresco at Dalongdong Baoan Temple created by painter Pan Li-shui in 1973

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Historic Homecoming A century-old railway station is returned to its original home in Taipei City, fostering awareness of the facility’s rich history. PHOTOS BY CHIN HUNG-HAO

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fter nearly three decades, the historic Xinbeitou railway station was returned home April 1 to Taipei City’s Beitou District. First opened 101 years previously during Japanese colonial rule (1895-1945), it was the sole station on a branch line departing from Beitou Station on the TaipeiTamsui railway. The 1.2-kilometer offshoot, known as the Hot Spring Line, was Taiwan’s first tourist-focused rail service, designed to transport visitors to the dozens of bathhouses in the famed hot spring resort area of Xinbeitou. The station was scheduled to be demolished in 1988 after the Taipei-Tamsui railway was replaced by the Taipei metro’s Tamsui Line, which uses much of its predecessor’s track. It was granted a reprieve when Li Chung-yao (李重耀), an architect and preservation advocate, convinced the operators of Taiwan Folk Village to host the structure at the theme park in central Taiwan’s Changhua County. Owner Taiwan Railways Administration agreed to sell the striking cypress wood station for NT$1 (US$0.03) and it was dismantled and shipped south for reassembly. In March 1997, the Taipei metro’s Xinbeitou branch line commenced operations, fostering memories of the old station among cultural promotion activists, historians and residents, and generating interest in restoring the structure to its former home. Agreeing that the station should be preserved at its original site, the property management company for Taiwan Folk Village, which went bankrupt in 2007, donated the building to Taipei City Government, and it was once again disassembled and transported across the country. With the Taipei metro’s Xinbeitou terminus occupying the location of its forerunner, the station was reconstructed at a site some 50 meters from where it first stood. While the structure no longer welcomes passengers, it now serves as a vivid reminder of a fascinating page of local history. —by Jim Hwang

01 – 03. Xinbeitou station reopened April 1, the 101st anniversary of its establishment, in Taipei City’s Beitou District.

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The station was reassembled using time-honored construction techniques and as many of the original materials as possible.

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01 & 02. The station’s role has shifted from providing transportation services to showcasing the area’s history and culture.

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