Taiwan urged to ease rules to attract AI talent

William Lai, Taipei, Taipei; Willis Ke, DIGITIMES Asia 0

To tackle ongoing brain drain, Taiwan businesses are keen on adopting AI solutions to accelerate operation upgrades and transformations, but what counts more is how they can attract more high-level foreign AI and other tech professionals to work in Taiwan to sustain innovation momentum, according to some experts.

This was a consensus reached at an online panel discussion jointly hosted by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), the Science & Technology Policy Research and Information Center (STPI) under the National Applied Research Laboratories (NARLabs), and Digitimes to discuss issues concerning tech research and innovation talent and present suggestions for the nation's science and technology development strategy formulation in 2020.

To attract foreign AI talent, the panelists all agreed that Taiwan must develop good working environments and relax regulations to allow startups to hire high-level foreign professionals and address the issue of permanent residence for the professionals and their families.

As the discussion moderator, Digitimes vice president Eric Huang said that Taiwan has an abundant supply of high-tech talent, prompting many international tech giants such as Google and Microsoft to set up research centers in the country, while Chinese enterprises have also aggressively raided talent from Taiwan by offering attractive pays 2-3 times their existing levels.

Fengyou Sun, co-founder and CEO of AI startup Kapito, said that it is an inevitable trend for foreign enterprises to recruit Taiwanese talent by offering pays comparable to international pays, as more and more enterprises are going international.

YN Chen, assistant professor at the department of computer science and information engineering of National Taiwan University, said that foreign firms recruiting talent from Taiwan can help drive local enterprises to improve working conditions and boost pays and fringe benefits for their local employees.

Richie Tsai, chief operation officer of Taiwan AI Academy, said that it does not matter whether Taiwan's talent are poached to work in Japan, China or the Silicon Valley; what really matters is whether Taiwan industries can attract back the talent by deepening AI deployments.