IT = India + Taiwan: DIGITIMES President's six information industry development suggestions for India

Rocky Uriankhai, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0


"Taiwan is not a competitor to India because we don't do branding; we can be your partner."

On the afternoon of February 24 (local time), during day two of the "Asia Economic Dialogue" held in Pune, India, DIGITIMES president Colley Hwang gave a short and concise presentation at the "Making Semiconductor Supply Chains Resilient" seminar. This was part of the second day of the Asia Economic Dialogue - Asia and the Emerging World Order, organized by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs and the Pune International Centre in Pune, Maharashtra.

The speech presented abundant data to prove the strength of Taiwan's electronics industry. For example, Taiwan accounts for more than 93% of the world's server production value. This drew admiration from the audience, leading to a round of enthusiastic applause that briefly interrupted the speech.

This atmosphere was probably due to the fact that the keynote speaker before Hwang was Ajit Manocha, the Indian CEO of SEMI (Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International). While he raised the importance of the global semiconductor industry and its future prosperity, he also admitted that India still has a significant gap in this crucial industry sector. For instance, Manocha presented a world map showing that between 2021~2025, there were 81 new 12-inch and 8-inch fabs constructed worldwide. Among them, 58 are in Asia, yet India is not home to even one.

Manocha's statistics seemed to discourage much of the Indian audience in the room. He clearly noticed that and immediately reassured the audience that, because the Indian government is taking this situation very seriously, "things will change very soon." This drew a small round of applause. Hwang, who has been friends with Manocha for many years, followed up and cheered up the audience by suggesting that "IT (Information Technology) is India + Taiwan", which caused another round of laughter and applause. This seemingly relieved the slight frustration of some of the Indian audience and brought them closer to Taiwan.

With just five PowerPoint slides, Hwang raised a major problem that India must face: India's electronic product trade with China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan is all in a deficit. Moreover, India is rapidly developing its electronics manufacturing industry. The more its output value grows, the more it relies on these five "sources of supply". The deficit is likely to increase simultaneously as well. Since this is backed by proper figures, no one in the audience was able to challenge this claim.

A key point hidden in the slides was that "nearly half of China's US$33.835 billion electronic exports to India were contributed by Taiwanese companies." Hwang did not forget to promote Taiwan's technological strength, offering proof that if India wants to develop its electronics industry, "Taiwan can help" and do so "in a manner that's harmless to India."

In the last PowerPoint, Hwang offered six suggestions as to where India can cooperate with Taiwan. These are, in fact, the "pioneer experiences" that Taiwan can offer for its Indian counterparts to learn from. A good example is the three science parks that have developed quite successfully in Taiwan. Hwang also emphasized that 2023 will be a turning point.

Perhaps due to the sincere list of suggestions and the wonderful speech, many Indian audience members approached Hwang to greet and exchange business cards with him. These included representatives from Tata Trusts, a subsidiary of India's largest corporation Tata Group, and Infosys, a world-renowned software company from India.