Nvidia faces 50% foreign hiring mandate for potential new R&D center in Taiwan

Bryan Chuang, Taipei; Willis Ke, DIGITIMES Asia 0


If Nvidia decides to set up a second R&D center in Taiwan, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) will require that 50% of the engineers be recruited from abroad, according to Economic Minister Kuo Jyh-Huei.

Responding to widespread speculation about whether Nvidia will establish a second R&D center, a Taiwan headquarters, or an AI data center, Kuo said on June 5 that he cannot confirm Nvidia's plans, as there have been no discussions with the company about the matter.

Nvidia has already established an AI research and development center in Taiwan with subsidy support from the MOEA's "Pioneers for Innovation Leadership on Technology Program," also known as the "Big A+ Program." The company is providing 25% of the computing power of the "Taipei-1" supercomputer for use by academia and startups.

Academic sources indicate there was a controversy involving Nvidia poaching existing Taiwanese R&D talent for its center, with MediaTek being the most affected. To address this, Minister Kuo said that Nvidia has announced plans to hire 1,000 engineers for its R&D operations in Taiwan, half of whom must come from overseas to avoid further poaching talent from local companies.

Kuo emphasized that the government welcomes foreign investments, using the analogy "if flowers bloom, butterflies will come" to describe the current boom in foreign companies seeking to invest in Taiwan. Besides Nvidia and AMD, several other international tech giants are also interested in investing in Taiwan, indicating the country's unique AI resources. Currently, only TSMC can produce the chips needed for Generative AI applications, and there are 5-6 companies with AI server design and manufacturing capabilities, most based in Taiwan, Kuo continued.

Kuo also highlighted that the growing AI business opportunities are driving a strong recovery in Taiwan's exports in 2024. Major domestic and foreign forecasting institutions are optimistic about Taiwan's economic growth in 2024, predicting it will return to above 3%, with the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics forecasting a growth rate of 3.94%.

According to analyses from Boston Consulting Group (BCG), AI can improve enterprise production efficiency by 20% and help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 5% to 10%. A study by Omdia indicates that the generative AI market will have an annual compound growth rate of up to 56% by 2028.