China, Taiwan agree to annual tech conventions

TAIPEI- China and Taiwan agreed this week to hold annual conventions on a range of technological issues, including joint academic research and sharing of data, an advisor to the island government said last Wednesday.

Government leaders anticipate trading technological tips on environmental issues and prevention of natural disasters, said Chen Chung-chuan, a division director under the Science and Technology Advisory Group.

Conferences may also cover speeding the development of China’s technology parks ideal for Taiwan investors, particularly in inland regions that Beijing wants to open further for offshore investment, analysts said.

Loosening investment rules or offering preferential treatment to the other side’s tech firms might make an agenda, as well, said Helen Chiang, research manager with International Data Corp. in Taipei.

Taiwan has looked to China, just 160 km (100 miles) away, over more than a decade for its relatively cheap consumer electronics assembly labor.

China could use the conventions to piggyback on Taiwan’s historical connections to the rest of the world, particularly the Silicon Valley, said Duncan Clark, chairman of the BDA China consultancy in Beijing.

China is a latecomer to global technology with a more fractured, less efficient supply chain compared to Taiwan, home to some of the world’s top computer makers.

“Commercial savvy is the biggest benefit Taiwan has,” Clark said. “That level of international exposure is much more mature.”

A thaw in political ties since 2008 has allowed more partnerships between the two sides. Firms from China and Taiwan are already talking about cooperation in mobile broadband.

The first convention, a government-dominated meeting in Beijing this month, will lead to an event in Taiwan next year with topics yet to be picked or who will attend, Chen said.

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