Thursday, November 30, 2006


Taipei, Nov. 29 (CNA) While entertainment is still the top use for digital product home users in Taiwan, more users see home security as one of the most important functions when buying digital products, according to the results of a survey released Wednesday.

Entertainment is the main reason users use digital products when they are home. When they are away from home, home security issues become the primary concern and they expect to constantly monitor home security with new digital technologies, according to the survey commissioned by the Office of Committee for Information Industry Development (OCIID) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

The survey, which was conducted by the Topology Research Institute (TRI) and focused on identifying the needs of digital product home users in Taiwan, polled 500 users aged between 25 and 45 and conducted focus group interviews in the span of five months before releasing the final results.

"The results told us that home security and distance home care will be the future trends, " said TRI researcher Lo Wen-ying.

The top three products on users' wish list are Internet-connected televisions, smartphones/PDAs and home entertainment computers, the survey found.
It also found that brand has become the leading factor when users buy home digital products, as 31.1 percent of respondents said it was their No. 1 concern. Functionality was the No. 2 factor in the category at 28.7 percent.

Users in southern Taiwan were more willing to buy home digital products than people in northern and central Taiwan, according to the survey results.

TRI Vice President Huang Li said mobile phones are expected to be the main device for people to monitor home security and control home equipment in the future.


Taipei, Nov. 28 (CNA) A U.S. FBI program combining the efforts of government agencies, academia and the private sector can be an example for Taiwan in fighting cyber crime, representatives from law enforcement agencies said Tuesday.

Representatives in Taipei and Kaohsiung attended an 80-minute digital video conference in which FBI Cyber Division Deputy Assistant Director Raul Rolden discussed cyber crime issues with panelists from the two cities.

Rolden found out after his brief on cyber crime basics that his audience were most interested in the "InfraGard" program, which Taiwan badly needs, according to the attendees.

InfraGard, which began in 1996, is a partnership between the FBI, the private sector, academic institutions, and state and local law enforcement agencies, Rolden said.

It is an information sharing system and analysis effort serving the interests and combining the knowledge base of a wide range of members, he said. InfraGard currently has more than 15,000 members.

Rolden said InfraGard can be described as an FBI outsourcing program that "lets companies bring in the information, analyze it...and identify the crime" because the expertise in the private sector is far more advanced than that of the FBI.

The FBI Fusion Center, which is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is able to tackle cyber crime with the help of the program and has received relative success, Rolden said.

Cyber criminals are very creative and can even be called "innovators, " Rolden noted.

The conference, titled "Emerging Cyber Crime Trends and Enforcement Approaches, " was hosted by the American Institute in Taiwan.


Taipei, Nov. 28 (CNA) Partisan politics should not hinder the development of regional and inter-city integration, two senior executive officials said Tuesday in Taipei.

Not until the 3-in-1 local elections last year, when the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) swept almost every mayoral and magistrate election in northern Taiwan, was northern Taiwan regional integration possible, Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou claimed in a forum focused on the integration of northern Taiwan cities.

Ma said the plan to bring Taipei City and Taipei County into joint collaboration was stalemated prior to 2005, as Taipei County was governed by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), while Taipei City was under the KMT.

Local development should be a non-partisan effort, Taoyuan Magistrate Eric Chu said.

Chu urged the central government to take note of the global trend of decentralization, which he claimed was the key factor behind China's rapid economic development.

Local governments will benefit a lot, Chu said, if the central government reviews the effectiveness and fairness of the distribution regulations for centrally allotted tax revenues.

Taipei City receives a large proportion of tax revenues, which is unfair to most local governments, Chu added.


Taipei, Nov. 28 (CNA) An organization of eight northern Taiwan cities is pursuing greater development through regional cooperation and initiated a dialogue with cross-strait counterparts in a forum Tuesday.

Led by Taipei City Mayor Ma Ying-jeou, the Northern Taiwan Development Commission (NTDC) held two panel discussions on metropolis integration with representatives from the Chinese cities of Shanghai, Nanking and Suzou.

The NTDC was initiated by Taipei City in 1998, established in 2004 and consists of Taipei City, Taipei County, Keelung City, Taoyuan County, Hsinchu County, Hsinchu City, Miaoli County and Yilan County.

"Facing the competition of globalization, no city can afford to think about itself only. Only an integrated metropolitan economy will be able to embrace the challenges of the future," Ma said.

The discussions reviewed cases surrounding the integration of China's Yangtze River Delta, which comprises 16 cities, and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) in the U.S. state of California.

The Yangtze River Delta integration began in 1996 with 15 cities and later expanded to 16, said Lin Xiang, director of Shanghai's Office for Cooperation and Exchange Affairs.

After 10 years of hard work, the region -- which takes up one percent of China's territory and six percent of its population -- now accounts for a quarter of annual national revenues and is one of China's fastest growing regions, Lin added.

The NTDC hopes for similar results through regional collaboration and believes Northern Taiwan is capable of achieving that goal.

Northern Taiwan has become the most important region in the nation, Ma said, noting it boasts global marketshares of more than 70 percent of laptop computers and more than 30 percent of liquid crystal display (LCD) panels.


Taipei, Nov. 28 (CNA) The annual Information Technology Month (IT Month) will be in Taipei Dec. 2-10 on the first of four stops around Taiwan, organizers said Monday.

Cheap computers and accessories probably come to mind when average consumers think about IT Month -- one of Taiwan's largest IT-related events -- but there's more to it than that this year, organizers said.

In addition to computers and electronic gadgets, the event will focus on the theme of "Embrace the digital life," displaying all the latest technology and hardware that will shape the future "digital home," and held in Exhibition Hall I and III of the Taipei World Trade Center.

The month-long fair, which last year registered more than 720,000 visitors in Taipei alone, will then go south for shows in Taichung Dec. 15-20, Tainan Dec. 28-Jan. 2 and Kaohsiung Jan. 11-16, 2007.

Various technologies, such as 64-bit dual core computing and global positioning system (GPS) applications -- as well as the latest mobile phones and mobile computer trends -- will be showcased in a Digital Life theme pavilion to give a glimpse of what the future digital home will be like.

While away from home, people will be able to monitor almost every piece of household electronic equipment with mobile phones and enjoy a home multimedia center featuring high-definition audio and video, organizers said in the preview of the fair.

A new type of "mobile computer," which is similiar to the combination of a Personal Data Assistant (PDA) and a laptop computer, is also expected to be one of the future "killer applications," organizers said.

IT Month was organized by the IT Month Event Committee, which consists of computer associations throughout Taiwan.


Taipei, Nov. 27 (CNA) An exhibition that is part of the upcoming Information Technology Month (IT month) will showcase Taiwan's achievements in an e-Government campaign, organizers said Monday.

In addition to hundreds of IT company booths, a special exhibition area will also feature the work of more than ten government agencies, as part of the e-Government campaign initiated ten years ago by the Executive Yuan's Research, Development, and Evaluation Commission.

In global rankings, Taiwan has been doing quite well in the past three years. In a global e-Government performance survey conducted on 198 countries by Brown University in the United States, Taiwan ranked No.1, No.1 and No.2 respectively in 2004-2006.

Participating government agencies include the Ministry of Economic Affair's Bureau of Foreign Trade, Small and Medium Enterprise Administration, Industrial Development Bureau, Council of Cultural Affairs, National Science and Technology Program of e-Learning, and the National Palace Museum, among others.

Taiwan's government established a unified Web site in 2001 to provide the public with links to all government Web sites, allow rapid searches for all information on government agency Web pages and allow the public to communicate their opinions to the government via the Internet.

Also, the government directed all agencies to actively promote online public services to cover their areas of authority.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Taipei, Nov. 25 (CNA) Taiwan should empower its people with more international knowledge so that they can be more "outward looking" instead of "inward looking, " a professor said Saturday in a seminar.

"There is more in this world than the Taiwan Strait and the relations among Taiwan, China and the U.S., " said Chang Hsi-mo, a professor at National Sun Yet-sen University, in a seminar focusing on the topic of international terrorism.

The seminar was a part of the launching ceremony for Chang's new book, titled "The Global War on Terrorism."

"Few people in Taiwan care about the global war on terrorism, " Chang lamented, adding that this is just another example of the fact that Taiwan people are indifferent to global affairs.

"The more we understand the world, the better we can see where we are at and where we are going," he added.

Chang further said that people in Taiwan should not only reach out to the world more, they should also pay attention to the way they see the world.

"Most of the times, we have too many opinions and not enough facts in Taiwan. People rush to make judgement instead of contemplating the subtler issues behind news events, " Chang said.

"For example, how do we define an 'extremist'? How do we define a 'terrorist'? Are all Muslims extremists and terrorists? Obviously not. But you seldom read insightful reports in newspapers in Taiwan on such topics," he said.

"Too many times, Taiwan people take a judgement as a reality, " Chang said.


Taipei, Nov. 25 (CNA) While international terrorism is not an issue on the minds of most of Taiwan's people, Taiwan can play an important role in the "global war on terrorism, " an official said Saturday.

"Taiwan should never underestimate itself, because it can play an important role in the global war on terror, " said Kuo Lin-wu, director of Executive Yuan's Counter Terrorism Office, in a seminar on international terrorism.

Taiwan has thousands of active and competitive small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) , Kuo said. This fact, coupled with the country's top machinery manufacturing and regional distribution capabilities in the Asia Pacific region, means that Taiwan could easily be exploited by terrorists, he said.

This is why Taiwan can play a big part in the war on terrorism and in preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, he noted.

And Taiwan should find its place in the global campaign because, contrary to what most Taiwan people think, Taiwan's national security is already threatened by international terrorism, which is spreading through the "globalized network, " Kuo added.

At the same time, Taiwan can learn a lot from taking part in the anti-terrorism campaign. As countries all over the world strengthen their crisis management mechanisms, Taiwan will be able to learn from others' experiences, Kuo said.

Taiwan can even explore new business opportunities in the anti-terrorism process, he said.

"Taiwan will have opportunities to leverage its technology competitiveness and get involved in various homeland security-related industries, " Kuo said.

Friday, November 24, 2006


Taipei, Nov. 24 (CNA) Taiwan businesses can be successful in Central Asian countries such as Kazakhstan if they conduct in-depth market analysis and manage to find niche markets in the region, academics said at an international forum Friday.

With Taiwan's expertise in agricultural technology and competitiveness in the food-processing industry, businesses in these sectors should seriously consider investing in Central Asia, said Nuraniye Ekram, a researcher at the Turkey National Security and Strategic Institute, Pacific Asia Laboratory.

Ekram made the suggestion in her comments on a thesis by Sophie Huang, titled "Analysis on Kazakhstan food processing industry 2000-2003," at the annual Taiwan-Central Asia Forum, which was held in Chungli, Taoyuan County.

After breaking away from the former Soviet Union in 1991, the average annual salary of Kazakhs has been increasing because of an open economy. And Kazakhs spend more than half of their salaries on food expenses, Huang wrote in the thesis.

However, 80 percent of daily commodities in Kazakhstan still rely on imported products, which makes the food-processing industry a niche market for foreign countries, Huang wrote.

But Taiwan businesses should take note of a couple of things before rushing into Central Asia, Ekrams warned.

They will have to face the first challenge in language. In Kazakhstan, most people communicate with Russian, not English, she said.

Secondly, foreign businesses should understand the eating habits of Muslims, a religion shared by up to 70 percent of the population in Central Asia.

Taiwan businesses are also advised to make an in-depth analysis of Central Asian markets before making investments, as local markets for processed food in Central Asia have been dominated by countries such as the U.S., Turkey and China, Huang said.

If Taiwan businesses manage to meet these challenges, they are looking at a potential market of 56 million people, Ekram said.


Taipei, Nov. 23 (CNA) Taiwan should pay more attention to Central Asia, a region with great business potential and a massive political impact, academics said in a two-day international forum Thursday.

With a population of 56 million and an open economic system since breaking away from the former Soviet Union in 1991, Central Asia is looking at an output value of US$10 trillion in the next 10 years, forum President Fu Jen-kun said at the sixth Taiwan-Central Asia Forum that opened that day at Ching Yun University in Taoyuan County.

Central Asia, which consists of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikstan, is also rich in natural resources such as oil and natural gas -- another reason Taiwan must not ignore the potential in the region, said Fu.

It is probably hard for Taiwan to establish closer political ties with the countries of Central Asia due to the influence of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization -- an intergovernmental

organization founded in 2001 by China and the five Central Asia countries, but Taiwan must find another way to boost relations with the region, such as sharing agriculture experience, technology and expertise, said Taipei Agriculture Product Marketing Company Director Chang Yong-fang.

Taiwan needs to be involved with Central Asia affairs and expand its knowledge of the region if it wants to establish better ties with the region, Fu said.

The two-day forum has gathered government officials, academics and industry leaders from Taiwan and Central Asia.


Taipei, Nov. 23 (CNA) A two-day annual international forum focused on Central Asia issues opened Thursday in Chungli, Taoyuan County, gathering government officials, academics and industry leaders from Taiwan and Central Asian countries.

Central Asia, which today comprises the independent republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan, will be a region of global strategic influence in the future with its rich natural resources, said Fu Jen-kun, president of the sixth Taiwan-Central Asia Forum.

"Taiwan cannot afford to overlook the massive potential of the region, business-wise or politics-wise, although we know too little about it, " said Fu, who also serves as director of the Graduate Institute of Central Asia Studies at Ching Yun University (CYU), the main organizer.

"When we discuss Central Asia, the impact of its neighbors -- Russia and China -- can never be ignored," Fu also noted.

The forum consists of nine panel discussions on an array of topics about Central Asia, especially Kazakhstan.

A total of 29 theses are to be presented at the forum on topics such as the Eastern Turkistan issue, the security challenges of relations between China and Kazakhstan, the situation in the Caspian Sea area, the energy competition of the great powers in Central Asia, and China's maneuvering in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Foreign attendees who shared their views with local academics on the first day included CYU Assistant Professor Erkin Ekrem, Kazakhstan Agriculture Research Center researcher Larissa Geronina, Institute for Comparative Central Asia Studies researcher Nicolay Dombrovsky, Energy Integrated Enterprise General Executive Chary Ernepesov of Turkmenistan and Jenishbek Junushaliev, an academic at the National Kyrgyz Academy of Science.


Taipei, Nov. 22 (CNA) Located in the heart of Taipei City, the long-awaited Huashan Culture Park will begin operations next June, the Council of Cultural Affairs (CCA) announced in a press conference Wednesday.

The culture park, which went through four years of planning and the tenure of three CCA chairmen, includes an experimental film zone, an area to host a variety of creative cultural activities and exhibitions and a building as a "flagship base" for Taiwan's creative industry, said CCA chairman Chiu Kun-liang.

Public expectations are high for the project. Looking back, it's been a long and winding road since 1998, when a group of cultural workers urged the government to turn the old brewery dating back to 1916 into a culture park, Chiu said.

In 2002, the massive property -- located on Zhongxiao East Road, one of Taipei's busiest streets -- was designated as one of Taiwan's five culture parks. However, little progress has been made since then as public debate has heated up on the park's planning.

Starting June 2007, the culture park is expected to be "a showroom" for all kinds of exhibitions and activities and cross-over artforms, and for all ages, Chiu said, adding that the park will benefit creative and cultural industries as well as non-profit organizations.

The park is an ideal place to host cultural and artistic events because of its location and historical setting, said Liu Wei-gong, a Soochow University professor who was responsible for Huashan Culture Park's research plan.

Taiwan's cultural and creative industry has been rich in producing content while lacking an integrated platform and collective efforts. The industry is currently in fierce competition with China, which has been catching up, Chiu said.

"It's time for Taiwan to move forward and speed up," he said. "Hopefully, with the operation of the Huashan Culture Park and similar projects, Taiwan can establish a network for the cultural and creative industry and increase its global competitiveness," said Chiu.


Taipei, Nov. 22 (CNA) Culture parks will increase Taiwan's national competitiveness and take its cultural and creative industries to a higher level, just as the creation of science parks throughout the country did in the 1970s, a sociology professor said Wednesday.

"The impact and influence of science parks was one of the most important driving forces behind Taiwan's 'economical miracle' in the 1970s. And that is what culture parks can do for Taiwan," said Liu Wei-gong, a professor at Soochow University, at a press conference that announced Huashan Culture Park (HCP) will begin operation next June.

The cultural and creative industry, one of the most important sectors in a knowledge-based economy, will be Taiwan's pilot industry in the future, given the country's wealth in creative content production, Liu said.

As a strategic alliance -- also called cross-field "mesh up" and considered one of the industry's most important characteristics -- the HCP's departments are not categorized by sector but by type of product, Liu said.

The park's six departments include image development, entertainment development, exhibition and sales development, marketplace development, performance development and cultural/creative education development.

Liu believes Taiwan has the potential to become the leader among Asian nations in terms of cultural and creative industries -- with collective and concentrated efforts.

"Taiwan has long been known for its creative ideas and content. In recent years, however, it has lacked pragmatic action. And that is what Taiwan needs right now, with this project coming up," Liu said.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Taipei, Nov. 15 (CNA) The United States is still the No.1 destination for Taiwanese students studying abroad, but it is facing an increasing challenge to recruit more Taiwanese students, U.S. officials and a group of Taiwanese professors said Wednesday.

According to Open Door 2006, an annual report on international academic mobility published by the Institute of International Education (IIE), 27,876 Taiwanese students are currently studying in the U.S., which is the highest number in four years and an eight percent increase from the previous year.

Although the U.S. education system is widely considered the best in the world, many countries such as Australia and the U.K. are challenging the U.S. in the "international students market, " noted Leung Yanwing, deputy director of the Center for International Academic Exchanges, National Taiwan University (NTU) in a digital videoconference organized by the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT).

Officials from the U.S. State Department in Washington D.C. and university representatives in Boston and Taipei all discussed by videoconference the challenges of international exchanges in Taiwan.

"Taiwanese students are looking for a more diversified exchange program," Leung said, adding that today's students are more affluent than in the past and thus have more options available to them.

And many more students are choosing local graduate programs -- which have been rapidly increasing in number in recent years -- for the cheaper tuition, said Leung. In addition, it usually takes only one year in the U.K. to receive a master's degree.

"These factors probably explain why we have seen less NTU graduates pursuing master's degrees in the U.S.," Leung said.

However, the U.S. is still confident that the quality of its education and support system will win out because Taiwan is currently the sixth largest group among foreign students, said IIE deputy executive director Jack Bailey.

Dorothy Mora, senior program officer of the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, admitted that the U.S. is facing tougher challenges from other countries but noted it is "more of a global trend" in diversification.

A common misconception, she claimed, was that the U.S. has been rejecting more student visa applications after the 911 terrorist incident in 2001. In fact, the U.S. "market share" of international students, which was as high as 37 percent in 1995, has been consistently decreasing in the last decade, she said.


Taipei, Nov. 14 (CNA) Organizers and government officials officially launched Tuesday in Taipei the final 10-day countdown to the 2006 Taipei TV and Film Festival (TTF) , the largest TV and film festival in Asia.

The annual festival, which will be held Nov. 23-25, includes three major events -- the Taipei International TV, Film and Digital Contents Exhibition (TFCOM) , the Taipei International Digital TV, Broadcasting and Film Forum and the Taiwan Film and TV Project Promotion.

"In only its third year, the festival has surpassed three major TV festivals in China and established a leading position in Asia, " said Lai Kuo-chou, chairman and CEO of Taiwan Television Enterprise (TTV), the main organizer.

There will be more than 650 booths set up by 75 companies from 10 countries at the TFCOM, which will be held Nov. 23-25 at the Taipei World Trade Center, Lai said. The trade show includes an export-oriented B2B area and a premiere domestic show (B2C area).

The B2B area presents prospect-packed categories such as TV, film and digital content licensing, audiovisual products, publications, animation, post production and other A/V related equipment. Leading foreign companies such as FUJI, NHK, KBS, National Geographic and Discovery will participate in the show, as well as local companies such as TVBS, SETN and CTS.

Licensing deals signed this year are expected to surpass NT$157.5 million (US$4.5 million) , up from last year's US$3.5 million, according to Government Information Office (GIO) Minister Cheng Wen-tsang.

The International Digital TV, Broadcasting and Film Forum will take place Nov. 23, gathering together industry leaders, experts, researchers and government officials to share their creative ideas.

The international Film and TV Project Promotion, which encourages creative projects from all over the world, will be held Nov. 24-25. The winner of the best project will be awarded an NT$1 million incentive payment.

The festival has been integrated by the GIO with the Golden Horse Awards and the Golden Bell Awards, into the Taiwan International Film and TV Expo, which runs Nov. 8-25.


Taipei, Nov. 14 (CNA) Post-disaster recovery has been a learning process for every country, so sharing experience in emergency preparedness is key, international experts said Tuesday in a workshop.

Countries throughout the world have made mitigation of natural disasters and maintaining social stability a top priority after a series of natural disasters in recent years, said Vice Premier Tsai Ing-wen at the opening ceremony of the International Workshop on Disaster Recovery and Rescue.

Taiwan has a lot to share -- as well as learn from the experience of other countries -- after its own experience of the 921 Chi-chi earthquake in 1999, when it began the process of building its own process for post-disaster recovery from scratch, Tsai added.

Experts from eight countries -- including Finland, France, Japan, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Italy, the U.S. and Taiwan -- will discuss post-disaster recovery experiences for several events -- the South Asia tsunami in 2004, Hurricane Katrina in the U.S. in 2005 and earthquakes in Taiwan, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Niigata-Chuetsu, Japan.

In a speech, former education minister Huang Jung-tsun, who now serves as president of China Medical University, made several observations concerning the post-921 earthquake recovery process.

After the disaster occurred, the government and disaster relief agency had to learn to make snap decisions in a situation of uncertainty, Huang said. Taiwan has learned other valuable lessons along the way.

Looking back, he said, a special budget with an emphasis on housing and better management of donations were needed. Also, policy should be improved for more effective emergency response efforts, he said.

Governments should also pay attention to post-disaster psychosocial assistance and services, said Veli-Pekka Ihamaki, who works for the Department for Rescue Services in Espoo District, Finland. Ihamaki added that today, new forms of media -- such as blogs, Web sites, online discussion forums, email, SMS texting -- should be integrated in the rescue and recovery system.

The two-day international workshop was co-organized by the National Disaster Prevention and Protection Commission and the National Rescue Command Center.

The philanthropic Tsu Chi Foundation, which has devoted itself to carrying out many rescue and recovery efforts after the 921 earthquake and South Asia tsunami, will also share its experience with global experts at the workshop.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Taipei, Nov. 13 (CNA) School is the best place to teach children the importance of healthy lifestyle habits, making the idea of "health-promoting schools" (HPS) a global trend right now, a group of health experts said Monday.

Health promotion at school is one of the most effective ways for children to learn about making the right choices, said Carmen Aldinger, project director of Health and Human Development Global Programs at the U.S. Education Development Center, during the opening ceremony of the first Asia-Pacific International Conference on HPS.

The concept of promoting public health has undergone dramatic changes since the World Health Organization's (WHO) declaration in Jakarta, Indonesia in 1997, said Hsiao Mei-ling, director of the Bureau of Health Promotion under the Department of Health (DOH).

The focus shifted from promoting personal health to a "setting approach," such as health-promoting activities in schools, offices and communities, Hsiao said.

Taiwan is doing well in this regard, she said, as the Ministry of Education began to push for the HPS program in 2001 and later began cooperating with the DOH. The number of health-promoting schools in Taiwan went from 48 in 2004 to 318 in 2005, then 516 in 2006.

The HPS program seeks to establish a network to share health education resources on issues such as school health policy, health services, personal health skills, the campus physical environment and building community relationships.

The conference is being held in Taipei Nov. 13- 16 with the objectives of presenting results from implementing the HPS model in Taiwan and sharing and exchanging experiences on developing HPS.

Local experts have been invited to participate in the 4-day symposium, as well as experts from the U.S., Japan, Australia and Singapore.


Taipei, Nov. 13 (CNA) To promote international education and exchanges, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) is hosting an International Education Week Nov. 13-17 involving current U.S. Fulbright scholars and recent graduates of U.S. universities.

"AIT and EducationUSA Taiwan team are celebrating International Education Week with activities across Taiwan. Taiwan students clearly appreciate the importance of U.S. education to their careers," said AIT American Cultural Center director Nicholas Papp.

The number of Taiwanese students studying in the U.S. has increased in recent years after a down period in 2001. According to Ministry of Education statistics, 15,525 Taiwanese students received U.S. student visas in 2005 -- the highest number since 2000, and a 36 percent increase from the previous year.

Highlights of the event include a videoconference featuring Taiwan's deputy minister of Education Lu Mu-ling and U.S. Department of State Academic Specialist for East Asia Dorothy Mora, and student-centered programs focused on studying abroad in the U.S., said Papp.

In 2004-2005, Taiwan ranked sixth in the number of foreign students studying in the U.S., behind India, China, Japan, South Korea and Canada, statistics from the American International Education Foundation showed.


Taipei, Nov. 11 (CNA) More than 50 foreigners currently studying Chinese in Taipei related stories about their life and experiences in Taiwan in a Mandarin speech contest that took place Saturday.

Twenty-nine South Koreans dominated the field of the annual speech contest for foreigners organized by a local Rotary Club, in which all contestants deliver a five-minute speech on a wide choice of topics, in either Mandarin or Taiwanese.

Most participants chose to speak about why they wanted to learn Chinese in Taiwan over other topics, such as the beautiful and ugly side of Taipei or an introduction of their best friends in Taiwan.

Diana Hsu, a second-generation Taiwanese from Los Angeles and one of the few contestants to speak in Taiwanese instead of Mandarin, said she had decided to study Chinese while in Spain.

"There was no one [in Spain] who thought I was an American because I looked so Asian," she said, adding that it was then that she knew it was time to "trace her roots."

"I came to Taiwan with the hope of becoming a Chinese translator back home someday," said Junawan Then, an Indonesian contestant.

"The friendliness and passion of Taiwanese people really helped me a lot in adjusting to a new environment and language," said Ignatius Edhi Khar, who is also from Indonesia.

Jovanovie Wiwana, who formerly worked for the Slovenian Embassy in China, said she enjoyed life and Chinese classes in Taiwan more, and would like to see more exchanges between Taiwan and her native Slovenia.

For those who have been in Taiwan for some time, they were able to do more than speak Chinese.

Kanaya Hiroshi, a Japanese who has lived in Taiwan more than three years, said he had learned from one of his Taiwanese classmates a deep appreciation for "Taike culture," -- a term usually used to describe the profound spirit and culture of Taiwan.

Participants from other countries included the United States, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Australia, Germany and Russia.

Friday, November 10, 2006


Taipei, Nov. 9 (CNA) The U.S. state of Louisiana has enjoyed friendship with Taiwan for almost 20 years, but bilateral ties could be strengthened with more business partnerships, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco said Thursday in Taipei.

"We're here to build friendships and partnerships, " Blanco said in an investment opportunity seminar that was a major part of her Nov. 7- 9 visit.

Blanco, who is leading a 10-member delegation, encouraged Taiwanese businessmen attending the seminar to invest in the "Gulf Opportunity Zone" (GO Zone) -- the area that was hard-hit by hurricanes Katrina and Rita and is now the target of a major rebuilding effort.

Louisiana established a trade office in Taiwan in 1989 and has attracted many Taiwanese investors since then, including Formosa Plastics Corporation.

Blanco expressed her gratitude toward the "outpouring of help" from Taiwan, referring to a US$2 million donation, as well as medical and school supplies, donated to Louisiana in the wake of the hurricanes.

Louisiana is in the midst of the largest recovery in the U.S. history, with an estimated US$50 billion to be invested there, Blanco told about 100 businessmen who attended the seminar.

With GO Zone offering federal and state tax incentives and help from state and local governments, the investment opportunities for Taiwan businesses are "unprecedented, " she said.

The state also plans to expand academic exchanges with Taiwan to make Louisiana the destination for more Taiwanese students wishing to study abroad, she added.

Taiwan is the last stop of a two-week economic mission to Asia, during which Blanco has also visited Japan, China and Hong Kong.


Taipei, Nov. 9 (CNA) The St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, regarded as one of the best in the world, will stage two concerts in Taiwan Nov. 10 and Nov. 11, organizers said Thursday.

The Russian orchestra, led by conductor Yuri Temirkanov and consisting of 120 musicians, will perform at the National Concert Hall on its fourth visit to Taiwan.

All proceeds of the Nov. 10 concert will be donated to the Sacred Heart Home, an institution located in Chiayi County dedicated to caring for people who are severely mentally or physically challenged.

The concerts are being sponsored by the Wan Hai Charity Foundation and the Powerchip Semiconductor Corp. Cultural Foundation.


Taipei, Nov. 8 (CNA) Participants from 15 countries and regions walked away from an international meeting in Taipei Wednesday confident of establishing a global e-commerce trustmark alliance in the future.

The initiative that seeks to establish a global online consumer protection network -- "Trustmark Alliance" (TA) -- gathered 30 self-regulatory organizations in the one-day meeting, which was co-sponsored by Asia Trustmark Alliance (ATA) and Taiwan-based Secure Online Shopping Association (SOSA).

To win the confidence of online consumers, the meeting concluded that merchants and organizations need to establish a trustmark or label, an alternative dispute resolution, a privacy protection mechanism and an international collaboration to ensure cross-border online transaction safety.

Governments and law-enforcement agencies should also play important roles in resolving online transaction disputes, meeting participants said.

Participating organizations came from Asia, Europe and America. Among them were BBB Online from the U.S., ECNetwork from Japan, the Korea Institute for Electronic Commerce, TrustSG from Singapore, Certifida from Switzerland, and representatives from Thailand, Germany, and the European Commission.


Taipei, Nov. 8 (CNA) A British railway expert advised Taiwan to step up investment in the railway industry and regain public confidence for the most environmentally friendly form of travel.

"It's good for the people of Taiwan, the economy, and the environment -- the three pillars of railway development," said Len Porter, chief executive of Rail Safety and Standards Board Limited (RSSB), in an interview Wednesday with the CNA. The interview was held on the eve of a seminar entitled "Managing the Safety of Railway Assets and People," to be held Nov. 9 in Taipei.

Overall, the railways are far more environmentally friendly than any other form of transport except for bicycles, Porter said, adding that Taiwan's government should invest more in railway development at this key juncture -- when environmental and energy issues have become the focus of global concern.

Taiwan should be devoting itself to engaging in more railway activities such as establishing railway lines for mass-rapid transportation (MRT) in Taipei, Kaohsiung and Taichung, and a high-speed railway, said Jeremy Candfield, director-general of the U.K. Railway Industry Association.

In fact, increased railway investment was a key factor that helped London win the bid to host the 2012 Olympics, Candfield noted.

The British railway industry, like Taiwan's, had also taken "hits" in the mid 1990s, experiencing a stable decline in the number of railway passengers, he said.

The industry embarked upon a major restructuring plan after a major railway accident in 1999, when the RSSB was established, Porter said.

The industry body spent a lot of time identifying the principle risks in the infrastructure, Porter said, and tried to reduce those risks by improving maintenance, sorting out responsibility and accountability, producing and providing as much information as possible to regain the confidence of British citizens.

The efforts have paid dividends, he said; in three of the last five years there has been no single passenger killed or injured in the U.K.

"You can never say there is no risk [in railway transportation]. And you can never say a railway is totally safe," Porter said.

However, by reducing risks in the network, railway transportation can still become an important part of everyone's daily life -- even in Taiwan, he said.


Taipei, Nov. 7 (CNA) Riding on the success of previous efforts, Taiwan will once again leverage its advantage in information and communication (ICT) technology at the upcoming informal leadership meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, a government official said Tuesday.

Taiwan will submit an initiative titled the "2006 APEC Cultural Digital Archive Sharing Program" at the summit, which will be held in Hanoi from Nov. 18-19, said John Chen, director- general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Department of International Organizations.

The objective of the initiative is to help APEC members preserve their cultural assets with Taiwan's advantage in the ICT sector and experience in cultural assets preservation, Chen said.

The campaign is the third consecutive initiative Taiwan will have submitted at an APEC summit, following the "APEC Digital Opportunity Center (ADOC) " in 2003 and the "ADOC plus OVOP (One Village, One Product)" in 2005.

The technology-based initiatives make President Chen Shui-bian's appointment of Morris Chang, chairman of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), as Taiwan's APEC representative very reasonable and appropriate, he noted.

To some extent, Taiwan has changed its strategy on its APEC participation after clashing with China on different occasions over the years, Chen said.

APEC was established as an organization that focuses on economy and technology issues, although it has expanded to include other discussions. Taiwan has been concentrated on the economy and technology issues, trying to facilitate regional cooperation and assist other members of the international community, he said.

Since 2003, six ADOC offices have been set up in APEC countries such as Chile, Vietnam, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, with help from Taiwan. The OVOP initiative last year also won praise from APEC members.

"Taiwan has been trying to help its international friends to cross the digital divide into digital opportunities. We believe this is another way to win support and friendship, " Chen said.


Taipei, Nov. 7 (CNA) For the first time, an international forum on e-commerce will be held in Taipei that will have a stake in determining the future direction of global e-commerce develepment, organizers said Tuesday.

The Global Business Dialogue on e-commerce (GBDe) will be a two-day forum Nov. 9-10 and attended by over 200 e-commerce business leaders, company representatives and government officials from around the world.

"The new age of global e-commerce has arrived and e-commerce will be integrated very soon into our daily activities. And if Taiwan works hard enough in the field, it will be able to play an important role in Asian and global e-commerce, " said GDBe overall chair Ho Chen-tan, who serves as president and CEO of Chunghwa Telecom, the event's main organizer.

Topics to be discussed include the rise of ubiquitous network security, cyber-security threats and countermeasures, the impact of next generation networks, creating a cross-border market, winning the confidence of consumers and the rise of mega media digital content.

Chunghwa Telecom, a key member in the GBDe working group on international micro-payment, demonstrated how it has successfully worked with partners in China and South Korea to develop a cross-border platform and micro-payment measures allowing users to view and download digital content, such as movies, music and animation.

"With secured online verification, consumers can access the payment system by mobile phones, fixed line phones or the Internet, " Ho said.

Technological development and global integration and cooperation will one day make e-commerce truly borderless, Ho said, adding that the mechanism of micro-payment will benefit non-credit card holders such as teenagers.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Taipei, Nov. 6 (CNA) Vice President Annette Lu urged overseas Taiwanese Monday to stand strong against China's united front tactics and to "keep the faith" regarding Taiwan's future.

China has disguised itself as a "peacefully rising" country and implemented numerous strategies to handle the cross-Strait issue, Lu said during an address at the annual meeting of the Overseas Compatriot Affairs Commission (OCAC).

Since the passage of an "anti-secession law" and rapid economic growth, China has been utilizing multi-faceted "united front" tactics in economic, cultural and religious exchanges to try to pursuade the people of Taiwan that China no longer poses a threat, she said.

But it neither stops repressing Taiwan in the international community nor building up its military capability, she added.

Fortunately, Taiwan has never lost its competitive edge. In recent years, it consistently ranks higher than China, Japan, South Korea and other Asian countries in most global competitiveness surveys.

Overseas Taiwanese play an important role in Taiwan's development, Lu stressed, adding that she hoped compatriots overseas can work together with the government and people of Taiwan to meet any challenges ahead.


Taipei, Nov. 6 (CNA) Almost two-thirds of Taiwanese teenagers said they wanted to learn more about money management, but they are not provided with such instruction in schools, a survey found.

While 64 percent of Taiwan's teens said they want to learn more about how to manage money, only three percent have received help from school teachers and professors, according to the result of a "Teens and Money" survey conducted by Citigroup.

The results, combined with a deteriorating credit crisis common among students, showed that an educational program in financial literacy is much needed, said Joyce Fang, a National Taiwan University professor.

Schools are not alone in this respect, as government agencies and banks have joined the collective effort. A three-year financial literacy campaign has been launched by the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC), said Gary Tseng, director general of the Banking Bureau.

Citigroup has also earmarked US$2 million for a worldwide financial literacy program, said Dara Duguay, director of Citigroup's Office of Financial Education.

"Teenagers are taught to make money, and they are pretty good at spending money -- obviously. However, no one is teaching them how to manage money," said Duguay.

The survey, which aimed to analyze the attitudes of Asian teenagers and young adults on money matters and personal finance, was conducted in Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea, based on responses of 900 respondents aged between 15 to 18.

Teenagers in Taiwan receive the second highest weekly allowance, -- behind Hong Kong -- and 64 percent rely on their parents as the only source of money, the survey found.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


Taipei, Nov. 4 (CNA) The ongoing 2006 Taipei International Travel Fair has provided representatives of foreign countries, such as Austria and India, with yet another opportunity to attract Taiwanese tourists to their countries.

Over the last three years, the number of Taiwanese tourists visiting Austria per year has doubled, from 30,000 in 2003 to roughly 60,000 in 2006, said Wolfram Moritz, Austrian trade delegate in Taiwan.

"Hopefully we can make it 100,000 per year very soon, " he said.

Travel trends in Taiwan have been changing, Moritz said, noting that fewer Taiwanese tourists visit Europe on multi-country package tours. "Tourists prefer one-stop travel so they can spend less time on transportation and more time on exploring the destination. According to our statistics, the average stay of Taiwanese tourists in Austria is now ten days."

The Austria Trade Delegation has tried to take advantage of the trend by promoting outdoor activities and special events this year, such as festivals celebrating the Austrian classical composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's 250th birth anniversary, to attract more Taiwanese tourists, Moritz said.

Like Austria, Hong Kong has been going all out with its "2006 Discover Hong Kong Year" promotion campaign, but it has set a more conservative goal in terms of attracting Taiwanese tourists.

"The Hong Kong-Taiwan tourism market is a mature market as more than two million Taiwanese visited Hong Kong last year. It is hard to envision an explosive growth, " said Vivian Chan, senior marketing communications executive of the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

However, the number of Taiwanese visitors to Hong Kong for the first three quarters of 2006 still showed growth of 3 percent over the level for the same period a year earlier, she said.

"It's already a good result for a market like this, " she said.

India has also emerged as a popular destination for Taiwanese tourists, with the number of Taiwanese visiting India increasing 70 percent in the past year, said G. Venkataraman, East Asia regional director of Indiatourism.

With the increased bilateral exchanges between Taiwan and India and better infrastructure and travel arrangements in India, Ventakaraman said he believes more Taiwanese tourists will visit India in the future.

Friday, November 03, 2006


Taipei, Nov. 3 (CNA) Taipei has been ranked as the fourth most livable Asian city out of eight contestants in a survey conducted among European Chambers around the Asia-Pacific region,the European Chamber of Commerce in Taipei (ECCT) announced Friday.

Kuala Lumpur came in as the best place to live with the highest overall quality of life, followed by Hong Kong and Manila, the survey conducted by ECCT over the course of the summer found after collecting 585 member replies from seven European Chambers in the region.

Shanghai/Beijing, Ho Chi Minh/Hanoi, Jakarta and Seoul rounded out the fifth to eighth spot, said Mike Jewell, senior director of Research Department, TNS -- a marketing research firm.

The survey asked respondents to rate the city they currently reside, on a one to five scale, in 53 individual aspects, such as personal safety, the range and quality of housing, emergency service and the quality of banking and air.

Thirty-six percent of ECCT members described living in Taipei as "excellent" or "very good", while Kuala Lumpur emerged on top at 68 percent.

While Taipei was ranked above average in most catogories, among them the educational facility and the availability and quality of internet services, its air quality surprisingly ranked the best among eight Asian cities.

However, Taipei scored below average in catogories such as the overall quality of medical services, housing and banking services.

Several cities, including Singapore, were not included in the survey due to insufficient samples.


Taipei, Nov. 3 (CNA) The government, media and people of Taiwan should be more active in participation in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum at all levels, professors said in a seminar focused on Taiwan's APEC participation Friday.

Taiwan should maximize its expertise in fields such as public health safety and information and communication technology (ICT) to make it an agenda-setter in APEC, Lin Cheng-yi, a professor at National Chengchi University, said two weeks before the annual APEC Summit, which will be held in Vietnam from Nov. 12- 20.

Local government involvement in APEC activities can also increased, said Wu Fu-sheng, deputy director of the Department of International Affairs of the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research.

Russia, which will host the APEC summit in 2012, is a good example for Taiwan, Wu said. Russia has been inviting local government officials to its APEC delegations since 1998, he noted.

Taiwan's media and the general public should also pay attention to more than just the special envoy appointed by the president because "APEC meetings means more than that to Taiwan, " Lin said.

"Most people don't realize that APEC is the only international organization in which Taiwan has full membership, " he claimed.

"In fact, APEC is the only multilateral platform for Taiwan in the international community, " said Michael Hsiao, executive director of Academia Sinica's Center for Asia-Pacific Studies.

Taiwan's APEC participation should "emphasize the essence instead of the appearance, " Hsiao said.


Taipei, Nov. 2 (CNA) A record-breaking number of exhibitors from 58 countries and an estimated 160,000 visitors will be attending the largest travel fair in Southeast Asia, as the Taipei International Travel Fair (ITF) marches into its 20th year.

More than 1,150 exhibition booths -- a 40 percent increase over last year -- have been set up for the annual Taipei ITF, which will be held Nov. 3- 6 at the Taipei World Trade Center Hall I.

National and local tourism bureaus, travel agencies, hotels and resorts, theme parks, private tourism enterprises and tourism-related organizations from 60 countries, including first-time participants from Iran, Kenya, Sweden and Tunisia, have registered to take part in the event.

China is the country with the most exhibitors, occupying 200 booths; second is Japan with 69 booths; Malaysia ranks third with 20 booths; followed by Korea (13), Hong Kong (12), Macau (11), Australia (10), Thailand (8) and Singapore (8).

The number of local exhibitors also showed a 78-percent increase over last year, suggesting the tourism market's potential in Taiwan has risen again as Taiwan's economy recovers, said Stanley Yen, chairman of the Taipei ITF Organizing Committee.

The event also pays attention to the rising market for "accessible tourism," also known as wheelchair travel or disability travel, in one of its themed pavilions, Yen said.

The Taipei ITF has been witnessing Taiwan's development since 1987, when the first ITF was held, as Taiwan went from an inbound market to an outbound market in tourism, Yen said.

There were only 800,000 outbound travelers and 1.6 million visitors to Taiwan in 1987. In 2005, Taiwan had 8.2 million outbound travelers and 3.38 million visitors, Yen pointed out.

For the first time, organizers have selected 15 citizen journalists to cover the 4-day event in weblogs to encourage civil journalism and tourism literature.


Taipei, Nov. 2 (CNA) Museums should reposition themselves to keep up with the changing times and play new roles in society, participants in an international conference on museum management agreed Thursday.

"Unless museums can keep pace with socio-political change, they will never fulfill their potential, " said David Fleming, president of the International Committee of Management (INTERCOM) of the International Council of Museums, on the first of the three-day INTERCOM annual meeting.

"Museums in Taiwan have taken the first step in repositioning and branding themselves, " said Chiu Kun-liang, chairman of the Council of Cultural Affairs (CCA) , in his opening remarks at the conference that gathered over 250 museum managers from 16 countries.

Museums are no longer places to display tangible and intangible cultural assets only, but should be seen as social enterprises whose social value is pre-eminent, according to Fleming.

The National Palace Museum (NPM) , Taiwan's most prestigious museum, has been trying to do just that, said NPM Director Lin Mun-lee.

"Conventional museums no longer satisfy people's needs and museums in Taiwan, including the NPM, have been trying to re-think their roles and futures, " she said.

"A modern museum should be able to create an intimacy to the public with innovative values and a 'serve the people' attitude like the service sector, " she added.

The conference, with the principal theme of the new roles and missions of museums, will conclude Saturday after discussions on various issues such as the new social relevance of museums, different types and roles of museums, and the local, regional and national identities of museums.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Taipei, Nov. 1 (CNA) The Democratic Party will make gains in the upcoming mid-term elections in the United States, the only question is to what extent, an American scholar predicted Wednesday via videoconference with Taiwanese scholars.

"The Democrats will make a gain. The only problem is how much the magnitude will be, " said Thomas Schaller, a political science professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, in a videoconference organized by the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT).

The 2006 general elections in the U.S. -- also referred to as midterm elections -- will take place Nov. 7. Thirty-three of 100 Senate seats, all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 36 of 50 state governorships are up for election.

With Iraq and the economy the two key issues in the campaign and the low approval ratings of U.S. president George W. Bush, a Republican, the election's outcome should be in favor of the opposing Democratic Party, Schaller said.

The election can be viewed as a referendum on Bush, whose performance rating in the polls has been hanging low at around 30-40 percent because of his questionable handling of Iraq.

The Democrats have a chance to regain control of the House and the Senate for the first time since 1994, he said.

Interestingly, the results of an unofficial poll conducted by the AIT at the videoconference -- which was held in Taipei and Kaohsiung and attended by about 70 Taiwanese professors and graduate students -- showed a different perspective.

The Republican Party garnered over 60 percent of the vote in Taipei and Kaohsiung, the poll found.

The result revealed the conventional thinking in Taiwan -- that the Republican Party is "more supportive of Taiwan in cross-strait relations," said Yu Pen-li, a professor at Tamkang University.

The Taiwanese perspective on U.S. politics has been probably one-sided, Yu said, adding the Taiwanese should learn more about different positions of U.S. political parties on issues such as stem-cell research, same-sex marriage and immigration.