[Reportage] High technology at the heart of Taiwan’s showdown with Beijing

The building looks like a spaceship. Here we are at the Industrial Technology Research Institute (Itri) after a security check and a non-contact temperature measurement.

It is here, in Zhudong, in the North-West of the island, that Taiwan’s advanced technologies have hatched and that those of tomorrow are being developed. The panel is wide: recyclable solar panel, clean textile dye obtained from transgenic bacteria, 3D printed bone prostheses, biodegradable plastic obtained from plant waste… Many innovations geared towards ecological transition and the reduction of energy consumption, even if the objective of phasing out nuclear power in 2025, set by President Tsai Ing-wen several years ago, seems difficult to achieve given the energy needs of industry and the delays offshore wind farms due to the pandemic.

Pressure way

In the middle of a room, a computer server is soaking in a transparent and viscous liquid. ” With this equipment we can reduce energy consumption by 40% and the space occupied by a data center by 60% enthused one of the Institute’s 6,000 employees.

Taiwan has long understood that industry was the way to exist 180 km from the People’s Republic of China. But the island relies less on the low-end products that made it famous in the 1980s than on high technologies.

Further south, in the city of Taichung, at the headquarters of the Central Science Park of Taiwan, Maw-Shin Hsu, its director, explains the role of this area which brings together start-ups and technological industries: “ It’s an elite gathering. The method has proven itself in the past: the combination of innovations made possible by Irti and the favorable environment of a science park has led to the emergence of a semi-conductor heavyweight: TSCM (read below) which produced on the island but also abroad and particularly in China.

In Taipei, Catherine YM Hsu, Director General at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, rents to The Marseillaise caution and intelligence Taiwanese business people “who have opened factories in China without transferring manufacturing secrets and thus keep” Control on a strategic sector for the Chinese economy and, beyond that, for the world economy because these electronic components are now essential for our phones, computers, cars…

A means of pressure to engage the balance of power with China on the economic ground failing to make the weight on the military ground.


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