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Premier vows to turn Taiwan into AI technology leader

2018/01/18 16:11:21

CNA file photo

Taipei, Jan. 18 (CNA) Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德) voiced commitment Thursday to develop Taiwan into an artificial intelligence (AI) innovation center and global technology innovation hub.

Lai made the commitment during a weekly Cabinet meeting after hearing a report from the Office of Science and Technology on a 2018-2021 action plan on the development of the AI industry in Taiwan, according to Cabinet spokesperson Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇).

The plan will require the Executive Yuan to invest around NT$10 billion (US$338.2 million) per year between 2018 and 2021 to develop the AI industry.

Lai said during the meeting that the Cabinet regards turning Taiwan into an AI country as a major administrative objective and put forward the plan in order to strengthen Taiwan's advantage in the AI sector and promote the "five plus two" innovative industries, according to Hsu.

The "five plus two" sectors refer to the Internet of Things, biotechnology, green energy, smart machinery and defense -- plus high-value agriculture and the circular economy.

Noting that Microsoft Corp. announced last week that it will set up an AI development center in Taiwan, Lai said this shows that Taiwan's environment has gained international recognition as being favorable for the development of the AI industry.

The premier vowed to continue to attract international talent and enterprises to Taiwan to turn the country into an AI innovation hub.

Tsai Zse-hong (蔡志宏), executive secretary of the Cabinet's Office of Science and Technology, said the funding for the AI plan will be sourced from the government budget for the general science and technology sector and for the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program.

In terms of AI talent cultivation, the office plans to train 1,000 high-caliber AI research and development professionals during the four-year period, as well as 20,000 IT engineers for AI application during the four-year period, Tsai said.

(By Ku Chuan and Evelyn Kao)