Taiwan lags behind in regional technology standard-setting progress

Dec 15, 2003 Ι Industry In-Focus Ι Electronics and Computers Ι By Quincy, CENS
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Seoul, Dec. 15, 2003 (CENS)—Three Asia nations, including mainland China, Japan and South Korea, recently jointly set up the Northeast Asia Economy Promotion Committee to develop digital TV standards, computer operating system (OS) software and third-generation (3G) communication standards.

The committee was set up to integrate the relevant resources in the three nations and jointly develop the said targeted products on the Chinese-character basis for the potential mainland China market.

Industry sources warned, however, that Taiwan is seen to fall behind in the progress of cross-nation technology development and regional technical standard setting in Northeast Asia. In addition, the political factors are deterring the cooperation opportunities between Taiwan and mainland China in technical standard setting.

A senior official of the Science & Technology Policy Institute (STEPI) said that the three-nation economy promotion committee was founded under the initiation of the Daewoo Group of South Korea and tries to conduct regional integration works in digital TV-, 3G- and Linux-technologies.

STEPI was reborn as a member organization of the Korea Council of Economic & Social Research Institutes under the prime minister's office in 1999 with missions of analyzing science and technology activities as well as relevant socioeconomic phenomena to present policies and strategies that can promote the advancement of national science and technology.

A STEPI researcher said that until now the three nations have not achieved any consensus in digital TV and 3G communication standards. Currently, he pointed out, South Korea, Japan and mainland China are actively promoting their own code division multiple access (CDMA) 2000, wideband CDMA (WCDMA), and TD-SCDMA standards, respectively, indicating not-so-good communications among the three parties. "By controlling the supply of key components, however," the researcher predicted, "Taiwan is expected to play a possible mediation role in the standard integration."

A senior official of Korea Institute of Industrial Evaluation and Planning (ITEP) of South Korea claimed that the nation funneled about US$4 billion into industry RD works per year, including one-fourth for basic research and pre-research works in cooperation with many foreign countries such as Israel, Russia, German, Brazil, Australia, the United States and mainland China.

According to the Korean official, the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development (NEDO) of Japan has also been actively dominating many cross-nation development projects of advanced technologies, compared with Taiwan, which has no such a specific unit or institute to be responsible for the control and development of most advanced technologies.

The ITEP official reported that relevant government units of South Korea, mainland China and Japan last month reached an agreement to jointly release the Linux open codes to set up new-standard OS software systems and the three nations' governments would first adopt products developed. In addition, the three nations also planned to jointly set up common standards for digital TVs and 3G communications.

An official of Mitsubishi Research Institute of Japan said that relevant government officials of mainland China, Japan and South Korea had reached an agreement on cooperative development of OS software at the Opening Source Forum held on November 17 in Singapore. For the agreement, Japan has begun developing software and mainland China is ready to introduce the developed new OS software into its government units.
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