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Taiwan Biotechnology Industry : To Thrive with Greater Human Resources

The Taiwanese biotechnology industry has started off on the right note with the introduction of several innovative biotechnology-related products and is all set to capitalize on this lead. With comprehensive research and development (R&D) structure and an improved environment for developing the biotech industry in place, well-trained human resources are expected to complete the picture and take the industry further.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Competitive Benchmarking of Taiwan Biotechnology Industry, reveals that the industry generated revenue worth $947 million in 2003. This is expected to reach $1.9 billion in 2010.

According to a survey conducted by the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research, Taiwan currently has around 6,100 people involved in biotech R&D. An average of 1,800 students are expected to graduate annually with biotech-related training.

Due to issues such as the demand for technology transfer, there is increased focus on the recruitment of top-level managers and scientists, import of innovative research equipment, and partnerships with biotech-competent countries. However, several concerns including the low salary levels and language barriers need to be taken care of before scouting for talent.

"The government has undertaken a three-pronged strategy for developing the workforce base," says Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Derek Leong. "It includes recruiting trained scientists from abroad, strengthening the education program, and relaxing the immigration policy for post-doctoral students."

Even while hoping to attract foreign talent, the Taiwanese biotechnology industry will be intensely aware of other Asia Pacific countries developing their domestic biotech industries to become regional biotech hubs. The governments of most countries are actively supporting this industry by allotting substantial funds for it.

For instance, the Singapore Government has developed a strategic vision for its promising biotechnology industry. The country has the added benefit of being the regional healthcare hotspot and Taiwan will have to design inventive growth tactics if it is to keep pace with its neighbours.

Although Taiwan's conflicting political interests with China are hindering robust growth in its biotech industry, its ethnic Chinese heritage is a huge advantage. This is because its pharmaceuticals market has always included a strong Chinese medicine segment.

"In fact, many manufacturers of Western pharmaceuticals in Taiwan are also producing Chinese medicinal ingredients and formulations," notes Leong. "Similarly, new biotech start-ups are conducting research on modern medical uses of traditional Chinese herbs and medicines."

With ascension to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2002, Taiwan has gained increased exposure to international practices such as the WTO dispute resolution procedures. Therefore, while biotech companies may face threats from overseas companies, they are also likely to gain greater foreign investment and trade.

"Taiwanese enterprises can collaborate with European and U.S. companies and serve as local partners for clinical trials, technology development, and regional marketing," observes Leong. "Taiwan has a unique lead over other countries, as it can provide partners with access to the regional biodiversity that has relevance in research, diagnostics, and therapeutics."

Competitive Benchmarking of Taiwan Biotechnology Industry, a part of the Life Sciences subscription, provides a comprehensive study of the status of the biotechnology industry in Taiwan. It identifies and discusses major market drivers, challenges, restraints, and emerging technologies; provides detailed market forecasts; and maps the relative competitive positions of countries in this region. Interviews of the analyst and executive summaries are available to the press.

For more details , please send an e-mail to Radhika Menon Theodore - Asia Pacific Corporate Communications at with the following information: Full name, Company Name, Title, Contact Tel Number, Contact Fax Number, E-mail. Upon receipt of the above information, an overview will be e-mailed to you.