Taiwan Biotechnology Industry : To Thrive with Greater
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
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.
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