While attending the opening ceremony for the 2017 World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) on the morning of September 11, President Tsai Ing-wen expressed her hope that Taiwan would create even closer cooperative relationships with countries throughout Asia regarding smart applications and digital economies. She also stressed that the government would continue with its efforts to realize the objective of transforming Taiwan into a digital nation and a smart island.
In remarks, President Tsai stated that for a country like Taiwan that's undergoing a digital transformation, it's inspiring to have the WCIT return after a hiatus of 17 years. To make that transformation and become a digital nation, the president said, the Taiwan government has been liberalizing laws and regulations, and promoting industrial innovation programs such as our Asia Silicon Valley program. We also have a Digital Nation and Innovative Economic Development Plan, called DIGI-plus, to upgrade our digital infrastructure, with a special budget to accelerate implementation.
President Tsai expressed confidence that completing these projects will help make government more efficient, upgrade industry, bridge the urban-rural divide, and raise overall quality of life. And she believes that these advances will help Taiwan leave old industrial models behind, and gradually become a benchmark country for digital economy.
The president said that by hosting this year's WCIT, Taiwan is sending two messages to the world. First, Taiwan is now moving from contract hardware manufacturing into innovative smart applications. Taiwan welcomes outstanding personnel and enterprises involved in the Internet of Things (IoT), Industry 4.0, and Artificial Intelligence to connect with our domestic supply chains, and develop innovative digital products and application services. Second, the Taiwan government will provide sufficient resources so that the younger generation can fulfill their digital dreams. "A key task for my administration is to create an industrial innovation-friendly institutional environment," she stated.
President Tsai pointed out that Taiwan is determined to embrace the digital age, so government agencies under our Executive Yuan have done everything possible to prepare for this conference. She added that they will actively participate in the meetings to come, so that the participants' experiences and perspectives will serve as a policy-driven reference for the government. The president mentioned that the WCIT will be held in Asia for the next five years, and that Taiwan is the first stop. We expect that this conference will be a platform for Taiwan to create cooperative relationships with countries throughout Asia regarding smart applications and digital economies, she said.
The president emphasized that social issues in many Asian countries are quite similar. They include falling birthrates and ageing populations, the transformation of domestic energy industries, and sustainable development. While these issues are a challenge for governments in every country, new information technology can help provide solutions. That means, she said, we can turn these problems into market opportunities. In the process of resolving these problems, we can create new industries and employment opportunities. President Tsai pointed to an example that a few months ago, at an industrial design exhibition, she saw Taiwan's new-generation design for IoT equipment that prevents urinary tract infections in senior citizens. This is one example of how new technology can solve lifestyle problems for the older generation, and enhance the quality of long-term care.
The president believes that humankind has always used technology to solve problems. But this generation has a unique opportunity to use technology to find human-centered solutions for age-old problems. She said that the attending guests gathered together to pool their knowledge and wisdom, and came up with ways to use digital technology to bring dignity to every human life. The president mentioned that the theme of this WCIT is "Taiwan, Living the Digital Dream," a sign that Taiwan is ready to play a prominent role, and willing to work with individuals and enterprises all over the world to realize the digital dream.
In addition to thanking Ms. Yvonne Chiu (邱月香), Chairman of the World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA), for bringing this Congress to Taiwan, President Tsai also extended gratitude to the Taipei City Government and many co-organizers. The WCIT could not have organized such a successful Congress without the support of their collective efforts, she said. The president expressed hope that after the Congress ends, this collective spirit will remain, because national digital transformation can only succeed through the combined efforts of the public and private sectors, and central and local governments.
Also attending the event were Executive Yuan's Minister without Portfolio Wu Tsung-Tsong (吳政忠), Minister of Economic Affairs Jong-Chin Shen (沈榮津), Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), and WITSA Chairman Yvonne Chiu.