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Increasing the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises

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Taiwan's small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are dynamic, agile and highly innovative, constituting around 99% of the nation's private sector enterprises and providing jobs for approximately 80% of the working population. Within every industry, "hidden champion" companies have always formed the backbone of the nation's economic development and acted as a stabilizing force within society. With SME exports growing by 25% in 2021, they perform a vital role in revitalizing Taiwan's economy and employment market.

The government has consistently supported Taiwan's SMEs, including providing financing assistance, establishing an action plan for accelerated investment by SMEs, guiding the transition to digital and green business models and facilitating the working capital required to revitalize business operations. In response to various trends, including the digital economy, sustainable development, regional revitalization and an altered post-COVID international environment, the government has proposed a new plan to raise the overall competitiveness of SMEs (2022-2026). The initiative will allocate a budget of NT$95 billion (US$3.1 billion) over five years to further strengthen the resilience of Taiwan's economy and create a new generation of internationally competitive SMEs.

Four major strategies

Net zero carbon emissions: Assist SMEs to establish a low-carbon mindset and capabilities, and employ measures such as preferential loans for green and sustainability initiatives to facilitate the transition to low-carbon business models, while simultaneously encouraging green business investment. Goal: Save 175 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of power and generate NT$100 billion (US$3.2 billion) of new private investments.

Digital transition: Assist SMEs to adopt cloud computing tools and strengthen their digital operations and marketing technology; promote data and application sharing to stimulate cooperation among upstream and downstream industry partners. Goal: Facilitate 210,000 discrete cloud computing solutions and 240,000 new trade digital marketing solutions for SMEs.

Value-added innovation: Assist startups to tap into collaboration among industry, academia and research institutes and encourage cooperation between larger enterprises and smaller-sized businesses to shorten the time it takes to bring products to market. Promote the formation of cooperative alliances between SMEs in key industries to boost innovative R&D; provide subsidies and financial support for innovative R&D. Goal: Foster 200 "hidden champions" and facilitate startups in obtaining NT$130 billion (US$4.2 billion) of funding.

Regional co-prosperity: Build urban and rural living spaces with high quality services and beautiful environments to attract young Taiwanese to return to their hometowns and help build thriving local communities. Emphasize narrative themes in marketing strategies and link up local resources to highlight revitalization within cities and rural areas. Goal: Bring benefits to nearly 1,700 retail businesses with regional characteristics and target revenue growth of 8% for these businesses.

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