The continuing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have altered the ways people live and work, and given rise to new experiential services and business models, including in the realm of sports. Although the pandemic interrupted many sports activities, it also increased awareness of personal health management and propelled a growing trend of combining athletics with science and technology.
Taiwan is home to well-developed supply chains for sporting goods and equipment, in addition to multiple original equipment manufacturers for famous international producers of sports technology. Taiwan has furthermore built extensive digital content and ICT infrastructure favorable for developing products and applications that merge sports with technology. The government is thus advancing an action plan (2022-2026) to transform Taiwan's sports through science and technology. Promoting the vision of "Sports Everywhere," the plan will allocate an estimated NT$4.6 billion (US$154.6 million) to upgrade the competitiveness of top athletes, broaden the public's exercise habits, and spur the rise of the domestic sports technology industry.
Four main strategies
■ Strengthen infrastructure: Create environments conducive to cross-industry smart sports and recreation. Build smart sports facilities as demonstration sites that give the public opportunities to experience the technological applications, and encourage new health and exercise habits. These efforts will contribute to a goal of establishing three world-class sports venues to serve as paradigms of incorporating smart technology into athletics.
■ Expand the capabilities of sports science: Take stock of the companies, academic groups and research institutions conducting sports science research, connect the results of such research with industries, and assess the potential for patents. Promote industries that merge sports with science and technology by steering technological development toward market opportunities. Transform and upgrade the sports industry by employing the research and development capabilities of the academic sector. The goal is to link business investments to the research and development of technology products, and drive industry development.
■ Promote data governance: Launch an integrated platform for governance and application of sports data, and promote data governance security and data applications. Invest in transformative digital innovation and forward-looking core technologies to bring forth new sports data business models that enable the public to apply smart technology to everyday fitness. These efforts will contribute to goals of building Taiwan into a world-class data governance center and developing sports and health data governance services.
■ Build a new industry ecosystem: Accelerate the entry of science and technology into the domestic sports industry, enabling a shift from manufacturing and subcontracting toward integration with science and technology, thus spurring new business models and a new business ecosystem. The goal is to establish Taiwan as a global leader and the first international stronghold for sports science and sports technology in the Asia-Pacific region.