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Government to help traditional shopping districts go digital

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At the Cabinet's weekly meeting Thursday, Premier Su Tseng-chang said the government is rolling out a program to provide stimulus and guidance to retailers focused on domestic demand. The rise of digital technology coupled with e-commerce and online shopping have changed consumer habits to the detriment of many brick-and-mortar retailers in traditional shopping districts. The program therefore aims to enhance the digital capabilities of retailers while encouraging consumers to use mobile payments, with the objectives of improving business operations and giving consumers more incentive to visit stores in person.

Just as domestic demand is a major driver for the nation's economy, shopping districts are foundational to local economic growth, Premier Su said. Many local retail districts, in fact, have created unique environments of their own weaved around the history, culture and customs of surrounding neighborhoods. To encourage these stores and shops to adopt digital services, the government will provide guidance to 30,000 businesses in 200 shopping districts and malls over the next three years, creating an estimated NT$8.7 billion (US$267.9 million) in commercial opportunities.

According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the program will accelerate the digital transformation of small and mid-sized stores by subsidizing the cost of leasing digital service systems and improving customer service processes. To drum up business for retail districts, meanwhile, the program will offer consumer reward points or cash rebates (up to 20 percent) by year-end, with the rebates worth up to NT$1,000 (US$32) per person per month for shoppers who use mobile payment apps. Each shopping district will also receive subsidies of up to NT$300,000 (US$9,548) for special marketing campaigns or sales events.

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