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與蘋果情濃緣深-未來台灣拚經濟的方向 (2017-07-28 IEK產業情報網 )

China rules with half of the Analects of Confucius. Taiwan succeeds with a personal computer. The U.S. dominates the world with Apple. Over the next five to ten years, there seems no other product that can replace iPhone and no company that can surpass Apple. Apple is likely to continue its global supremacy as the partner of choice for any suppliers in pursuit of growth.
Apple is preparing to launch a game-changing iPhone 8 in celebration of its 10th year anniversary. Industry experts are expecting it to be a hit and the beginning of a super cycle for the supply chain. In fact, the benefit of iPhone 8 is already materializing, evidenced with positive growth in Taiwan’s export orders for six consecutive months and a step-up in Taiwan’s target GDP this year to the highest level over the past three years. Apple seems to be the savior of the Taiwanese economy, as the winning of orders can bring Taiwan prosperity.
The orders from iPhone 8 will be the largest battle field for all the ICT suppliers in the world. Indeed, the level of competitiveness from manufacturers in China and the rest of the world are beyond imagination. It is necessary to analyze in-depth the emerging competitors in order to achieve victory in this race. Apple’s iPhone once put Taiwan in misery but it is also able to pull Taiwan out of gloom. It is fair to say that iPhone 8 is good news accompanied with worrying signs for Taiwan. If the Taiwanese government and private sectors demonstrate ambitions to tighten up its long-standing cooperation with Apple, the technology industry and the economy on the island will enjoy a better tomorrow.
It is worth noting that the two bright spots of iPhone 8, i.e. OLED panels and 3D sensors, are at least initially solely supplied by Samsung and ams, a company from Austria specialized in microelectronics and sensors. The latter acquired Heptagon from Singapore in October 2016. The formidable competition from companies in Austria and Singapore for Apple’s orders is a warning signal to Taiwan.
Approximately eight years ago, the industry think tank in China was instructed by the top leaders to produce a report on what China should do given Apple’s success. This has resulted in the collaboration between industry players, academic and research institutions and government agencies to attack the smartphone market by following the benchmark set by Apple. The goal was to surpass South Korea and the United States in the ICT industry. Currently, three out of the global top five handset makers are Chinese. The success model of Chinese smartphones has been duplicated by panel production, IC designs and manufacturing.
Apple has been a great supporter to the ICT industry in Taiwan. The most relevant Taiwanese beneficiaries of the Apple supply chain are also the largest three listed companies in the industry by market capitalization: TSMC (at a market capitalization of NT$ 4.9 trillion), Hon Hai (at a market capitalization of NT$ 1.6 trillion) and Largan (at a market capitalization of NT$ 0.6 trillion). This speaks of Apple’s unmatched contribution to the ICT industry in Taiwan. If able to expand ties with Apple over the long haul by demonstrating ambitions, the supply chain in Taiwan is expected to thrive with Apple.
Apple is the considered the best and the most innovative company in the world. The company is now the dominant player in tech with the highest market capitalization. As its market capitalization approaches the $1 trillion market, Apple is expanding its footprint to other smart products such as wearables and fitness devices, smart homes, smart TV, smart cars and drones, and smart robots. Apple’s 10-year roadmap and patent portfolios share a lot in common with President Tsai’s plan to boost innovations in five industries. Given the limited resources in Taiwan, we would like to suggest that a team of elite experts should be formed and mobilized to come up with action plans for Big Apple with deep-end analysis. This will drive the interconnection of the supply chain and assist Taiwan in the long-term economic recovery and prosperity.
The Big Apple Action Plan we would like to put forward aims to center on Apple and other international players with innovative technologies with the best resources from the industry players, government agencies, academic and research institutes in Taiwan. The goal is to become Apple’s best supporter in its strategic developments so achieve a win-win. The preliminary proposals are as follows:
Action 1: The government should assist key suppliers to further develop. When TSMC is moving toward 5nm, the government is advised to accelerate the environmental review process in order to ensure timeliness. It is also necessary to call for support from the equipment suppliers in Taiwan. The government may discuss with Apple and Hon Hai to explore the possibility to establish the state-of-the-art mass-production and smart manufacturing sites in Taiwan. The production facilities of Largan (the most highly valued listed company in Taiwan) may be expanded, with support from the government for its land acquisition and supply chain collaboration.
Action 2: The government should enhance the scope and competitiveness of Apple’s supply chain in Taiwan. It is necessary to produce the list of the innovative SMEs (small-and-medium enterprises) with outstanding capabilities but not yet in the supply list of Apple. The government should extend support to the list of companies for “Cultivation for Big Apple” so that they eventually enter Apple’s supply chain. For example, the National Development Council and the Ministry of Economic Affairs may sponsor the equipment investment and facilities expansion. The Industrial Technology Research Institute may send personnel or help to introduce international technologies to make up the insufficiency of the technical competences and boost the productivity of the manufacturing designs and facilities.
Action 3: The government should formulate and refine the duplication of the TSMC model for flexible OLED. Apple may be invited to invest in a joint venture with the Taiwanese government, manufacturers from other and the rest of the world, by using its patents in flexible OLED as equity or transferring its flexible OLED technology. The Industrial Technology Research Institute may share the results of technology transfers, patents and the best-of-breed talents in order to establish a start-up in flexible OLED promising to be a global leader in the next generation of panels.
Once the Big Apple Action Plan is in place, the Minister of Economic Affairs may initiate a series of in-depth discussions with Apple for strategic cooperation and feasibility studies. Or, President Tsai may invite Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, to visit Taiwan to deepen the long-standing cooperation between Taiwan and Apple. This will be the biggest bright spot of President Tsai’s plans in the innovation of five industries. Whilst this initiative may not be easy, it is critical to the economic development of Taiwan going forward. And for sure, it is something worthy of efforts from both the government and private sectors.
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