The Institution That Changed Taiwan – Industrial Technology Research Institute. Can Africa Copy The Idea?

Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) is the government institution that changed Taiwan for good. Since it was founded in 1973, ITRI has played a major role in defining the future of Taiwan. It helped to import technology; it lead in investment in R&D; trained engineers and scientists; incubated firms and produced a league of very innovative and pragmatic startups. The legendary Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the world’s biggest chip fabrication house was born of out ITRI.


From HTC, the cellphone company to Acer, the computer maker, Taiwan is today a respected player in the global semiconductor industry. Taiwan firms produce excess of 50% of all chips, about 70% of all computer displays and more than 90% of all portable computers, according to the Economist, May 29th, 2010. This shows the level of advancement of this nation.


The Industrial Technology Research Institute  is a non-profit research institute located in Taiwan under the supervision of the Republic of China Ministry of Economic Affairs. It conducts research and development in applied technologies to advance private sector growth. Founded in 1973, it gave birth to numerous key technologies now employed by the companies at the nearby Hsinchu Science Park and was instrumental in fostering the “Taiwan Miracle” and propelling Taiwan to become one of the “Four Asian Tigers”. (wikipedia)


ITRI is the type of vision we anticipate that Africa must have. A combination of sound education, entrepreneurship and favorable business environment will make Africa not just a player, but a leader in many technology areas within two decades. That roadmap must be articulated because other nations and continents are ramping up innovations and competitive capabilities. We need more than 10 institutions of the stature of ITRI.

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