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Industrial Development Bureau to strongly subsidize VR/AR development

The Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) of the MOEA of Taiwan will provide support to local companies in the development of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) with substantial action and subsidies.  According to Director-General Leu Jang-hwa of the IDB, for promoting local original characters, the industry can adopt the approaches of “one source, multi-use” and diversified development and a total NT$1 billion subsidy for a period of three years will be launched in 2018 to develop Taiwan-made VR and AR applications.  The IDB emphasized that Asia has become the fastest growing market backed by the fastest expanding numbers of consumers.  Taiwan has been dedicated to promoting local original characters to foreign markets for a long time.  In 2016 alone the 20 members of the Taiwan Character Brand Licensing Association signed agreements for more than NT$500 million in total licensing fees.  Ranked 36th place in the global licensing market, Taiwan still has room for growth in the future.

Leu Jang-hwa pointed out that the “Digital Development” project under the Forward-looking Infrastructure Program contains a 3-year NT$1 billion subsidy plan helmed by the IDB to facilitate Taiwan-made VR and AR applications.  The IDB will cooperate with the Kaohsiung City Government in the aspects of technological support, talent incubation and environment structure.  They will move towards the integration of new VR and AR technologies with local original characters to spark creativity in digital content development in hopes of facilitating Taiwan-made applications to penetrate foreign markets with unique Taiwanese charisma.

Pokemon Go, a mobile game, which was developed using AR, took the world by storm.  According to Leu Jang-hwa, it was easier to promote AR in the beginning because users do not need to use any extra devices, but VR development has picked up speed with wearable devices increasingly being used.  “It is still difficult to judge which will develop at a faster pace,” he added.  As far as the Taiwan government is concerned, it will not impose too many restrictions but let industry members grow and develop freely. (2017/11, No. 159GTI)

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