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Taiwan: E-Book Industry to Be Promoted

(July 13, 2009) Taiwan's Executive Yuan (Cabinet) has directed the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), the Ministry of Education (MOE), and the Government Information Office (GIO) to jointly draft an electronic book industry action plan. Deliberations on the e-book issue give priority to digitalization of textbooks and libraries, in the hope that the industry will reach a value of NT100 billion (about US$3.04 billion) by 2013; in 2008, e-book output was valued at NT$12 billion (about US$361 million). The GIO is to propose an “ignition plan,” a subsidy scheme to assist the development of the industry; the MOEA's Industrial Bureau and Department of Industrial Technology are to offer grants for digital content research and development; and the MOE is to back the plan for production of primary- and secondary-school e-textbooks, “hoping the use of e-books will help reduce the weight of students' book bags.” (Executive Yuan to Promote E-Book Industry, TAIWAN TODAY, July 7, 2009, available at

The relevant companies in Taiwan reportedly aim to jointly establish a large-scale digital publishing platform as a corporation like Amazon. They plan to seek funding from Taiwan's National Development Fund–originally established in 1973 and in October 2008 enlarged from NT$200 billion (about US$6.01 billion) to NT$1 trillion–to help expand the e-book market. (Id.; Cabinet to Expand National Development Fund to Stabilize Economy, SWF Institute website, Oct. 24, 2008, available at; Development Fund, Executive Yuan website, (last visited July 8, 2009).) According to government officials, three Taiwan-based companies are currently engaged in setting up e-book trading platforms: Far Eastone Telecommunications Co., Yuan-Liou Publishing (with its platform Koobe), and the I-Mei Group of Companies (with its online English-language newspaper TAIWAN NEWS as a platform). In addition, “more and more domestic companies are investing in the development of e-readers.” (TAIWAN TODAY, supra.)

Promoting the e-book industry is part of the Executive Yuan's broader plan for encouragement of the cultural and creative industry, “one of the 'six emerging industries' the government intends to foster for the good of Taiwan's economic future.” (TAIWAN TODAY, supra.) The other five key emerging industries are tourism, medicine and health care, biotechnology, green energy, and high-end agriculture; on March 26, 2009, the Executive Yuan announced that the effort to spur these industries' development would begin with a plan for the biotechnology industry. (Six Emerging Industries to Boost Taiwan Competitiveness, Executive Yuan website, May 15, 2009, available at