[InnoVEX FORUM 2022] ITCF Forum Discusses ESG and International Partnership

 2022-06-14 By: InnoVEX Team

InnoVEX 2022 was held in a hybrid format in Nangang Exhibition Center (TaiNEX 1) from May 24 to 27 while the online platform will be active throughout the year. The InnoVEX forums discussed various topics relevant to today's world, including EV, 5G, green energy, sportstech, and more.

Held in cooperation with the International Cooperation Center of Taipei Computer Association (TCA) and the Bureau of Foreign Trade, the theme of the 11th India-Taiwan Cooperation Forum (ICTF) is “Attaining Climate Neutrality through Green Energy & Tech”. With a series of keynote speeches and a panel discussion, the forum was joined by a number of speakers and VIPs from both Taiwan and India with a strong emphasis on leveraging the partnership between Taiwan and India.

In his welcoming remarks, Dr. Chen-Yu Lee, the Director of the International Cooperation Center of TCA stated that the ITCF has been a platform for exchanging policies, market updates, and an opportunity to network for Indian and Taiwanese businesses, government agencies, and academics for over a decade. It is now recognized as the leading event in promoting India-Taiwan cooperation. The theme chosen for the forum is also especially important as the ongoing climate change will affect everyone globally. Green energy adoption will be a new business opportunity for both Taiwanese and Indian companies.

Mr. Rishikesh Swaminathan, the Deputy Director General of India-Taipei Association shared that India is one of the few nations that have succeeded in achieving their commitments in the Paris Climate Conference (likely referring to COP 21). He stated that India is also one of the fastest growing markets in renewable energy by increasing their renewable energy generation, adopting more biofuel, as well as promoting the manufacturing of energy storage technologies. These measures are adopted not just by the government; startups are also playing an active role in their national green energy transition.

Dr. GJ Lee, the Deputy Director General of the Bureau of Foreign Trade stated in his welcome remarks that Taiwan and India have had great economic collaboration projects in bilateral trade and industrial collaboration and investment. Renewable energy development in Taiwan is a very important matter especially because the Taiwan government has pledged to achieve net zero by 2050.

Taiwan Green Energy Ecosystem Evolution

In his speech, Dr. Fred Cheng; the COO of iMeier Green Technology stated that one of the parts of Taiwan's green energy journey is the e-scooter development which started as the results of ITRI (Industrial Technology Research Institute)'s research. Soon after, the technology was subsidized for customer purchase and industries are encouraged to develop their own version of the technology. In addition, the Taiwanese government also made it easier for potential users to purchase and also developing national standards and at the same time further developing the technology itself. Many new technologies will also require adequate infrastructure so proper development and expansion of the infrastructure and its networks will be equally necessary. New technologies such as e-scooters might replace older technologies such as ICE scooters, but allowing both technologies to co-exist will provide alternatives for the users.

India's Renewable Energy Economy

In her keynote speech, Ms. Prerna Soni shared that India and Taiwan have had many partnerships in the past and renewable energy is certainly a new opportunity for cooperation. India has steadily increased their renewable energy generation through hydro, wind, bio-power, and other renewable sources. At present, renewable energy generation in India costs approximately US 0.02 per kilowatt as the Indian government practices viability gap funding for every new renewable energy project with 20 to 40% of the project budget sourced from private entities to make sure the project becomes viable. Taiwanese companies can have a first mover advantage in India by partnering with Indian companies and the Indian government to create an ecosystem to share technology know-how, bring down the cost and capture the potential market. In addition, India also practices production linked incentive as well as implementing policies to improve ease of business, including for solar panels.

Technology in Energy Sustainability

Mr. Math of Nimble Vision stated that he and his team believe that water conservation is very closely linked to energy conservation. His team focuses on helping the general population, farmers, and industries conserve water, energy, as well as money with massive data analysis and AI; as well as water system automation through IoT and AI. This is important especially because awareness of scarcity of resources might not be at the forefront of people's minds and the reality is that user behavior is just as important as innovation when it comes to conservation.

IoT Applications for Energy Conservation/ Management

Mr. Thomas Ho of Ubiik focuses on providing smart meters to users that are grid-connected. As users can now generate their own electricity; whether to reduce their reliance on the central grid or even to sell the surplus power, distributed energy generation management becomes necessary for smooth daily operations. With the increased popularity of EVs, vehicle charging and daily usage might also need to be regulated to make sure the users do not use too much power. In this regard, a smart grid will not only help users manage their power usage, it will also be able to help provide actionable information to the users.

Panel Discussion - Roundtable on India - Taiwan Collaboration: Opportunities and Challenges

The hybrid panel discussion was joined by Dr. Fred Cheng, COO of iMeier Green Technology; Mr. Thomas Ho, Vice President of Business Development of Ubiik; Ms. Prerna Soni, Vice President of Invest India; Mr. Harkishin Chablani, CEO of Balas (Overseas) Ltd./Indian Association of Taipei; and Mr. Premjith Krishnan, Director of the India Office, ICC of TCA.

The panel discussion was also the debut of the TWIN Innovation Platform that aims to integrate OTCA related and startup related resources into 1 platform as well as to be a one-stop gateway for Indian companies who want to enter Taiwan's ecosystem and vice versa. Their services include providing consulting services, facilitating matchmaking events, and offering full PR support.

The discussion focused on the topics of green energy and EV. As people around the world now are facing extreme climate patterns and governments have also announced their own climate goals, conventional measures might no longer be enough. In addition, there might be a discrepancy between the number of people affected by climate change and the investments made to combat it; especially in developing countries and emerging markets. With net zero being the end goal of many governments' policies, the amount of investment needed is not at all small.

Achieving net zero is not just about generating green/ clean energy, but also decarbonization. These fields of industry are equally important avenues to pursue as well as opportunities for businesses both in Taiwan and India. International cooperation might be hindered due to various factors including cultural differences, different mindset, priorities, etc. but at the same time, understanding and cooperation is perhaps the best way to ensure good cooperation.

Of course, businesses enter partnerships to improve their businesses and sometimes, compromises will need to be made. New markets might not be familiar with a business and so will set a higher set of requirements for a lower price range than what is normally seen. Language barriers are also another challenge as different language will have different nuances that might have different implications and may lead to a miscommunication between both parties.

When it comes to international partnership, it is important to leverage each side's strengths and find ways to overcome issues while observing and obeying the existing trade laws. Rules on export/ import, taxation, labor, business ownership, etc. are all important for business operations and must be followed to the details and while hoping for a systemic change is a common response, there are ways to overcome certain challenges that still follows the law.

Watch the full forum video here.