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R&D investment rising but still facing hurdles: MOEA

TAIPEI -- Taiwan's manufacturers continue to increase their investment in research and development (R&D) but still face obstacles, such as a limited pool of R&D talent, in making their investment pay off, according to the results of a government survey.

The manufacturing sector's spending on R&D rose 5.6 percent in 2012 to NT$292.4 billion (US$9.76 billion), the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said Saturday in presenting the survey's results.

But the 2,921 Taiwanese manufacturers contacted said they still faced R&D challenges, the biggest of which were "insufficient R&D talent" and "short product life cycles," the survey found.

The MOEA said that 80.9 percent of respondents said the key technology for new products was developed in house, showing that they tend to work on their own.

But following the introduction of several government incentives last year, over 20 percent said they have begun participating in joint research projects subsidized by the government or cooperating with others to jointly develop technology to use resources more flexibly.

A total of 55 percent of the businesses surveyed had set up R&D departments.

More than 84 percent of big businesses had R&D departments, higher than the 68.5 percent of mid-sized enterprises and 31.8 percent of small-sized enterprises with R&D divisions.

The survey also found that 80 percent of the R&D spending was concentrated in the information technology and electronics sectors.

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