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Invest in Taiwan. http://www.startabusinessintaiwan.tw
My name is Laurent Renard, a French citizen, living in Taiwan for 9 years now.
I'm the CEO of Toro Development Ltd, a company that has developed and is commercialising
a platform for global payment or NFC .... it's a mobile wallet software.
So what we do, basically today we work with mobile operators globally, today we have two
big projects ongoing. One is T-Mobile in Poland and the other is Telenor in Norway.
And we work with these mobile operators because they are investing today in platforms to deploy
mobile wallet, NFC mobile wallet, and we provide these software platforms on the phone, and
the servers, and we connect with all the back office.
Why Start a Business in Taiwan?
When we decided to set up Toro, we thought 'okay, this is a global business, so it doesn't
matter where we actually start the company'.
So we thought 'should that be Europe, as we are French, or should it be Asia'? Maybe Asia
is best because the technology growth, the adoption, and where in Asia? Should we go
to Singapore, mainland China, or should we stay in Taiwan?
And we thought, no, we should stay in Taiwan, because that is where the infrastructure has
been laid first. So that's where we see there is usage, and Taiwan will probably be the
first country to migrate to mobile payment.
So we got it all wrong, because it actually started in Europe, as I mentioned before,
we have projects in Poland, in Norway, in France. So it all started in Europe, but we
still believe Taiwan was a good choice.
Your major difficulty in Taiwan?
In Taiwan specifically, one of the big problems we had is that we are a mobile group with
mobile software. Taiwan is a fantastic Tech country, but it's all about software, I mean
they do hardware all the time, and the culture around here is all about building hardware.
So when it comes to finding developers that can really understand what software is, it's
a real challenge.
And we really had a hard time finding developers, good developers, and keeping them onboard.
We have French, we have Spanish, we have Slovak, we have Czech, we have Indians, but very few
And that was a big challenge, because when you start a business, you only have the right
to have two foreigners in your company. So I decided to go directly to the Government,
and said 'gentlemen, I love Taiwan, I want to stay in Taiwan, what can I do to make it
happen? I cannot find the resources to develop this technology. This technology is going
boom, it's NFC, it's mobile technology, and you have to recognize there is an issue to
find good mobile developers in Taiwan.'
And surprisingly the government said 'yes, we know, it's difficult, and Taiwan wants
to move to a more knowledge-oriented economy, so we will help you.' And the Taiwanese government
actually helps us to hire foreigners for our company, so we have no issues with work permits,
we negotiate case-by-case.
Any tips for foreign entrepreneurs?
It depends what kind of business. In my business, I think for the resources today, working in
the software industry, Taiwan is a great environment, except for the talent. So you have to talk
to the government, and explain what you are doing, that you have no other choice, than
hiring outside Taiwan to bring in to Taiwan.
And understand that they have a desk that they call Invest in Taiwan, which is very
open and very helpful.
And, how is your Chinese?
My Chinese is bad, but good enough. So, again, I have no time to learn Chinese, words I pick
here and there, and move them round, and have a basic conversation in Chinese. I can survive.
Do you have a final word for entrepreneurs?
Yes, I think that Taiwan is, in the end, so I mentioned before that we made the wrong
choice in Taiwan because our market is in Europe. But still I think for Asia it's the
right choice. I think when we see the coming 12 to 18 months, it was the right pick, because
we are now, NFC technology is coming strong, in Asia we catch up and go much bigger, much
faster than Europe to adopt this technology, I'm sure. Taiwan will be a front runner in
that race.
And in Taiwan, to address the Chinese market is probably the best place, very good progression
to the mainland, and you can find here good people that can help you on the mainland.
So I think that finally it will show that the choice was right.
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Invest in Taiwan - Interview 1, Laurent Renard, TORO Ltd

2898 Folder Collection
Peter Yang published on April 30, 2016
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