Amazon has opened one innovation center in Busan in South Korea in 2016 and two regional ones in China. On August 10, the US retailing giant announced to open the latest one on eth suburbs of Taipei. The innovation centers of Amazon promotes startups for its cloud services.
Analysts say that the aim of the innovation centers of the Seattle based firm is to build up such centers located near clusters of startups so that the company can attract young talent for innovation for its cloud based services and could even lead to long-term business partners.
“The biggest reason (to choose Taiwan) is that the talent here is at the AWS level, which means high,” says Lin Ta-han, CEO of the Taipei-based crowdfunding consultancy Backer-Founder.
He expects that the Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the clients of its cloud services “will strive for more cooperation deals.”
According to the mayor of Taipei, the reason for Amazon to choose the city for its first Taiwan innovation center because the locality offered a “trade-friendly growth environment for investors”. The statement says that more than 20,000 entrepreneurs have shifted into the city since 2011 resulting in increase of capital to $13.11 billion and sales revenue of $154 billion. there were talks between the city authorities and AWS about the innovation center for two years.
Jessica Liu, an associate with the Taipei-based accelerator AppWorks Ventures says that since AWS offered free “cloud credits”, therefore the startups in Taiwan were already using AWS since about 2010. The company also sent experts to speak to the local startups in Taiwan through workshops. “If you start a business, the first thing that comes into their minds is Amazon,” she says.
She added that there is a formal agreement between AppWorks and AWS for referring startups and about 80% to 90% have used the service.
Ho Kuo-cheng, economic development director with the city says that these relationships would be further strengthened by the innovation center through the offering of physical space of about 660 square meters and easy access to AWS staff people. Ho added that the aim is to aid the top startups to develop B2B channels for their operations.
AWS greater China managing director Alex Yung said at an August 10 inauguration event that the company would offer “best practices” at the center so that there can be advancement in the startup sector in Taiwan in multiple industries.
The city says in its statement that ultimately, the innovation center will help “accelerate innovation”. “This will create a cluster effect, attracting more talent, funds, technologies, market possibilities, and international visibility,” it says.
The economic development director of Amazon says that the company would be able to foster long-term clients due to the company’s outreach to young firms. “It should be a platform for their development and maybe these startups will become some of the AWS clients, though not necessarily,” Ho says.
(Adapted from Forbes.com)