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Taiwan?s information-technology industry: After the personal computer

July 4, 2013

Small objects of desire
THE first iPhone went on sale on June 29th 2007. Tom Sun recalls the date easily, because TPK, of which he is the chief executive, began manufacturing exactly four weeks before, making touchscreens for Apple?s gadget. This year, Mr Sun estimates, 1.2 billion mobile phones will be made with touchscreens. The iPad has since ?created a segment?, the tablet, that he says is ?100% touch?.TPK?s booth at Computex, a trade fair in Taipei last month, proudly showed off the latest notebook and all-in-one personal computers (PCs). But Mr Sun enthuses about many more applications, from cameras to cars. Other manufacturers, he says, will follow Tesla, an electric-vehicle maker that has put 17-inch screens in its Model S.Taiwan, once a maker of soft toys and umbrellas, has long been a high-tech hive. It provides a rare example of successful industrial policy (though much more so in hardware than software). In 1973 the state created the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) to nurture the tech industry. ITRI started with semiconductors, securing the transfer of old technology from RCA, an American company, in 1976...

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