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Former Google Taiwan GM Lee-Feng Chien: New G7 Monopolizes Global AI Development – Who Will Truly Profit?

Yesterday (June 26), the K.T. Li Foundation for Development of Science and Technology hosted the AI Forum"國鼎論壇" , inviting former Google Taiwan General Manager Lee-Feng Chien to speak about Taiwan's role and development strategies within the global AI ecosystem.

Dr. Chien pointed out that the global AI market is monopolized by seven major companies. He emphasized that Taiwan needs to consider how to profit from AI technology and find its own position in the international market.

Current Challenges in Taiwan’s Industry: The Gap Between Technology and Application

Dr. Chien began by stating, "Taiwan benefited from the first wave of the global AI industry, but what challenges do we face now?" He highlighted the gap between the establishment of Taiwan's technological foundation and its practical application as a current issue faced by domestic industries, especially as industry structures are continuously changing. "We invest heavily in building GPUs, but not in how to 'use' GPUs."

The New G7 Dominates Global AI Development: Who Can Really Profit?

Dr. Chien emphasized that the current global AI market is dominated by seven large companies. "The new G7 dominates AI, with their total market value almost equivalent to China's GDP." Although Taiwan is competitive in technology development, "The shovels are selling well, but who’s finding the gold?" We need to consider how to truly profit from AI and find our position and advantage in the global landscape.

Additionally, Dr. Chien pointed out a key issue facing the global AI industry: "Consumers are not paying, and enterprises are still hesitant." For example, China has thousands of AI models but is limited by the inability to acquire data, resulting in a lack of practical commercial models. MIT has noted that AI’s contribution to the US's short-term GDP is overestimated, stating, "Most people are not knowledge workers, which makes AI application scenarios limited."

How to Support AI Industry Development? Industry, Enterprise, and Government Perspectives

The AI industry is booming, but how will consumers pay? Dr. Chien mentioned that in the industry, AI phones and AI PCs will become important drivers. Additionally, companies can expand business opportunities by introducing SaaS services and AI models for the B2B sector. Furthermore, AI is gradually evolving into a key national security issue, and governments can support the development of sovereign AI, encompassing data centers, computing power, models, energy, cybersecurity, and regulatory aspects.

Where is Taiwan's Opportunity? What are the Specific Actions?

Dr. Chien stated that Taiwan's opportunity lies in developing Edge AI and robotic applications. In terms of industry strategy, there are five specific directions:

Firstly, it is crucial to maintain industry diversity and avoid excessive concentration, which could lead to a short-term bubble from low-margin OEM manufacturing.

Secondly, the importance of integrating software and hardware should be emphasized, focusing mainly on the demands for computing power and data from startups, the higher development threshold of hardware leading to more hardware-dominated application scenarios, and data being the key to mastering application scenarios. Taiwan’s manufacturing industry is a typical case, and in the future, it can develop "smart factories" and "remote management" through the combination of digital twins and AI.

Thirdly, Taiwan has struggled to develop AI applications due to the small market size and insufficient digitalization of enterprises. The government can help by identifying potential domestic demand to expand the internal market.

Fourthly, the government can promote "sovereign AI" to ensure the quality of Traditional Chinese models, integrate computing power issues with current energy-saving technologies, and actively cultivate related talents.

Lastly, innovation is the driving force for industry upgrading, and Taiwan's startup ecosystem is thriving. As mentioned, the integration of software and hardware is crucial for the development of AI applications. Established companies with hardware advantages and market scale can lead innovative startups with software technology and creative thinking, fully leveraging Taiwan's strengths.

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