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Over the past few decades, the world economy witnessed unprecedented development and progress. The advent of globalization has helped propel the Taiwanese economy to what it is today. Few questioned the success of Taiwan's economy, but what has been its main driving force?

The importance of the SME here cannot be understated. The small and medium enterprise is the backbone of Taiwan's economic development. Around 97% of all businesses in Taiwan are SMEs. More importantly, SMEs in Taiwan generate around 84% of total domestic sales and around 77% of total workforce.

The importance of the SMEs is not in question, but what can we do to improve and to assist our SMEs so that they could compete more efficiently in this new world and to better weather the storms of financial malaise of late?

The sluggish global demand following the international oil and commodity prices hike, the US housing cycle and the subsequent financial crisis has put our SMEs on their back foot. The SMEs in Taiwan are nimble and agile, but the nature of their businesses also makes them more susceptible to structure shifts and financial shocks. Hasty responses are needed, and this is why TIER and RIETI co-organize this workshop.

The TIER-RIETI Workshop was initiated by Dr. Jeffery L.S. Koo in 2005. This year the gathering allow experts and professionals from both Japan and Taiwan to exchange views and experience, and learn from each other on how to promote SMEs, with a view to achieve common objectives of improving and strengthening SMEs’ competitiveness.

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