New Industries Building Kaohsiung's Economy
New Industries Building Kaohsiung's Economy
◎English translation: Hou Ya-ting
◎Photos by Bill Hwang
◎Photo courtesy of Economic Development Bureau
In its early years, Kaohsiung began to develop though its port. Today, Kaohsiung's port area continues to transform, with its Asia's New Bay Area, public construction projects. It is believed these four new key public buildings will make the region more competitive. They feature an exhibition center and main public library, which were opened in 2014, a music center that is expected to open in 2019 and a port terminal that will open in 2020. The projects and other tourist attractions connect up with the first stage of the Light Rail Transit System, which is also a part of the Asia's New Bay Area in Kaohsiung projects and went into service last year.
Each of the construction projects have been designed to upgrade different aspects of the city and increase its economic potential. Kaohsiung Exhibition Center was designed to develop the region's MICE industry (meetings, incentive travel, conferences and exhibitions). The eight-story, Kaohsiung Main Public Library was built to encourage residents to develop greater reading habits and hopes with increasingly knowledgeable locals, the city will be able to increase its global outlook and competitiveness. With its 5000-seat indoor concert hall, 12,000-seat outdoor performance venue and six small performance spaces, it is hoped that Kaohsiung Music Center will transfer Kaohsiung into a well-known music hub. Kaohsiung Port Terminal will have the capacity to birth two 22.5 tons cruise ships and serve over 2,500 tourists. The fifteen-floor structure, with its two underground levels, will offer a convenient one-stop information and assistance service for visitors.
Online games have become a popular world trend and can offer development companies enormous economic potential. Kaohsiung has a booming technological industry, with online games and animation being amongst its largest sectors. Taiwan is also a leader in virtual reality equipment manufacturing. These sectors have become known as the Fun Tech industry and are defined as a synthesis of trendy digital game technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR). This is the new modern initiative that is central to Taiwan's economic development plan. Fun Tech includes digital and interactive entertainment, rehabilitation programs, artificial intelligence and interactive technologies for language learning. Kaohsiung City Government hopes to establish a Fun Tech corridor that will be situated between Asia's New Bay Area and Pier-2 Art Center. It will include technical support and research and development centers. It is hoped that it will develop into a Fun Tech cluster, which would maximize the industry's regional potential.
Kaohsiung's BROGENT Technologies Inc. is a leading company in Taiwan. Last year, Kaohsiung Technology Park opened i-Ride Experience Center. The simulated flight ride was developed with leading technological equipment. Visitors sit on a suspended seat and face a giant dome screen. The film projects Kaohsiung from above and features its attractions such as Pier-2 Art Center and Liouhe Night Market. The simulation ride takes riders from Kaohsiung's downtown area and through the port, then out to its rural mountainous areas. Riders feel as though they are soaring through the air; when they approach Laonong River, they feel its mist on their face. It is an exciting, highly realistic experience that also includes special effects such as wind, sound, light and scents.
In 2008, BROGENT created their first simulated ride at E-Da Theme Park. It opened its simulated games area in 2010, which was well received by park visitors. They have since brought simulated rides to Japan, Canada and the United States. This international recognition has greatly promoted regional technology and VR games and has made BROGENT a leading international company in the field.
A Booming e-Sports Industry
In October, Kaohsiung Music Center will open the Whale e-Sports Arena, which will be Taiwan's first of its kind. This will be operated by Taiwan's professional e-sport developers: Taiwan e-Sports League. The International e-Sports Federation will hold the E-sport World Championships, 2018, at Kaohsiung Arena from November 9 -11. Players from more than 50 countries are expected to attend. This is also anticipated to promote local technology, E-sports, online game development and PC game industries. In the future Kaohsiung city government hopes to host increasing e-Sport tournaments and transform itself into an international E-sport hub.