MEDICA, the world’s largest trade fair for the medical device industry, is held annually in Dusseldorf, Germany. Each year, over 10,000 medical device manufacturers and industry representatives participate in the event, which is tantamount to the industry’s Oscars. In an effort to respond to market demands and enhance the international competitiveness of Taiwan’s medical devices industry, this year for the first time the Biomedical Development Board of Taiwan (BIOMED TW) coordinated and led a group of public agencies to accompany Taiwan companies and industry representatives in participating in MEDICA. These efforts yielded considerable results. This year, a total of 6,186 companies from 61 countries around the world attended the fair, while the Taiwan delegation, which included representatives from the public, academic, research sectors, also featured 231 companies. This sizeable contingent made Taiwan the eighth largest participant as a whole in MEDICA 2018.
Government leads concerted effort by agencies to promote Taiwan brand name
This year, BIOMED TW for first time coordinated a cross-ministerial delegation to engage in overall planning and organization of and participation in activities. The agencies included the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), the Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Industries Promotion Office (BPIPO) under the Industrial Development Bureau, the Department of Industrial Technology’s Technology Development Policy Section under the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Metal Industries Research & Development Centre (MIRDC), the Taiwan Medical and Biotech Industrial Association, and the Biomedical Commercialization Center (BCC). The BCC held a business matching activity for start-ups, which marked the first time that a public Taiwan agency held an international business matching event during MEDICA. The initiative was a huge success, with over 150 people attending, including investment and trade officials from Germany and the Netherlands. This highlighted the importance that European nations and overseas medical device factories place on medical device start-ups from Taiwan. BIOMED TW CEO and Ministry of Science and Technology Deputy Minister Dar-Bin Shieh, along with Taiwan Representative to Germany Shieh Jhy-wey attended the Taiwan Excellence press conference, during which a number of Taiwan start-ups unveiled products featuring the latest technologies. Media from over 20 countries attended the event and interacted with the start-ups. Meanwhile, the “Taiwan Excellence Medical Device Products Pavilion” exhibited Taiwan virtual reality technology-based medical technology, attracting the interest of the international media and industry buyers. The pavilion also constituted one of the six “must see” exhibits at 2018 MEDICA. The media attention successfully conveyed the Taiwan smart medical brand name and the industry’s capacities to the international community.
BPIPO and MIRDC also arranged the MEDICA 2018 Taiwan Biomedical Solution Spotlight to promote outstanding Taiwan products to the international market. Six medical device companies were picked to introduce their products to the nearly 100 Taiwan and international guests attending the event. The international media, distributors, and potential cooperative partners also participated. The German media alone published over 80 articles on these Taiwan products, greatly increasingly the international visibility of Taiwan brand names and in the process promoting orders and business opportunities.
Multi-level image design marketing of features and strengths of Taiwan’s medical device industry
BIOMED TW also coined the catchphrase “Digi Taiwan, Future Health,” which was used in a four-page fold-out emphasizing Taiwan’s competitiveness and that was featured in the Taiwan delegation introductory handbook. The publication was designed in conjunction with promotional materials for the Taiwan Excellence Medical Device Products Pavilion, which publicized the capabilities and efforts of Taiwan’s smart medicine industry. This year for the first time the government also created the Taiwan@MEDICA website to better serve the Taiwan and foreign firms attending MEDICA. The website provided a variety of immediate and precise information on the Taiwan companies at MEDICA and aided in the efforts to promote business matching between Taiwan firms and their foreign counterparts. Nearly 1,600 individuals browsed the Taiwan@MEDICA website during the course of 2018 MEDICA. Meanwhile, three large-sized posters were plastered on the Dusseldorf metro system during the exhibition, helping to create visibility and boost the image of Taiwan during MEDICA. Prior to, during the course of the exhibition, and following the conclusion of MEDICA, daily postings were made to related Facebook pages to enhance the exposure of Taiwan. These postings attracted up to 1,500 hits, showing that publicity through Facebook successfully helped to promote Taiwan.
Pack strategy works in successfully attracting international attention
Over the past several years, the Taiwan government has continued to increase its investment in the biopharma industry and has sought to leverage Taiwan’s strengths in ICT, precision manufacturing, and R&D to underpin growth of the biotech sector. This was the first year, however, that the government initiated a pack strategy in coordinating the participation of over 200 medical device companies in MEDICA and selling the overall Taiwan image at the fair. This helped to fully demonstrate the strength and capabilities of Taiwan’s medical innovations, successfully attract attention from international buyers, and generate a number of orders from international medical device heavyweights.
BIOMED TW will continue to play a foremost role in integrating the image of Taiwan’s medical device industry, while expanding the international reputation and competitiveness of Taiwan in this area. Enhancing the image of the industry, aiding in promoting business opportunities and using websites to encourage international sales and marketing of products are expected to help boost the visibility of Taiwan products in the international market, attract global partners, and bring Taiwan firms into the international medical device supply chain. This will serve as the next step in helping turn Taiwan’s biotech sector into the next trillion dollar industry.