SINCE 1973
50 Years of Empowering Industry Through Innovations

Half a century ago, Taiwan was in dire straits.
The government hence took actions and established ITRI, which aspired to be the cradle of industrial technologies.
 By leveraging silicon, ITRI laid the foundation and carved out a niche for Taiwan’s semiconductor industry. This achievement, however, was not made alone. With various industry partners, ITRI built a kingdom of ICT and optoelectronics that led to continuous economic growth, transforming Taiwan from a labor-intensive island to a hub of technology prowess. Challenges stimulate innovation. During critical moments, ITRI has remained committed to innovating for a better future. To focus on the key direction for future research and development, ITRI has drawn up the 2035 Technology Strategy & Roadmap. By providing cross-disciplinary solutions to industries, ITRI aims to not only drive technological advancements but also promote sustainable economies. Moving forward, ITRI will continue to dedicate itself to propelling technological transformation, striving for excellence, and creating an innovative and sustainable future for Taiwan.

Major Milestones

50 Stories that Marked our Impacts


Taiwan withdrew from the United Nations in 1971 and in the same year, the Senkaku Islands dispute broke out. As a result, Taiwan and Japan severed diplomatic ties in 1972. MORE


The electronic watches we had as children, cards that play music, and the world-famous semiconductor industry in Taiwan now all started from a breakfast meeting. In 1974, Yun-Suan Sun, the Minister of Economic Affairs; Yu-Shu Gao, Minister of Transportation and Communications; Chao-Chen Wang, ITRI’s President; Bao-Huang Kang, Director of Telecommunication Laboratories; Hua Fei, Executive Yuan Secretary-General; Hsien-Chi Fang, Directorate General of Telecommunications and Radio Corporation of America (RCA) Laboratories Director Wen-Yuan Pan met at a small breakfast place called Xiao Xin Xin and had a discussion which later gave birth to Taiwan’s semiconductor industry. After the meeting, Wen-Yuan Pan stayed in The Grand Hotel to draft out the plan for the IC Development Project, and Ding-Hua Hu, the Deputy Director of the then Electronics Industrial Research Centre, was the first member to join this Project. In 1976, ITRI and the RCA signed an IC technology transfer and licensing contract to officially introduce semiconductor technology into Taiwan.MORE


Known as the “kingdom of personal computers (PC),” Taiwan manufactured a lineup of top-notch products including gaming computers, industrial computers, laptop, and laptop metal casings and battery modules. During the 1980s, as PC advanced, ITRI collaborated with local companies to develop Taiwan's first IBM PC/XT-compatible PC, the PC-100, with its own ERSO BIOS software. Such success paved the way for the industry to export computers. In 1990, ITRI joined hands with 46 companies to establish the Taiwan Notebook Consortium that aimed to set industry standards and division of labor, cementing Taiwan's reputation as the kingdom of PC.MORE

Chemicals, and

When Taiwan became a major player in the global laptop sector in the 1990s, cell phones were also rapidly developing. Lithium batteries showed much potential since they were lightweight, thin, and small, which could meet the specification of laptops and cell phones. However, lithium battery materials and manufacturing technology were predominated by the US and Japan at that time. Thus, in 1993, ITRI began to develop battery cathode materials and electrolytes for lithium batteries. The results were subsequently transferred to several battery manufacturers, encouraging talent acquisition and Taiwan’s first wave of investments in lithium battery.MORE


Taiwan, known as the “Kingdom of Scooters,” has the highest density of scooters in Asia, with scooters being the primary mode of transportation for the local public. However, prior to the 1950s, Taiwan lacked the necessary technology in this field and mainly relied on imported scooters. As industrial and business sectors began to grow in the 1960s, employment opportunities increased, and scooters gradually replaced bicycles as the public’s main means of transportation. Though possessing the skills to produce the vehicle body, Taiwanese manufacturers did not have access to domestically-made engines at the time. To meet government policies and market demands, ITRI began the R&D for the scooter sector and introduced the MIRL80i in the 1980s. Known as the Rattlesnake, MIRL80i was Taiwan’s first jet engine scooter that could be swiftly produced, assembled, and made available on the market. This model’s jet engine system was more advanced than that of foreign scooters.MORE


Measurement standards are a foundation upon which global trade, medicine and healthcare, public safety.MORE


The textile industry played a major role in Taiwan’s early postwar development. In fact, by the 1970s, textile and garment exports accounted for nearly 40% of Taiwan’s total exports, making Taiwan one of the world’s largest textile exporters, alongside Hong Kong, Italy, and South Korea at the time. However, with the wage rise and raised environmental awareness, Taiwan’s textile industry pivoted towards developing high value-added products. In this light, ITRI collaborated with the textile giant Hualon Corporation and established a manufacturing process for fine denier PET filament, which not only significantly increased polyester fiber productivity but also paved the way for the later development of microfibers.MORE


The laser industry in Taiwan has faced several challenges, including a lack of independent products, autonomy in key components, system integration skills, and talents. However, ITRI has taken a proactive approach to solving these dilemmas by initiating efforts to cultivate Taiwan’s independence in laser technologies. MORE


Taiwan has emerged as a global leader in the printed circuit board (PCB) industry, having developed it for over four decades. With the world’s largest PCB industry chain, Taiwan has been the world’s largest exporter of PCBs for 11 consecutive years, boasting an impressive market share of 32.8% as of 2022. In terms of its domestic contribution, the PCB industry ranks the third greatest industry in Taiwan, with the semiconductor and display device industries taking the top two spots. MORE


Machine tools are the foundation on which the machinery industry develops. During the 1960s, the government listed the machinery industry as a development focus in its economic development projects, and the domestic machine tool industry began to form. With the rapid development of the heavy industry, Taiwan’s industries shifted from labor-intensive to capital- and technology-intensive in the 1970s and the machine tool industry gradually began to prosper.MORE


ITRI built the country’s first full-function hospital. Within two weeks, ITRI built 120 negative pressure wards at the Tri-Service General Hospital Songshan Branch and helped establish a medical network with over 600 negative pressure wards throughout Taiwan. MORE

Green Energy

As 98% of Taiwan's energy is imported, developing renewable energy has become increasingly important. ITRI recognized this need and began investing in renewable energy technologies as early as the 1980s. In 1985, ITRI successfully developed an amorphous silicon solar cell, and in the following year developed a solar-powered medium-temperature heat collector, which improved solar collector-related technologies and applications. In addition, ITRI constructed Taiwan's first solar energy house to demonstrate the operations of a solar energy system.MORE

AI and Big Data

In 2016, AlphaGo defeated the world Go champion, marking a significant milestone in the development of AI. As early as the 1990s, ITRI collaborated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on AI-related research, laying a strong foundation for Taiwan's AI industry through its expertise in information and communication technology.MORE


During the 1960s, the global economy experienced rapid growth, which led to a significant increase in commodity distribution and the rise of the logistics industry in Taiwan. By the 1990s, as information and communication technology began to commercialized, Taiwan’s logistics industry received a boost from ITRI. ITRI built an electronic label-aided picking system, which was embraced by several companies including Sanshang Department Store, Rock Records, Kingstone, and Laurel Corporation. This innovation ushered a new era of electronic commerce in Taiwan.MORE

  • Origin
  • Semiconductors
  • ICT
  • Materials,
    Chemicals, and
  • Vehicles
  • Metrology
  • Textiles
  • Optoelectronics
  • PCB
  • Machinery
  • Biomedicine
  • Green Energy
  • Others
  • AI and Big Data
  • Industrial Technology Research Institute

Half a Century Young

Anniversary Ceremony & Tech Exhibition

Navigating the Future

Envisoning Future

Cross-generational wellbeing

Presenting Mega trends and Taiwan in 2035

Decoding Mega trends with cross-generational surveys in Taiwan

Envisoning Future
Industrial collaboration

Envisoning Future

Holistic innovation approaches to industrial transformation

Envisioning a Better Future
Sharing cross-disciplinary views

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IEKTopics 50th Anniversary Issue on Sustainability
Shared global prosperity

IEKTopics 50th Anniversary Issue on Sustainability

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