Welcome to Taiwan, Pingtung County Team!

By Steve Ferencie


Travel to Taiwan was quite an adventure for the Smarter Cities Challenge – Pingtung County team but we made it….and as it turns out, with a bit of luck.  The team arrived in Taiwan greeted by the two welcoming arms of Typhoon Krosa sweeping through the South China Sea and a magnitude 6.3 earthquake impacting Taipei with an epicenter south of the eastern coastal city of Hualien.  The locals say, a little wind and water brings good luck…so I think we are off to a very lucky start!!

The Taiwanese people are renowned for being some of the nicest and most welcoming people in the world, and we certainly experienced that on our first day.  We saw many wonderful people, scenic views of the city, and some fantastic Taiwanese cuisine.  We started with a welcome lunch hosted by Jennifer Hwang, the IBM Taiwan Country General Manager, where she treated us to a wonderful meal of Taiwanese delicacies and we got to talk to her fun and energetic leadership team including Li-Fen, Lisa, Anny, Larry, Eddy, Teresa, Kelly, and Janet.


They were quite nice to wait until after lunch to tell us that we will have the chance to try Taiwanese chewing gum that shocks you and black eggs complete with a gray shell and black insides during our 3 week stay….perfect scare for the day after Halloween!!

We spent the afternoon getting to know the team and what to expect for our Smarter Cities Challenge assignment.  The IBM Taiwan team is so well prepared and ready for this trip that it is easy for all of us to get excited.


Do you know where the best place is in Taipei for Chicken Soup?  And not just any chicken soup but soup that is supposed to cure you of your illnesses.  Well, we do now and I can say the reviews are right!!  It takes 12 hours in these pots, boiling a whole chicken to create the soup.


It comes to the table, steaming hot in this pot of boiling goodness


Overall, it was a very full first day for us getting to know Taipei, the IBM Taiwan team and our team of IBM executives for this trip – Jim Rubish, Steve Ferencie, Hassan Zamat, Paul Yin, and Moneshia zu Eltz (joined us a little later).

Taipei and Taiwan look like they are going to be amazing.  Nothing is more emblematic of that than Taipei 101, once the world´s tallest building (now Burj Khalifa in Dubai).  Rising from the Taipei city floor to a height of 509 meters, the building in the shape of “uprising bamboo” is said to link the earth and the sky according to Asian traditions.  Oh, and it is built in just such a way to withstand the greatest and most powerful storms over a 2,500 year cycle AND the most powerful earthquakes.  That is our kind of building!!


About the Smarter Cities Challenge

The Smarter Cities Challenge (SCC) contributes the skills and expertise of IBM’s top talent to address critical challenges facing cities around the world. We do this by putting teams on the ground for three weeks to work closely with city leaders and deliver recommendations on how to make the city smarter and more effective. Over the past 3 years, 100 cities have been selected to receive grants. The Smarter Cities Challenge is IBM’s largest philanthropic initiative, with contributions valued at over $50 million to date.

For more information about the program, please visit the official IBM Smarter Cities Challenge site: http://smartercitieschallenge.org


This post originally published on: smartercitieschallenge.wordpress.com


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