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Taiwan has launched a grant scheme to boost the island’s status as a global hub for virtual reality production. It is offering finance to projects co-produced by companies established in Taiwan and internationally, but excluding those from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

The three-year Immersive Content Grant for International Joint Ventures or Co-Productions under the Taiwan Creative Content Agency (TAICCA), an independent agency set up by the Ministry of Culture and the cabinet (Executive Yuan), will support projects in two categories, prototypes and products.

Those selected in the prototype development category will receive a maximum of NT$1 million ($33,000). Grants for project in the product category are capped at NT$3.5 million ($116,000).

The scheme aims to connect Taiwan companies with counterparts outside Greater China. Companies established elsewhere must prove that they are not “invested or controlled by citizens, juridical persons, organizations or institutions from the People’s Republic of China,” said Faith Su, a project manager at TAICCA.

Taiwan has a solid foundation for hardware development, with tech giant HTC among world leaders in the field of headsets.

“We are ready to be a global hub. A lot of post-production of VR films, animation and games has been done in Taiwan in the last decade. What we need now is original content. We hope this grant scheme will help Taiwan or international teams to create original stories,” said Su.

Last year’s Venice Film Festival saw a record eight projects competing in the VR section, that were produced or co-produced by Taiwanese talent.