Google to launch fund to support Taiwan’s media outlets

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(Reuters) – Alphabet Inc.’s (GOOGL.O) Google said on Wednesday it will launch a T$300 million ($9.8 million) fund over the next three years to help boost the Taiwanese media’s continuing operations and digital competitiveness.

Google has come under pressure in some countries to negotiate commercial deals and pay news publishers for their content, though not in Taiwan.

Google said it will pay local publishers through what it calls a “Taiwan News Digital Co-prosperity Fund” to strengthen their digital publishing capability.

The fund will help Taiwan local media “hone digital skills, gain expertise and support the sustainable development of Taiwan’s news industry”, the company said.

“Even while Google faces many challenges in the overall international environment, Taiwan remains a crucial global stronghold,” Tina Lin, managing director of sales and operations at Google Taiwan, told reporters in Taipei.

Google said Taiwan’s media industry has been facing major competitive challenges in adapting to the digital age, pointing out that advertising revenues for traditional media outlets have dropped 70% from 2003 to 2020.

The initiative marks the latest effort by the internet giant to develop mechanisms to support and compensate regional news providers whose content appears on Google, as it faces the prospect that governments may impose regulations to require such mechanisms.

An Australian law giving the government power to compel Google and rival Meta Platforms (META.O) to negotiate content supply deals with media outlets has largely worked, according to an Australian government report in late 2022.

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