The Taiwanese are no strangers to technology. This island off the coast of mainland China is the home of Acer Computer and a whole slew of semiconductor manufacturers, not to mention Science Park, a suburban enclave that resembles Palo Alto, Calif., in its combination and concentration of academic and industrial talent.

The city of Taipei is not resting on its laurels, either. In April, Cisco Systems made headlines in Taipei when it pledged to establish jointly with Taiwan's Institute for the Information Industry (III) a cable modem laboratory to further develop Taiwan's Internet hardware technologies. Cisco previously helped III establish a laboratory to develop asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) technology.

If nothing else, the agreement shows that conference organizers will be able to find speakers on Internet technology in Taiwan without going too far afield.

The 600,000-square-foot Taipei International Convention Center (TICC), located on the east side of the city of Taipei, now has nearly a decade's worth of technology meetings under its belt, including most recently the 12,000-attendee International Computex Taipei '98, sponsored by the convention center's governing organization, the China External Trade Development Council (CETRA).

On its six floors, the TICC has a column-free, multipurpose plenary hall, able to seat 3,100 people; 21 meeting rooms of various sizes, and a 1,000-seat banquet hall. Among the meeting rooms is a 60-seat circular room set up for international diplomatic meetings. All meeting rooms are connected for videoconferencing via ISDN circuits. High-capacity telephone service can be arranged.

The Center has a full-time, in-house AV service, with a battery of video projection tools, including high-intensity video projectors, video playback in every conceivable format (yes, really: VHS Pal/Secam/NTSC, U-Matic Pal/Secam/NTSC, even Sony BETA VCRs), and 16mm film projectors. One of the niftiest in-house services is the TICC's simultaneous interpretation system, which feeds translations via infrared signals in as many as six languages. And to assure that plenary speakers are heard properly, there's a computer-controlled microphone system. There is also an audience-polling system in place. Finally, in keeping with the TICC's one-stop-shopping ethic, there is an on-site booth design and construction service. The TICC is part of a complex that includes the Taiwan World Trade Center and the Grand Hyatt Taipei.