By Kevin Stoda, Taiwan

In lieu of staying at home and rebuilding poor housing infrastructure and improving vocational training, workplace problems, and the society, many Taiwanese have their sights on Mainland China as a workplace they would like to explore in the coming years.

According to the TAIWAN NEWS ( May 27, 20110 , in an article entitled “China becomes a hot destination for Taiwan’s workers: Poll”, 77 percent of Taiwanese employees are willing to explore further job opportunities on the mainland [People’s Republic or communist China].”

On the one hand, the Taiwan News article continues, “statististics indicate that the annual salaries of 74.2 percent ofemployees are higher after they work in China..” In fact, “Their average annual income increases by NT$370,000 (US$12,758).”

NOTE: I wonder who undertook this unnamed poll because the article seems to be spun towards a PRO-unification and AT-ALL-COST friendly relations with China. The current majority party in Taiwan (Republic of China), the KMT, has historically been supportive of unification as soon as possible with the Mainland.

On the other hand, I would imagine that the averag employee who has worked abroad in any foreign country can demand more earnings in Taiwan these days.

Nonetheless, this unnamed poll states that 69.8% of the respondents are interested in looking for work in Shanghai while 34% desire to work in Beijing. Other regions of interest for work abroad by the majority of Taiwanese include Hong Kong, Ziamen, and Suzhou.

As for motiviation, the most common reason claimed for desiring to work in China is the character of the market place there,i.e. the responants understand the market there better than in any other foreign land. Nearly 64% of the respondants are of this perspective.
The second most common rationale (with 42 percent of respoondants of this view) for working in China believe that working in China would eventuallly benefit their work place experinces in Taiwan. Meanwhile, some 35% of those taking part in the survey indicate that “broading their horizons” was also a good-enough-reason to go abroad to work.


Interestingly, I am hired currently to teach in 3 public schools in Taiwan. Moroever, one-third of the rationale for me—as a foreigner—being hired to work in these public institutions is to enable the Taiwanese students, teachers and society to be “more international”. This would be similar in the USA to the concept of trying to train our public school students to work cross-culturally (i.e. multicultural education).

Having taught in 10 countries already, I can help the Taiwanese be more internationally-functional. However, the hyperfocus of many Taiwanese on the Chinese market is likely to hurt the country in several ways.

On the one hand, several types of developments in Taiwan has been slowed down for the last decade, i.e. as local industries have been hollowed out and exported abroad—mostly to mainland China. I say hollowed out because the population of youth and adults have not been trained sufficiently to take on new jobs and to be creatively building the cities and towns where they live. For example, on the Matsu islands, where I live, there are no masons and constructive experts to update the aging homes and renovate the many homes—some of which are still like rabbit hutches. In other words, with no good vocational programs and no local universities nor colleges, how can the community raise its sites.

In other words, parts of Taiwan are quaint and underdeveloped—like one still might have seen in the USA and England in the 1950s or early 1960s. For this very reason, they are fairly safe, familial, and traditional. However, if the youth and parents of these rural and semi-urban communities only look to Taiwan’s largest cities and to mainland China for jobs, what kind of future will many communities in Taiwan have—only hollowed out ones.

Who will be able to build a greater society? (Or will the Taiwanese only import their future from abroad, especially Mainland China?)

Superficially, Taiwan can be seen as an OECD country, For example, health care is relatively similar to any developed coutnry. Mass transportation is good. Industries, especially telecommunications, is particularly strong. There is a growing emphasis on leisure and protecing the environment and in sustainable development or sustainable tourism

Moreover, there is a growing OECD perspective or OECD identity amongst Taiwanese. That is they see themselves and think of their world and their land as an OECD country. For example, they have nuclear power plants. They are concerned about food safety and are beginning to promote good living and organic agricutlure. They also have very advanced telecommunication networks, related technologies, and many well-run businesses—all with a lot less corruption than in mainland China or in neighboring Southeast Asian states.

In short, the focus on China and Asia may lead Taiwanese to forget what the Japanese and Koreans (their real developmental competition in East Asia) already emphasize. The Taiwanese will likely ignore what Europe, North America, and other regions of the world have to offer. I think of the fact that South Korea signed an important free trade treaty with the European Union last year. Japan is also interested in getting such an agreement.

Taiwan should not throw in the towel and run to join china—when there is so much development work to do at home, for example, some 70% of the homes suffer from mold and other erosion. Without the local developments and widening of education in all parts of Taiwan at a more global level, China will pass Taiwan [1] by developmentally in the next few decades.

There is no reason that should be the case. [2]


[1] After WWII, Taiwan was the most developed land in East Asia—due to the amount of industries and infrastructure that had srurvived through 1945.

[2] Taiwanese need to be supported, ttoo, form abroad through more internatinoal treaties and educational exchanges.

About eslkevin

I am a peace educator who has taken time to teach and work in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman over the past 4 decades.
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  1. Pingback: Letter & Discussion of issues of international perspectives enhancement and Guanxi with author of TAWAIN A TO Z « Eslkevin's Blog

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