Coming back to Taipei or going to Shanghai

Hi everyone, firstly thanks in advance to anyone who takes time to reply. Basically I left Taipei in 2008 due to family problems and I’m now in a situation where I can go abroad again, I am 35 years old and single. I am a teacher (PGCE - not ESL). Since I left Taiwan I have always dreamt of returning as life was good and the salary ($60k monthly) allowed me to live better than in my native UK. I have 2 job offers - one from Taipei and another from Shanghai. The job in Taipei is at a bilingual middle school, The job is offering a salary of $81000 per month and that’s about it. The school in Shanghai is offering 23k rmb ($103k), plus they will give me 8krmb housing allowance, Also the holidays in SH are far more generous than those in Taipei.

I know the offer in SH is better but I have never been there. Is there anyone who has moved from SH that can offer some advice on living there compared to Taipei? Is it worth the money? I don’t want to end up moving again after 2 or 4 years but instead settle down.


Here’s something to think about…

If you have an international teaching license I suggest you would be better served to go to Shanghai, even if for only for a couple of years - it will position you better for potential future teaching opportunities, whether in TW or elsewhere.

Taiwan has changed, a lot, since 2008 - mostly for the worst in my opinion. You can always come to Taiwan after a couple of years. But it will be much more difficult to go in the opposite direction - Taiwan isn’t really known for its international education other than the TAS/TES programs. I suggest you check out to get a feeling for the going rate for international teachers - 80K is nothing compared to the going rate which usually includes housing, etc.

Just a suggestion - good luck!

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if you want to settle down then mainland china certainly isn’t the place. things are just getting more unwelcoming and sketchy over there. but hey, for that money why not just work there for a year and save up? then you can come to taiwan and settle down with some decent cash. thats what i would do anyway. shanghai is fine. its fun for around a year but don’t outstay your welcome.


I left in 2008. :smile:

Why is it worse? You mean in economic opportunity?

Business climate sucks, air quality increasingly poor, salaries have been stagnant for years, inept government policies, basic corruption rampant, birth rate low, China, etc., etc. From my experience, if you ask 10 locals if they had the chance, and funding to relocate - 8.5 would say yes they would happily leave Taiwan. I’ve been in Taiwan for a looong time - and have started in earnest in planning my departure for greener pastures.

Why did you leave Taiwan in the first place??

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My grandmother was dying and I wanted to be at home. Then I got a job etc etc

Are you Taiwanese? I suppose it might be different if you are Taiwanese - yearning for the home country, etc. But if you are a foreigner, there a lot better “greener” pastures to explore these days than Taiwan. Taiwan use to be one of the “Tigers” of Asia - today its a pussy cat.

I think the difference in salary is not worth living in China. Not even Shanghai. Also, it’s worth noting that China’s economy isn’t what it used to be as of 2018. The debt is piling up at a very worrying speed, the housing bubble burst is imminent, and the growth rate is rapidly declining. The economic confidence is nowhere near what it was even a couple of years ago.

That’s just my opinion though. I’m sure there are many ppl who enjoy Shanghai.

That sounds like pretty much every single developed country out there, funny how things work out; except for air quality, which has improved a lot in Taiwan over the last 10 years, especially in Taipei where a real polluted day happens every once in a blue moon nowadays.

I respectfully disagree. Even if that’s the case (which isn’t necessarily), it’s usually because they have no idea what things are like elsewhere.

Have you ever lived in Shanghai?

I respectfully disagree. It has to do with the fact that they KNOW what things are like elsewhere and want that for themselves and their families.

Maybe in your circle, but from my experience they usually haven’t a clue about how things run in other countries and they assume that by moving all their problems would be solved, when a lot of those problems (tough life for millennials, for one) are damn near universally shared.

Every single Taiwanese I know who doesn’t live in Taiwan is looking forward to moving back.

This would be Taiwanese who live in hk, China or Vietnam.

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Hmmm, never consider that all the throngs of foreigners banging on the door to immigrate to Taiwan were actually hoping all their problems would be solved…

And the question is…why don’t they move back? The opportunities are so much better for them in TW.

I thought we were talking about Taiwanese ppl wanting to move overseas?

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Guess the door swings both ways…Taiwanese that want to leave and foreigners that want in…I wonder which group is more naive?

This could be applied also to foreigners coming to Taiwan…

We have polluted days in Taipei a lot more than ‘a blue moon’. Get real.

Taiwan economy is patchy. Some businesses are booming such as TSMC. Most aren’t. Property boom already ramped up prices and now falling. Wages slowly increasing but from low rates.
Lack of excitement and buzz is a bit shit.
Low population growth rate good for environment and our health bad for many businesses .
There are a lot of factories coming back from China, probably not well paid though and could cause more pollution.

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Shanghai has a different scale of multinational investment but one will not necessarily be involved with that . Places like Shenzhen are still rocking. In the end it’s still China , it has little appeal for me due to the political and cultural situation there. Also North China is a polluted freezing hellhole.

I guess it depends on what you consider to be ‘polluted’. Personally I find it ok 99% of the time in Taipei.

Taiwanese people that move abroad generally only return when they get old so they can Iive like kings on their banked overseas money and leach off NHI.

With the exception of young people moving to China for work. They realize it’s a dump and want to go home.