How to build a long and successful career in Taiwan as a foreigner

Best article I’ve seen on this topic.


It’s a relevant.

But he raises points about adapting to culture. The issue I have is when will Taiwan adapt to world business culture.

Just to clarify. Japan and South Korea have done an excellent job of adapting to western business culture. Taiwan is still competing on price not skill.


The semi conductor industry is changing that but remember that is dominated mostly by Dutch, Japan South Korea and American expertise with Taiwan labour prices.

A great read. Thanks for the link.

Probably when we shed off the chinese in us.

Awesome article. One of the best (if not the best) I read in the topic!
Alan was able to summarize several lessons I’ve learned while in Taiwan but never realized I knew them until now.
Thanks for sharing, and I’d do the same and share with my friends!

Phew that was a long read but very well written.
Some good insights for me on how headhunters think.
I don’t agree with all their judgements but hey ho.
Taiwan is an incredibly challenging place to work out a successful long term career as a foreigner. You are basically swimming against the tide but if you want to stay in Taiwan and enjoy living here…Go for it.


I have to agree, this article gives a great perspective on things.

If I had read this while 30 years younger, I might have made different choices in life when I was just starting off. Planning your career… I think I have skipped that step completely :slight_smile:

Still, things have gone pretty good, so no regrets at all.

1 Like

They don’t call foreigners “foreigners” in Japan or Korea? News to me.

They even call white people foreigners when they’re in he US.

Very useful article though.

1 Like

No mention of the bamboo ceiling for foreigners working in Taiwanese companies? My tip top tip as a long time permanent resident of Taiwan is either start your own business or work for a U.S. company’s Taiwan division but avoid Taiwanese companies.

Top Tip: Entrepreneurial or remote work would be my personal preference having experienced Taiwanese office culture in its various forms. For me, I have been much happier being my own boss.


Yes I was going to mention the ceiling is a very real problem . I don’t know any expat GMs who moved here and worked there way up to GM position from bear the bottom . Theres probably a rare few.

And Taiwanese owned companies tend to emphasise promoting the family members of their founders.

Or local Taiwanese with foreign MBAs etc Taiwanese unis same thing.

And getting an ID is hard and passing the Chinese exams super difficult so many common civil servant type professions are out.

I also avoid working for Taiwanese companies if at all possible .Lttle that can be gained in mid career except as a stepping stone (somewhat alluded to in the article ). Any chance Taiwan HR or a Taiwanese boss could get they would screw me out of benefits and entitlements. . I only prospered financially outside of their system, I’m sure there are some exceptions but not eager to look for them. In the foreign owned organization I work for I usually get my bonuses,my benefits, holiday entitlements , stocks etc with little mafan. No sneaky conditions and tricks and penalties. No trying to change the contact just before you sign a deal that was already worked out :no_mouth:. No saying 'that was then , this is now, that wasn’t in the contract '.

Structurally long term things aren’t good for foreigners , there are great opportunities to get your foot in the door in certain fast growing industries though. It’s getting easier for white collar foreigners to get things like gold cards and such . (Bolded to give folks the positive stuff to read about ).

Yes a foreigner can prosper opening a business here but that person could equally do that in their home country or somewhere else in most cases. I don’t think Taiwan is such an amazing place to open a business. Maybe if you are in electronics or wind power or something.
It’s just that you don’t have to deal with poor management and make more money than the poor salaries on offer sometimes.

1 Like

Haha…ya thats a fun one right? I love going back to my country with taiwanese family and they call all the candians foreigners. Incredibly funny.


As I am now staring down my second year of teaching here, and specifically another month it seems of online teaching…this article gave me a lot of much-needed hope. Thanks for that.


I’d happily be called a foreigner here in Eastern Europe. I’m exotic.



If you listen closely in Crazy Rich Asians, they call the white people in America, when they’re in America, “外國人”. I’d never really thought about how, to Chinese speakers, white people = foreigners, no matter where on earth. It gets real deep into China = “middle country” because they think they are the center of the universe

Certainly explains the driving :shushing_face: