NY Times: Taiwan the most important "place" in the world, per capita

I find Gain obnoxious most of the time and I’ve sparred with him before. But he’s good with facts.

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Just wanted to give you guys an update. While you’ve been arguing about the finer details of EU work regulations, 2.5 Taiwanese engineers in the US thought about how nice it would be to have hot pot in Taipei. And then they went back to sleep.


Maybe you can lure him away from Taiwan to help you do your surveys of Taiwanese engineers in Maryland.

It would be a loss for Taiwan if he left of course, but he’s not an engineer so…

yes, to stay there for work, you need a job. weird. :smiley: so you’re free to go there, free to find a job, and free to stay there for a job for 3 months, after which, you have the oh-so-onerous requirements of showing your id and that you do, in fact, have a job.

“Most EU citizens don’t need a permit to work in Switzerland.”

“Citizens from EU-27*/EFTA** states enjoy full freedom of movement. This means that citizens of those countries are free to travel to Switzerland, and to live and work here.”

“Citizens from EU-27/EFTA states do not require authorisation for short-term employment up to three months or 90 days per calendar year.”

I’ve been told by a couple of people who have been here for a while that many of the Taiwanese or ABTs who come back from working in tech abroad don’t pursue their startup ideas very aggressively because they don’t have a strong financial incentive to.

If you’ve been making bank overseas and putting some of that away, even for just a few years, you can live a comfortable life in Taiwan for a while without blowing a large portion of your savings. And if your family here has some money/property, life is cruise control.

While some people are hungry no matter how comfortable they are financially, I’d say most people respond strongly to some degree of financial pressure.

This isn’t Covid related, but someone on a Taiwanese American professionals FB page posted about moving back to Taiwan for a couple of years. IIRC he tried to start some software company, didn’t work, then opened up some food business that was successful.

I’ll see if I can dig up the post. Some of the stuff he wrote about Taiwan really pissed people off.

Other foreigners may not be able to work for a job for 3 months in Switzerland, but even with a Taiwanese passport you are allowed to stay in Switzerland for 3 months without a visa. At least before 2020.

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There might be some. But as a person who tried this, I don’t think that’s going to happen.

IMO, TSMC is a microcosm of what you’re trying to looking to do. Tsmc salaries are definitely lower than, but maybe not crazy out of line with other companies (definitely ok enough to raise a family and have a decent life). I was there for a couple years and fled because of the crappy work conditions, lack of progression as a foreigner etc. You will get a number of guys in their mid 50s who will come over for executive positions and stay till retirement though, but I don’t think that’s the number you’re looking for. Maybe 1-2 per major company. I think you’d also need to change Taiwanese work culture— I think if that happened I’d go back to Taiwan for sure. But a salary bump by itself just won’t do it.


Thanks for sharing your experience. If I make it out to Maryland, I’d like to interview you as a control (a foreigner as opposed to Taiwanese).

Morris Chang wasn’t Taiwanese returning home, was he? Best I can tell, he was born in China and spent his life from college years through mid 50s in the US.

He is now.

You’re correct.

After he left General Instrument Corporation, Sun Yun-suan recruited him to become chairman and president of the Industrial Technology Research Institute in Taiwan.[9] As head of a government-sponsored non-profit, he was in charge of promoting industrial and technological development in Taiwan. Chang founded TSMC in 1987, the beginning of the period where firms increasingly saw value in outsourcing their manufacturing capabilities to Asia. Soon, TSMC became one of the world’s most profitable chip makers. Chang left ITRI in 1994 and became chairman of Vanguard International Semiconductor Corporation from 1994 to 2003 while continuing to serve as chairman of TSMC.

It’s an amazing success story. The challenge is that the world has changed and governments and private and public-private entities (some with more money than some countries) are pouring huge amounts of money into technology so growing new TSMCs on demand is not realistic.

Right… but that doesn’t really fit the narrative of returning Taiwanese and the success they brought in the 80s and 90s. I’m not sure he had anything at all to do with Taiwan, or had even been there, before being recruited.

It’s harder to get someone with no roots in Taiwan to move.

Here’s a peer-reviewed article on the population that moved back:

The brain drain that Taiwan experienced from the 1950s to the 1970s has worked in reverse since the 1980s. The increase in the number of returning Taiwanese has been accompanied by a growing demand for non-indigenous global talent to work in various professional positions.

Here’s another article, from grey literature:

Taiwan, like many developing countries, has seen the increasingly competitive global market for high-skilled workers channel many of its best-educated people into jobs overseas. But unlike many countries that have suffered from “brain drain,” Taiwan has seen many skilled emigrants return home to boost the country’s economic development.

This is a good book on how brain drain has helped Taiwan, because those returning bring Silicon Valley expertise and connections home.

Another thing is that health care and education in the Bay Area are both mediocre, while in the DC area they’re best in the country.

TSMC employees getting bonuses = 41 months of salary at year’s end.

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The Bay Area has two of the world’s top universities. :thinking:


Being from the Bay Area puts you at a disadvantage in getting into Stanford. They want a student body from across America, and they don’t want any more Asian people from the Bay.

The University of Virginia is ranked higher than Cal on most years.

But I was speaking primarily of secondary education, for the kids. Bay Area’s high schools are crap. All there is is Gunn, Pally, and Lowell surrounded by garbage.

The top ranked high school in the country, Thomas Jefferson, is in Northern Virginia. And Fairfax County and Montgomery County (Maryland) school districts are ranked #1 and #7 in the country, last time I checked.

Northern Virginia also has a superior health care system (INova).