I am thinking about setting up a software development company here in Taiwan to get “cases”. Does anyone know anything about what it is like being SOHO here? Is it possible to make a living with it?

making a living at it’s possible, doing it legally visa-wise is a bit more of a challenge…

Setup your company and bank account (I suggest HSBC) in Hong Kong. Have your Taiwan customers make all payments in US dollars to HK account. Have 2 telephone lines. One personal and the other business. Never, ever give personal number to customers. Have a tourist visa and leave Taiwan often…a regular overnite break does wonders for your attitude.

If you’ve been married to a local for at least a year, you’re eligible for an open work permit that will allow you to accept payments legally.

Anyone know if you don’t need an Open Work Permit now because of the new law that passed recently? (If you are married to a local)

Are there any good ways to get cases? Or any good sites?

Get a good website in Chinese (taiwan) and make sure the search engine like or or can search for it.

Try places like China. You can make a Hotel Reservation system for new hotels there.

What are “cases”?

“Cases” are"projects". It’s just that people say “cases” here all the time.

Setting Up a Company as a Foreigner

Nowadays foreigners can own their own local companies 100%. However, this is done politically as an “investment” and is approved by the investment commission. Any CPA/law firm can set you up for a fee, anywhere between USD 1000 and 2000. It takes upwards of two months to process. Anyone who is interested in the CPA I’m using to do this for myself, please PM me.

Getting a Work Permit/ARC from Your Own Company

OK, so you’ve invested in a company here. You don’t have to invest 100%. You could invest a fraction, all the way up to 100% along with other foreign/local investors. The company doesn’t need to exist alreay either. It could be essentially a company you yourself start from scratch.

Local limited companies must show a certain amount of capital in the bank upon startup. The minimum to start a company is NTD 500,000. Many CPA firms might be able to help you borrow that money for the period necessary to show the government.

But the real problem is that in order for the company to qualify to issue work permits to foreigners, the general rule is that the company must have NTD 5,000,000 capital invested, a big difference. So, yes, you could own your own company in Taiwan as the fu4 ze2 ren2 and STILL not be able to issue yourself a work permit.

Interesting Loopholes to Make it Work

  1. You can get an open work permit based on marriage or seven years of residency… basically anthing that gets you an Alien Permanent Resident Certificate (ARPC) will also qualify you for an open work permit. When you have this little piece of paper, the capital requirements for the company are dropped. You can work for any company, including the kind of company you could set up as mentioned above. How you can apply for this is all in the Legals Forums.

  2. Article 51, Section 3 allows something short of an open work permit, but is equally effective. I’ve successfully applied for this one. Anyone who work and lives continuosly for five years in Taiwan (“continuosly” interpreted liberally in many cases) can apply for a kind of open work permit that allows you to work for any employer (also dropping the capital requirement for the company), but application must still be made per employer. So, essentialy, if you own your own business, your company could apply for a work permit for you.

  3. The last way, which isn’t really a loophole, and the way a lot of foreigners choose, is to go to school in the early morning or late evening at a school like the Shitda MTC. After four months of study you can apply for a non-work study ARC. The ARC gives them residency and a multiple re-entry visa. School only takes up two hours a day. There’s the nice side-effect of actually improving your Chinese. Since you are the owner it might be difficult for the government to prove that you are working for the company illegally … as since you are the investor, all profits are yours anyway. But don’t quote me on that one.

What’s “being SOHO” ? All I can think of (apart from the area of London) is “Small Office / Home Office” or “SOuth HOllywood”.

Just curious.

Small office/home office, I think.

As mentioned in other threads, if you are married to a local and have a JFRV visa based on this, you now don’t need a workl permit to do any work a Taiwanese could do.