Stability is important to me and projecting that to clients is crucial IMO. Recently, we’ve had some examples of abrupt closures and managers of foreign-owned establishments fleeing the country for mysterious reasons.
How stable do you guys think foreign-owned businesses are compared to the locals? Do you think there’s a negative impression that these places are perhaps less stable?
I’m wondering if I should play up my ties to Taiwan a bit stronger.
In the Insurance sector Nan Shan is still going - its just been sold, ditto ING, PCALife has simply sold their Agency business and is still running and fully licensed, Zurich are back in the market having previously left because the regualtor made life so difficult (and are doing so again).
The truth from my perspective is that companies as much as individuals seem to suffer from the “you can’t do that here bureaucracy” whilst local firms get on and do things without permission. This is also the key to Taiwanese success in the mainland where the foreigners generally try to understand and follow the rules, whilst Chinese and Taiwanese just get on and do business and worry about the rules if they get caught.
In terms of stability, none of the businesses I named ceased trading, very few jobs were lost and no customers were adversely affected. Seems stable enough to me?
I think the OP is talking about some small foreign owned business owner-operators who skipped town, one well known one being Mark something or other who was running the satellite internet TV service. It may be that foreign clients might be more aware of issues than local businessmen. Anyway people skip Taiwan all the time…locals more than foreigners obviously.
[quote=“Tempo Gain”][quote=“Formosa Fitness”] Do you think there’s a negative impression that these places are perhaps less stable?
I’m wondering if I should play up my ties to Taiwan a bit stronger.[/quote]
I think there’s a correct impression that a foreigner is more likely to leave at any time. If you have such ties, it makes sense to put them out in the open.[/quote]
I don’t think its a correct impression at all. Taiwanese business owners are famous among locals for skipping town for China, Cambodia, the states or wherever when things aren’t going their way. Foreigners doing the same are not even a blip on the radar.
I don’t think its a correct impression at all. Taiwanese business owners are famous among locals for skipping town for China, Cambodia, the states or wherever when things aren’t going their way. Foreigners doing the same are not even a blip on the radar.[/quote]
That’s not really what I’m talking about. Certainly the amount of time the average foreigner remains here in Taiwan is pretty short. Many people may remember foreigners leaving after a time, not to say leaving while absconding with funds or anything like that, simply leaving in an orderly fashion, but still a disruption of say a fitness plan. It’s definitely a factor in my business.
Many Taiwanese businesses tend to open today and close overnight and owners disappearing within three months … many starting over a different business somewhere else … talk about stability … it’s like playing the lotto crossing different numbers all the time …
That I can see. I ploy to get a lower rate, perhaps – “But you’re a foreigner. What guarantee do I have that you won’t skip town with my money?”
The same, of course, goes for Taiwanese business owners, but in a negotiation, how could a local use that as leverage? “But you’re Taiwanese! What guarantee do I have that you won’t skip town with my money and live in one of your properties in Thailand or Santa Barbara?” That question would get no more than a “Huh? WTF?”
And of course, the “average” foreigner who starts his or her own business here is far more likely be here long-term.
The Taiwanese businessman skipping town was often evading unpaid tax. Last year the law was changed so that the government and courts can chase the tax for 15 years instead of five. Prior to that they’d just bugger off for five years and come back.
Would be interesting to see some stats of foreign .vs local owner run small businesses failures within the 1st yr… as a percentage.
I wonder if part of the problem is that ‘we don’t understand Taiwan culture’, plus many business ideas involve plans/products/services that support the foreign community or are tailored based on ideas we bring from the west. Be it our taste in food, English language services, support services, or other such ventures… these types of ventures are often doomed to failure as the potential market (expat community) is over estimated.
It depends. AIR EYE P’s satellite streaming services were recently closed and the clients dumped on me. Some clients were never informed their services would be terminated and were just cut off. Others only had a few hours or a days notice.
Although the (foreign) managing partner remains in business in the same office with another company name, Air Eye P owes substantial amounts of money to the clients some of whom are owed several thousand US$. They have been offered “maybe you might get a penny or two back” as the boss says AIR EYE P is not the same as the company he uses to stays in the same office and trade as another company. Try explaining that to people who just got screwed.
So yes these things sully the reputation of even other foreigners running companies in Taiwan. Last year when the rumours were going around that a satellite company run by a foreigner was going bust it did affect my business. It will again with Air Eye P now bust as people will really doubt the long term viability of people in the satellite services industry.
Damn, is the guy running the show a big burly tough guy? I would feel pretty unsafe staying in the same office trading under a different name if I owed people thousands of dollars and they knew where they could find me!