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Career progression in Taiwan... is there hope?

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Re: Career progression in Taiwan... is there hope?

Postby naijeru » 15 May 2012, 02:04

Mr He wrote:I arrived during the dot com bust, actually. Moreover, I have introduced people to my former workplace earlier, and they got jobs. It is indeed possible. Still now. I have seen people with a semi-decent grasp of Chinese doing it. That said, my Chinese was good when I arrived, I have a masters degree in Asian Studies.

I'm curious, how did the dot-com bust affect Taiwan given that there isn't much of a software development culture there? I'm in [insert contemporary tech buzzword] and I found that unlike the housing bust, the dot-com bust was pretty local to dot-com.
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Career progression in Taiwan... is there hope?

Postby headhonchoII » 15 May 2012, 06:12

naijeru wrote:
Mr He wrote:I arrived during the dot com bust, actually. Moreover, I have introduced people to my former workplace earlier, and they got jobs. It is indeed possible. Still now. I have seen people with a semi-decent grasp of Chinese doing it. That said, my Chinese was good when I arrived, I have a masters degree in Asian Studies.

I'm curious, how did the dot-com bust affect Taiwan given that there isn't much of a software development culture there? I'm in [insert contemporary tech buzzword] and I found that unlike the housing bust, the dot-com bust was pretty local to dot-com.


It didnt affect Taiwan directly. What really affected Taiwan was the huge migration of factories to China at that time. It literally went from booming and huge salaries and bonuses to stagnant salaries and bonuses around that time. We are talking about of the biggest and fastest movement of capital from one place to another in history!

Then CSB came in and things got even worse in general along with SARS which was one of the low points on the island.

But the main issue was migration of factories , domestic and foreign investment to the Chinese mainland. Even now most of the ambitious and skilled
Taiwanese are not in Taiwan but actually in China.

Taiwan is facing another type of restructuring now with many flat panel and memory makers effectively bust if you look at their balance sheets. Some other parts of the electronic industry will still thrive and other
Industries such as tourism, food and medical related are really thriving.
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Chasin' down a hoodoo there.
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Re: Career progression in Taiwan... is there hope?

Postby naijeru » 15 May 2012, 08:03

Thanks for the breakdown headhonchoII. I'm surprised about the flat panels, when I was in Taiwan (2005-2006) they were the flat panel kings.
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Re: Career progression in Taiwan... is there hope?

Postby headhonchoII » 15 May 2012, 13:11

You are welcome, it's interesting to look at the progress (and some cases lack of it) over the last 10 years.
The flat panel industry has had it's up and downs. A few years ago it was a massively successful business in Taiwan. I live by the Taichung Central Science Park where AUO have a huge facility as do Corning. These plants takes acres of space , interestingly Corning are still expanding too.

The problem with Zhonghua, AUO, Chimei etc is that at the same time as they expanded so did the Koreans, the Japanese and the Chinese. The technology was not that difficult to replicate and the size of the industry meant they all wanted a piece of the pie. There's been a blood bath in the industry for the last few years. These kind of plants cost billions and they are just being kept operating by soft loans backed by consortia of local banks which are in turn backed the government. If you read about the debt that these companies are holding it seems impossible that it will ever be paid back, especially if you understand that they don't have leading edge technology in Taiwan. I have been reading about OLED and while at the moment it is 9000 USD for one from LG or Samsung they seem to be the technological leaders, this is BAD news for the local flat panel suppliers.
There is talk of packing some of the older factories in Taiwan and reassembling them in China. I hope they can still keep operating here as even though they don't make any profit they help keep money and jobs in the local economy through spin-off.

The DRAM memory industry here is in even worse shape, the living dead, again killed off by Samsung. It seems that Samsung and the Koreans have pumped so much money into both newer technologies and newer bigger plants, that along with their vertical integration, it's posed a huge challenge to the Taiwanese, who either haven't been willing to put the money into long term R&D spend OR to have the very deep pockets or backing or perhaps willingness to go for broke. Samsung are playing a last man standing game with other companies at the moment.

The companies that have done well are ones that are making smaller touch screens for Apple and mobile devices (Wintek/Hon Hai subsidiaries) and that make components like lens (Largan) and high end aluminum casings etc.
I can remember the fourth of July runnin' through the backwood bare.
And I can still hear my old hound dog barkin' chasin' down a hoodoo there
Chasin' down a hoodoo there.
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Re: Career progression in Taiwan... is there hope?

Postby teamblubee » 16 May 2012, 20:24

OP

I came here gun ho to be the best English teacher ever and make the world a wonderful place. After 3 months I realized that that system is just a grind house. Luckily I saved the rest of my salary, next year I swapped to a student and studied Chinese for about 2 years, after that I dropped 300,000k into a restaurant start up. Failed miserably. I wanted to stay in Taiwan because I like it here but not wanting to teach English and majoring in English I decided to give software engineering a shot.

Got accepted to a good University here, after 3 days I dropped out. Studying in Taiwanese universities suck! I spent a few years learning software engineering, started up a company back home. Setup a rep office... search for the 2011 updated guide. Got my 3 year ARC and now I'm sitting pretty. Software development is hard but the income is great, no bosses, do whatever whenever and no need to worry about visa runs.

You already speak Chinese which is good, I wouldn't recommend you come here for a job or career. It's just not what westerners are used to. The working environment sucks and you get no respect but everyone just kinda goes along to get along. That's what my local friends tell me. You could teach English here for 1 year just to have some stability for a while, get to know the place, learn the lingo, pick up some Taiwanese and just see.

Its easy to have rose colored goggles when your looking from the outside but Taiwan can be strange sometimes. If you get hooked into the system its like being on a roller coaster the way you'll get whipped around sometimes, while other times, its like watching paint dry.
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Re: Career progression in Taiwan... is there hope?

Postby headhonchoII » 16 May 2012, 20:32

I agree, it can go from periods of craziness to periods of utter boredom. Maybe that's what happens when you don't have to do visa runs anymore or you are not down to your last dollar at the end of the month or you don't have live with tripped out roommates eh?
I can remember the fourth of July runnin' through the backwood bare.
And I can still hear my old hound dog barkin' chasin' down a hoodoo there
Chasin' down a hoodoo there.
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Re: Career progression in Taiwan... is there hope?

Postby teamblubee » 16 May 2012, 22:00

headhonchoII wrote:I agree, it can go from periods of craziness to periods of utter boredom. Maybe that's what happens when you don't have to do visa runs anymore or you are not down to your last dollar at the end of the month or you don't have live with tripped out roommates eh?


Can't agree more, I'm more of a local now than a foreigner but I do still stand out a lot, I wouldn't change it for the world.
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Re: Career progression in Taiwan... is there hope?

Postby superguavaguy » 17 May 2012, 02:52

teamblubee wrote:OP

I came here gun ho to be the best English teacher ever and make the world a wonderful place. After 3 months I realized that that system is just a grind house. Luckily I saved the rest of my salary, next year I swapped to a student and studied Chinese for about 2 years, after that I dropped 300,000k into a restaurant start up. Failed miserably. I wanted to stay in Taiwan because I like it here but not wanting to teach English and majoring in English I decided to give software engineering a shot.

Got accepted to a good University here, after 3 days I dropped out. Studying in Taiwanese universities suck! I spent a few years learning software engineering, started up a company back home. Setup a rep office... search for the 2011 updated guide. Got my 3 year ARC and now I'm sitting pretty. Software development is hard but the income is great, no bosses, do whatever whenever and no need to worry about visa runs.

You already speak Chinese which is good, I wouldn't recommend you come here for a job or career. It's just not what westerners are used to. The working environment sucks and you get no respect but everyone just kinda goes along to get along. That's what my local friends tell me. You could teach English here for 1 year just to have some stability for a while, get to know the place, learn the lingo, pick up some Taiwanese and just see.

Its easy to have rose colored goggles when your looking from the outside but Taiwan can be strange sometimes. If you get hooked into the system its like being on a roller coaster the way you'll get whipped around sometimes, while other times, its like watching paint dry.


I've been through/am going through a similar experience. I taught for several years, spent 1.5 years studying Chinese, speak, read and write Chinese now, didn't try starting my own business, but did apply to a Taiwanese university, was accepted but didn't go. Now I'm back in the States, have been accepted to a university here, and am studying programming. Unlike you, I'm fed up with Asia and will not be going back. Since so few people successfully get out of teaching and start their own business in Asia, maybe you should tell us more about it, including a link to your company's website? At the risk of sounding cynical, considering how difficult it is to do what you've done, some proof of your claims would be nice.
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Re: Career progression in Taiwan... is there hope?

Postby teamblubee » 17 May 2012, 03:13

superguavaguy wrote:
teamblubee wrote:OP

I came here gun ho to be the best English teacher ever and make the world a wonderful place. After 3 months I realized that that system is just a grind house. Luckily I saved the rest of my salary, next year I swapped to a student and studied Chinese for about 2 years, after that I dropped 300,000k into a restaurant start up. Failed miserably. I wanted to stay in Taiwan because I like it here but not wanting to teach English and majoring in English I decided to give software engineering a shot.

Got accepted to a good University here, after 3 days I dropped out. Studying in Taiwanese universities suck! I spent a few years learning software engineering, started up a company back home. Setup a rep office... search for the 2011 updated guide. Got my 3 year ARC and now I'm sitting pretty. Software development is hard but the income is great, no bosses, do whatever whenever and no need to worry about visa runs.

You already speak Chinese which is good, I wouldn't recommend you come here for a job or career. It's just not what westerners are used to. The working environment sucks and you get no respect but everyone just kinda goes along to get along. That's what my local friends tell me. You could teach English here for 1 year just to have some stability for a while, get to know the place, learn the lingo, pick up some Taiwanese and just see.

Its easy to have rose colored goggles when your looking from the outside but Taiwan can be strange sometimes. If you get hooked into the system its like being on a roller coaster the way you'll get whipped around sometimes, while other times, its like watching paint dry.


I've been through/am going through a similar experience. I taught for several years, spent 1.5 years studying Chinese, speak, read and write Chinese now, didn't try starting my own business, but did apply to a Taiwanese university, was accepted but didn't go. Now I'm back in the States, have been accepted to a university here, and am studying programming. Unlike you, I'm fed up with Asia and will not be going back. Since so few people successfully get out of teaching and start their own business in Asia, maybe you should tell us more about it, including a link to your company's website? At the risk of sounding cynical, considering how difficult it is to do what you've done, some proof of your claims would be nice.


The name of my company is my forum username, I wont post any direct links but if you have an android phone you can search that name on the market to see a few test apps I put up to be legit and get my paperwork done over here. They aren't great apps but they got the job done. I don't teach anything anymore and I couldn't be happier with the situation I'm in right now. Starting a company isn't a big deal, its some paperwork to incorporate in your state. See the 2011 rep office guide. The first business failure made me realize that business in Asia isn't like business in the USA, even though it was a big flop, with hindsight I'm glad I failed. I don't want to do business with Asians, not even being a boss!

I would guess you just let Asia get under your skin, it can do that if you let it, or you just treat that part of Asia like one of those kids who ride the short yellow bus. It's not that serious. There are good people in Asia you can really get along with but the rest of them gets short yellow bus treatment. I'm not mean but I do have fun with the same drab old questions I get asked at least 5x's I am in public.

I didn't study engineering in a school, I used some more savings got some books got on android and learned. It was and still is a challenge but if only for the freedom it brings I don't see myself stopping. Again you can look for my username on the google market / play store and you'll see a few things.
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Re: Career progression in Taiwan... is there hope?

Postby superguavaguy » 18 May 2012, 03:39

Did a search, but didn't see anything with your forum name on it. So let me get this striahgt, you're working as a software developer, are self-taught, don't have any apps for sale (just "test apps"), "don't do business with Asians," but your business is in Taiwan, you're presumably living in Taiwan on tourist visas (meaning you have to leave every 2 months)...is this right? Sorry, but this is start to look quite suspicious.

Asia didn't get under my skin, I just realized I didn't have to do all that justifying people who live in Asia do all the time (i.e. well, this sucks and that sucks, but it's better than this or that back home). Once you get out of that mindset it's quite surprising to see how hard people work to convince themselves that their life in Asia is so great.
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