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Western White-Collar Workers Pouring into Hong Kong

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Western White-Collar Workers Pouring into Hong Kong

Postby Omniloquacious » 11 Jul 2012, 10:26

Honkers has apparently been luring record numbers of foreign white-collar workers, particularly Brits and Americans. According to its Immigration Department, the number of work visas issued to Americans almost doubled last year, up by 96%, while those issued to Brits increased by 45%. Both were at record highs.

Commenting on this trend, one head hunter said that: "In certain areas there are acute skills shortages, and in these cases some firms are considering international talent where the domestic talent pool is unable to keep up with demand.”

However, in the words of a 20-year British resident: "While it still has a lot going for it the downside has increased more than the upside. Hong Kong has increasingly bad air pollution, not enough international schools while property prices are exorbitant for most families.”

He then added that: “"I've been here too long to think about moving but younger expats have the options of Singapore, Shanghai and Beijing to choose from these days." Funny he didn’t include Taipei or Taiwan in that list.

So, does Hong Kong have more to offer Western job-seekers than Taiwan these days? Would any of you be interested in moving there if you found a good job opening?

Should Taiwan be doing more and better to compete with Hong Kong in attracting international talent? Could it have realistic hopes of competing? What could it offer to make itself more attractive than Hong Kong?
If I prioritized the acquisition of wealth above other purposes in life, I might still have come to Taiwan to study Chinese, but I doubt I would have remained here.
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Re: Western White-Collar Workers Pouring into Hong Kong

Postby *monkey* » 11 Jul 2012, 10:47

I think the Taiwan government is probably asking the very same questions. Maybe one day the officials in charge of steering economic development will realize that it's going to need a lot more than Chinglish slogans, cheap noodles and slightly relaxed APRC requirements to attract foreign professionals to come here.

Most of the international companies that had a regional HQ in Taiwan have relocated elsewhere (particularly to Shanghai). Taiwanese companies have been actively shedding Western professionals wherever they can (EVA and CAL are great examples, having booted out almost all their foreign pilots over the last decade).

Really, does Taiwan have anything to offer anymore? Living standards are lower than most of its Asian counterparts, while job opportunities grow ever more scarce.
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Western White-Collar Workers Pouring into Hong Kong

Postby headhonchoII » 11 Jul 2012, 10:52

It's like comparing apples and oranges. The folks that move to HK overwhelmingly work in the financial industry. People are moving there on the back of the boom in financing related to China in particular but also for the whole region of Asia.
If you worked in electronics you would be better off in Shenzhen or Chengdu or Taiwan. If you were a diplomat you would probably be in Beijing. Same for technology and scientific industry. If you are retail you could be based anywhere. Car manufacturing in the North of China.

There are all diverse and spread out but it's easy to see the concentration of financial types in Singapore and HK.

That said it's a pity there are less rather than more foreign professionals here these days. Every country can benefit from seeing different ways of doing things, sometimes better ways!

It must be noted that huge numbers of Taiwanese professionals have also left for better opportunities and pay. In the meantime we have investment concentrated in property here now, people never learn.
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Re: Western White-Collar Workers Pouring into Hong Kong

Postby Mucha Man » 11 Jul 2012, 10:57

Yes, it is hard to see what advantages taiwan has that can be handily promoted. Most of the advantages it once had seem to have disappeared. Chinese cities are now about as safe as Taipei on average, the are often cleaner, they have better public transport, often are quieter (as they ban scooters), have better shopping, and for the professional, much better high end neighborhoods. Food safety is an issue in China but as the scandals over plasticizers and other substances has shown, Taiwan is no where near as safe as we used to imagine.

There is also the lack of an international mindset in local businesses that makes integrating westerns very difficult.

Taiwan is free and appealing in this way, but for the average expat (not long term settler) this is not much of an issue.
“Everywhere else in the world is also really old” said Prof. Liu, a renowned historian at Beijing University. “We always learn that China has 5000 years of cultural heritage, and that therefore we are very special. It appears that other places also have some of this heritage stuff. And are also old. Like, really old.”

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Re: Western White-Collar Workers Pouring into Hong Kong

Postby Mucha Man » 11 Jul 2012, 16:29

Btw, Omni, can I make the reasonable guess that work is slowing down a bit given the amount of time you currently spend on Fcom? :wink:
“Everywhere else in the world is also really old” said Prof. Liu, a renowned historian at Beijing University. “We always learn that China has 5000 years of cultural heritage, and that therefore we are very special. It appears that other places also have some of this heritage stuff. And are also old. Like, really old.”

http://hikingintaiwan.blogspot.com/
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Re: Western White-Collar Workers Pouring into Hong Kong

Postby Omniloquacious » 11 Jul 2012, 16:52

Muzha Man wrote:Btw, Omni, can I make the reasonable guess that work is slowing down a bit given the amount of time you currently spend on Fcom? :wink:


Well, I have successfully cut a good chunk out of the workload. But I've also had a higher-than-usual amount of tedious stuff that has necessitated frequent breaks on this site to clear the fog from my brain. And sometimes, I'm pained to admit, I have lingered here posting when I really should have been getting on with work.
If I prioritized the acquisition of wealth above other purposes in life, I might still have come to Taiwan to study Chinese, but I doubt I would have remained here.
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Re: Western White-Collar Workers Pouring into Hong Kong

Postby Belgian Pie » 11 Jul 2012, 17:08

Muzha Man wrote:Yes, it is hard to see what advantages taiwan has that can be handily promoted. Most of the advantages it once had seem to have disappeared. Chinese cities are now about as safe as Taipei on average, the are often cleaner, they have better public transport, often are quieter (as they ban scooters), have better shopping, and for the professional, much better high end neighborhoods. Food safety is an issue in China but as the scandals over plasticizers and other substances has shown, Taiwan is no where near as safe as we used to imagine.

There is also the lack of an international mindset in local businesses that makes integrating westerns very difficult.

Taiwan is free and appealing in this way, but for the average expat (not long term settler) this is not much of an issue.


As long as you stick to the familiar and the endangered and other wildlife it 's probably OK ... :roflmao:
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Re: Western White-Collar Workers Pouring into Hong Kong

Postby adguy » 11 Jul 2012, 17:19

I believe there are two very clear and obvious explanations as to why Taipei is not on the list:

1. English. It is the standard language in Singapore, nearly equal to Cantonese in Hong Kong, and though it is not a Shanghai standard, it is spoken by nearly everyone and regularly in businesses. Here if you speak English exclusively, prepare to look and feel like an a-hole. Without solid Chinese your job growth has a ridiculously low ceiling. So you have to either be a teacher, or get one of the handfuls of crap jobs for nearly the same money as teaching with no real future while you study study study the language. Which leads me to...

2. Wages. They are an embarrassment here. You are expected to go above and beyond the realm of your position, work long hours, and what you make for a white collar job is still laughable by western standards. In many cases, the move to the far east is meant to provide an upgrade to one's standard of living, especially with American wages stagnant. Or it is at least supposed to be a salary match with more job security, since American jobs are disappearing. In Taipei, however, even as a white collar professional, you'll sweating it by the end of the month begging for payday... especially if, god forbid, you had a few nice meals or even (gasp) drinks a couple of times other than Taiwan beer on your sofa. Buying a car? International travel? Large living space? Things of the past.

Of course you can carve out a nice life here if you have minimal needs. But the average white collar professional has higher expectations than the roof over a businessperson's head in Taipei.

This post was recommended by archylgp (16 Jul 2012, 12:58)
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Re: Western White-Collar Workers Pouring into Hong Kong

Postby milkalex » 12 Jul 2012, 11:15

In Taipei, however, even as a white collar professional, you'll sweating it by the end of the month begging for payday... especially if, god forbid, you had a few nice meals or even (gasp) drinks a couple of times other than Taiwan beer on your sofa. Buying a car? International travel? Large living space? Things of the past.


Agree, a couple days before payday it gets tricky despite both of us having jobs (55k plus 28k, before tax). We rarely eat in good places and buy stuff but there never seems to be money left for savings. Guess next year it's time to ask for more money, move on to a new company or go overseas.... Taiwan is cheaper but it ain't cheap.
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Re: Western White-Collar Workers Pouring into Hong Kong

Postby Chris » 12 Jul 2012, 11:20

*monkey* wrote:Most of the international companies that had a regional HQ in Taiwan have relocated elsewhere (particularly to Shanghai). Taiwanese companies have been actively shedding Western professionals wherever they can (EVA and CAL are great examples, having booted out almost all their foreign pilots over the last decade).

Really, does Taiwan have anything to offer anymore? Living standards are lower than most of its Asian counterparts, while job opportunities grow ever more scarce.

So much for Taiwan's "Asia-Pacific Regional Operations Center" dream...
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