Since relations began to normalize between Taiwan and China in 2008, conducting business in Taiwan is increasingly being seen as a bridge to enter the vast Chinese market. In the industries such as communications, technology and the global information, Taiwan is viewed as a key player.
Several factors have made Taiwan an attractive place for foreigners to perform business:
- Application of Least corporate tax rates in Asia.
- Improved business regulatory environment.
- Implementation of government policies beneficial for businesses.
- Robust intellectual property protection laws.
Ease of doing business in Taiwan
The following factors state the ease of conducting business in Taiwan
- Out of the 183 economies in the world, Taiwan has been placed at number 33 by the World Bank for the “Ease of Doing Business” and number 24 for “Starting a Business.”
- Since Taiwan is witnessing the arrival of many ICT-related multinational organizations in major cities, the locals are getting used to the idea of interacting with foreigners.
Corporate culture in Taiwan
There are several aspects of Taiwanese corporate culture that may be completely different and new for foreigners. To be successful in business, it would be helpful to be aware of them.
- While businesspeople usually appreciate when you are punctual for meetings, it is also acceptable if you are a few minutes late or early. Some people may even miss a meeting.
- Get your business cards printed in English on one side, and “classical” Chinese on the other side. Do not use “simplified” Chinese characters, which are in use in the People’s Republic of China.
- To be taken seriously, it is better to bring a team of 2-4 members to a business meeting. One of the members should be a senior executive who holds the power to make decisions.
- Businessmen in Taiwan like to drive hard bargains. You will get a good deal if you are patient and do not try to rush the meeting.
- Business decisions in Taiwan are taken collectively. Hence, it takes time to arrive at a consensus in the beginning. Allow your Taiwanese counterparts to set the pace of the negotiations.
- Taiwanese businessmen will not say “no” directly. They will use indirect phrases such as “We’ll try.”
- In Taiwan, businessmen value friendship and will seek to engage you on a friendly footing before talking business.
- Guan-xi, meaning personal connection, is essential to conduct business successfully in Taiwan.
- If there are conflicts, Taiwanese businessmen expect them to be settled by arbitrators and not lawyers in court.
- Usually, the spoken agreement is the contract in Taiwan.
Entertainment and dining for business in Taiwan
Do not underestimate the power of taking your business counterparts to dinner and treating them to after-dinner entertainment. Such activities are not a waste of time. On the contrary, they are necessary for you to build trusting and friendly relationships with Taiwanese businessmen.
Other helpful tips
- You will be all the more appreciated if you attempt to speak some Chinese.
- At business meetings or gatherings, wait to be introduced by the host.
- The People’s Republic of China should be referred to as “Mainland China”
- The elderly are shown respect in Taiwan in certain ways such as holding out doors for them, or rising from your seat when they enter the room.
We hope that you will be able to set a successful venture in Taiwan, should you desire to do so.