How to make money from China, Taiwanese-style

Firms were quick to seize their chances when China finally opened up

After defeat at the hands of  the Communists in China’s civil war in 1949, the Nationalist forces of Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taiwan.

They lived with the constant threat of invasion through the Chairman Mao years. But despite that history of enmity, Taiwanese firms were quick to seize the economic opportunity presented by cheap mainland labour when China finally opened up 30 years ago. The Taiwanese leveraged their linguistic ties and opened factories on the mainland. And now, in the wake of a landmark 2010 trade deal with Beijing, some smart Taiwanese firms are in a good position to sell to the mainland Chinese consumer.

Apixia is a firm that manufactures digital dental imaging hardware, which is cheaper and more convenient than the clunky old X-ray machines. They see big opportunities from selling into mainland China. “There are 60,000 licensed dentists in China today but they will have 450,000 in 10 years,” says chief executive Douglas Huang.

Taiwanese firms also have a strategy to deal with China’s rampant piracy: ignore it and focus instead on quality. Ozaki is a firm that manufactures innovative cases for iPads and other accessories for Apple products. “[Chinese piracy] is impossible to stop,” says Ozaki’s boss and founder, Freeman Liu. “The fakers are very, very small. When you catch them you can’t find the boss. So we focus on creation instead.”

It’s a message echoed by Papago!, a manufacturer of sleek video cameras for car dashboards which are designed to help drivers prove they were not responsible in accidents. They face a market of cheaper replicas in China. “We can’t compete on price so we try to offer something more to customers,” says spokesman Rex Hou.

Taiwan is also reaping the benefits of tourism from mainland China. “Most of the boutiques in Xinyi [the financial district] would not be here if not for mainland Chinese tourists,” remarks one local with a smile.

For many Taiwanese, business will always come before politics.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operations Manager

£43500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operatio...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - LONDON

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there