Taiwan is one of the world’s great economic success stories, having been created from scratch after about 2 million Chinese nationalists fled from the mainland, escaping the clutches of the victorious communist forces.
Virtually devoid of its own natural resources, Taiwan is a highly successful value-add economy, which is heavily dependent on foreign trade for survival. Taiwan’s success can, in no small measure, be attributed to the natural business gifts and hard-working ethos of the mainly ethnic Chinese population.
Like other countries in the region, Taiwanese attitudes in the business arena can be traced back over the centuries to the influence of the Confucian philosophies of obedience, hard work and respect for education. These ideals run through Taiwanese thought processes like a river. However, do not arrive in Taiwan expecting a relaxed approach to business. The will to succeed is all-consuming and loyalties to the group (mainly the family) produce a cut-throat level of inter-group competition where only the strong survive.
Taiwan is a place of ambiguity where traditional Confucian values compete with rampant capitalism and opportunism, where relationships are all-important and yet where negotiations can often stick on the smallest of points.
Before embarking on any venture in Taiwan make sure that all the homework is done – and that includes getting a handle on how the business culture operates.