News / Asia

Taiwan Becoming Popular Destination for Hong Kong Emigrants

Ms. Koo emigrated in March to Taiwan where she opened a café/bookstore.
Ms. Koo emigrated in March to Taiwan where she opened a café/bookstore.
Taiwan has become an increasingly popular immigration destination for a growing wave of Hong Kong citizens leaving the crowded and pricey autonomous Chinese city.

Earlier this month, Hong Kong's government revealed that 3,900 people emigrated in the first half of this year, an 8 percent increase on the same period in 2012. It said the most common destinations for the emigrants are Australia, Canada and the United States.

But Taiwan is catching up. A new report released by the self-ruled island's government shows a significant jump in residency applications from Hong Kongers and citizens of the smaller autonomous Chinese city of Macau.

Rising interest

Taiwan's National Immigration Agency said it received 3,195 residency applications from Hong Kong and Macau in 2012, a 30 percent increase from the year before. It said the number of successful applicants for permanent residency last year rose by a similar margin to 711.

The Taiwan immigration report said the pace of residency applications from Hong Kong and Macau also has accelerated in recent months. It said 632 applications were received in September, nearly six times more than in May.

Taiwan media said September's surge partly was seasonal, because it coincided with overseas students applying to attend the start of the new semester at local universities. But they said the data also reflect a broader trend.

  • A Taiwan street. (Iris Tong/VOA)
  • Ms. Koo’s bookstore and café in Tainan City, Taiwan. (Iris Tong/VOA)
  • Ms. Koo in her bookstore and café in Tainan City, Taiwan. (Iris Tong/VOA)    
  • Ms. Koo’s bookstore and café is decorated with Hong Kong news reports published before its handover to China in 1997, Tainan City, Taiwan. (Iris Tong/VOA)
  • Ms. Koo’s bookstore and café displays nostalgic posters of Hong Kong’s pre-handover days, Tainan City, Taiwan. (Iris Tong/VOA)
  • A collectible toy gun from Hong Kong is displayed in Ms. Koo's bookstore and cafe in Tainan City, Taiwan. (Iris Tong/VOA)
  • Tim Wong at his FabCafe office in Taipei, Taiwan. (Iris Tong/VOA)
  • Design samples on display in Tim Wong’s office in Taipei, Taiwan. (Iris Tong/VOA)
  • Tim Wong’s café also functions as a design studio in Taipei, Taiwan. (Iris Tong/VOA)
  • A sign showing directions to a workshop at Tim Wong café in Taipei, Taiwan. (Iris Tong/VOA)

Hong Kong's drawbacks

Emigration from Hong Kong has been rising since 2011, with citizens citing a variety of reasons for leaving.

They include the high cost of living, pollution and an influx of mainland China visitors and residents who compete with locals for the city's resources.

Other emigrants blame the Hong Kong government, saying it has had too many scandals and has been too slow to introduce full democracy to the city.

Hong Kongers who have made the move to Taiwan say the island has several key advantages over their hometown.

Taiwan's appeal

Speaking in Taipei, U.S.-educated businessman Tim Wong said Taiwan's democratic political system is more appealing.

"Taiwan is the only place where the Chinese community enjoys its own system of democracy," said Wong. "That democracy is not dominated by any ideology. I came to Taiwan to live my life in a place of mutual benefit and mutual contribution."

Wong relocated to Taipei last year to start a 3-D printing and design company with a partner from Japan. He said Taiwan is supportive of small business.

Another Hong Konger, Ms. Koo, emigrated to Taiwan in March and opened a café and bookstore in the southern city of Tainan. She says that she chose Taiwan because life is more affordable than in Hong Kong, while the language and culture are similar in both places.

In a report published Monday, Taiwan newspaper United Daily News quoted a local immigration agent as saying some Hong Kongers living on the island also have been applying to become permanent residents.

The agent said those people include Hong Kongers who have worked in Taiwan for at least a year and prefer the lifestyle, as well as those who marry Taiwan citizens.

Facebook campaign

Internet users also created a Facebook page last month to promote Taiwan as a friendly place for Hong Kong citizens seeking a better life.

The self-titled "Evacuation to Taiwan" page features articles about Taiwan's politics, property market and cuisine. It also highlights commentaries that are critical of the Hong Kong government.

The page has attracted more than 4,600 likes since it was set up on October 14.

This report was produced in collaboration with VOA's Cantonese Service. Lipin reported from Washington and Tong contributed from Taipei.

This report was amended on Dec 3, 2013 to clarify that the 711 successful applicants in 2012 had received permanent residency in Taiwan.

Michael Lipin

Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

You May Like

Video Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had warned storm could be one of worst in city history More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
December 05, 2013 7:59 PM
Hong Kong people are trying to keep distance from Chinese hammers and sickels. Who blames them ?


by: Quincy from: Berlin
December 03, 2013 12:11 PM
"Taiwan's National Immigration Agency said it received 3,195 residency applications from Hong Kong and Macau in 2012 ... It said the number of successful applicants last year rose by a similar margin to 711." This is not correct. The rejection rate is nowhere near this high, certainly not 80%. You got these numbers from columns F & G. Even if you cannot read a word of Chinese, obviously these are not applications vs. approvals, because the latter is several times as large as the former in many cases.

If you look at the column headers, you will see that Columns C, F, and I are the number of residency permissions for mainland Chinese, HK & Macau people, and the diaspora. "Residency" can mean study abroad, working, joining relatives, or whatever. Columns D, G, and H are the respective number of settlement permissions for each of those three groups. "Settlement" means establishing household registration, meaning you become a full citizen with voting rights, health insurance, green passport, and everything.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid