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 Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers 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.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

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