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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid